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The Other Side of Sustainability: Towards a Model to Study Nonprofit Organizational Dissolution

Wed, July 11, 2:00 to 3:30pm, Room, 5A 24


This paper focuses on the theoretical causes of nonprofit organization dissolution. The purpose of this study is to integrate previous frameworks (Hager, 1999; Fernandez, 2008; and Searing, 2015) on a single model of nonprofit organization dissolution. This model is based primarily on organizational theories that are divided into internal and external focuses. Internal focus theories are: newness and small size, commitment, conflict, leadership, and human capital. External focus theories are: resource dependence, niche, institutionalization, network, and mission completion. A review of the literature regarding nonprofit dissolution within these theories is conducted to construct the model of nonprofit organizational dissolution. This model is going to be helpful to quantitatively study existing hypotheses on nonprofit organization dissolution. This study aims to contribute to the existing literature about obstacles that limit the development of sustainable nonprofit organizations. These obstacles might derive from external factors such as, weak adaptation to the environment, and internal factors such as, limited managerial skills among existing leaderships. The expected results of this proposed model is an integration of existing studies about the ending life cycles of nonprofit organizations.

Key words: nonprofit organization, dissolution, adaptation, sustainability, management

Fernandez, J. J. (2008). Causes of Dissolution among Spanish Nonprofit Associations. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 37(1), 113-137.
Hager, M. A. (1999). Explaining Demise among Nonprofit Organizations (doctoral dissertation). The University of Minnesota, Minnesota.
Searing, E. A. M. (2015). Beyond liabilities: Survival skills for the young, small, and not-for-profit (doctoral dissertation). Georgia State University, Georgia.