NGOs and the globalization of managerialism: A research framework

Susan M. Roberts, John Paul Jones, Oliver Fröling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


One of the more overlooked aspects of globalization is the circulation of modern managerial practices and knowledges through transnational networks of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). In this paper, we offer an analytical framework for understanding the complex circulation of managerialism through dispersed networks of NGOs, connecting the spatially extensive international NGO (INGO) sector to the projects undertaken by grassroots NGOs. This framework first involves a conceptualization of all flows that might potentially be activated through a hypothetical network comprising all potential nodes. We then offer a discussion of a range of managerialist practices and knowledges. A table summarizing and operationalizing the analytical framework interlinks aspects of managerialism with the cultures, structures, and projects of NGOs. Examples chosen from our ongoing work in the NGO sector in Oaxaca, Mexico, serve as illustrations of how the analytical framework might generate insight into the contradictory workings of managerialism in NGO networks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1845-1864
Number of pages20
JournalWorld Development
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research reported here is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (SBE-GRS # 0243295). The authors would like to thank Dick Gilbreath Laurel Smith, David Walker, and Margath Walker for their valuable assistance with this paper at various stages. We also gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of the Directors and staff of World Wildlife Fund—Mexico’s Bosques Mexicanos office in Oaxaca, the Fundación Comunitaria Oaxaca. The comments of the anonymous reviewers were very helpful in improving the paper. We alone are responsible for the contents of this paper.


  • Globalization
  • Managerialism
  • NGOs
  • Networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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