Internal Democracy within Transnationally Operating CSOs: Are We as Democratic as We Think?

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CSOs tend to pride themselves on having strong internal democratic practices – and many, though not all, indeed have such practices. In fact, for that particular section of civil society such as transnationally operating non-governmental organisations (NGOs) – their organisational cultures are often highly consultative and deliberative. But this raises some key questions: does this get in the way of decisiveness and agility, in a complex, uncertain and volatile world where scanning the external environment and adaptability are constant needs? Do such CSOs have the leadership and management capacities in place to manage such complex and demanding organisational structures and cultures? Based on the author’s observations, that is quite frequently not the case, resulting in suboptimal outcomes. While the consultative practices of CSOs suggest a high level of internal democracy, their organisational culture often undermines the formal processes of deliberation. To find out more, you can read the full article here.


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