Responding to funding scarcity: governance challenges in Swedish and South African development partnerships

Jayne Jönsson, Tony Huzzard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: In the context of the general funding scarcity in the nonprofit sector, this paper aims to inquire into the governance challenges facing nonprofit aid organizations in a donor–recipient partner relationship. In particular, the authors focus on the challenges of commercial diversification as the espoused alternative to aid-funding. Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative design was deployed to collect and analyze data collected from interviews conducted in three case organizations in an aid development partnership. Findings: The various responses at the organizational level are presented as well as analyses of the inter-organizational aspects. All organizations have responded strategically to reductions in funding from state/government and other aid sources by attempting to diversify commercially yet at the same time maintain dependency on aid-funding. This entailed tensions between the logics of the market and mission. These tensions are manifest not only within the organizations but also in the relations between them. Originality/value: Analyses of the twin-track strategies have highlighted that maintaining aid dependency and resource diversification have different and conflicting relational prerequisites and require diverse and conflicting internal capabilities. The paper develops a conceptual framework for capturing the governance challenges of this strategic dilemma and concludes that the choices of pursuing continued aid-funding and seeking new commercial opportunities are invariably mutually exclusive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-110
JournalJournal of Accounting and Organizational Change
Issue number1
Early online date2020 Dec 7
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Business Administration

Free keywords

  • Aid-dependency
  • Alignment
  • Donor–partner relations
  • Governance
  • Legitimacy
  • Marketization
  • Nonprofit organizations


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