Den reflekterende NGO: en systemteoretisk begrebsliggørelse af ngo'ers omverdensforhold

Astrid Blom, Catrine Eisenreich & Monika Sofie Kramer

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


This project takes its starting point in the increasing professionalism characterizing Danish NGOs in the transition to the postmodern society. Due to governmental cuts in the state funding, as well as other demands such as independent financing, the competition among NGOs has increased and resulted in an enhanced focus on efficiency, marketing and fundraising activities. The NGOs raison d’être has changed from a purely humanitarian focus, to requiring additional arguments for maintaining the public relevance and interest. These factors have lead to an increased complexity in terms of the interrelations between organizations and society, which compels NGO’s to act with more sensitivity towards society. The aim of this project is to understand how NGOs are experiencing the increased complexity of their interrelation with society, and to comprehend how they try to handle this complexity. By using a system theoretical approach we will try to conceptualize the complexity and furthermore discuss how the complexity can be observed through this theoretical approach. The intention of this project is to achieve a greater epistemological insight on how the complex interrelation between NGOs and society can be comprehended from a Luhmann approach. Through interviews with the General Secretary of ISOBRO (the NGO trade organization) and Head of Communications from The Danish Red Cross we observe from a system theoretical approach how our informants observe the complexity and how they see that it can be handled. Through the projects two analysis we conceptualize that NGOs have assumed a greater advocacy role towards civil society, where they contribute to the democratic processes. We also come to see that they have gained a large stakeholder group, which can cause conflict and fragmentation. We have observed that organizations can achieve greater relevance by proactively participating in community decision-making, debating and driving advocacy. Furthermore, we have come to see that NGOs must obtain a strong profile and identity in order to capture a strong position in society. NGOs can attempt to manage complexity by maintaining their advocacy. They must dare to have opinions and debate about issues concerning their agenda. Finally, we observe that NGOs can participate in partnerships and collaborations across sectors and functions to strengthen their skills, influence decision-making and gain legitimacy.

UddannelserVirksomhedsstudier, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Bachelor el. kandidat
Udgivelsesdato10 jan. 2011
VejledereInger Jensen


  • kompleksitet
  • professionalisering
  • omverdensforhold
  • systemteori
  • ngo
  • fortalervirksomhed
  • legitimitet
  • Luhmann