Lilly Family School of Philanthropy Theses and Dissertations

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    The Future of Philanthropy: Technology Integration for the Public Good
    (2024-03) Miyakozawa, Arisa; Herzog, Patricia Snell; Badertscher, Katherine; Onishi, Tamaki
    The purpose of the study is to understand the influence of technological changes on philanthropic community partners. The scholarly literature on the use of technology by philanthropic organizations is limited. The first objective is to understand the impact of technological innovation on philanthropic organizations as community partners. The second objective is to consider the future work in the philanthropic sector. To achieve these objectives, this research adopted qualitative research methods: informational interviews were conducted with representatives of philanthropic organizations that are integrating technology. Additionally, analysis incorporated organizational profiles, missions, and information about the issues these organizations seek to address. These interviews informed case studies that show five themes. The five key themes for the future of philanthropy are: the role of technology, the irreplaceable human touch, the importance of community, accessibility to data and software, and the promotion of transparency. Finally, based on these themes four recommendations are given for future workers - students and job seekers - looking for opportunities in the philanthropic sector. The contribution of this thesis is providing initial insights on the use of technology by philanthropic organizations, how they envision the future, and what the implications are for emerging philanthropy practitioners.
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    Social Enterprises' Resource Acquisition: Bringing Signaling Theory into Focus
    (2023-09) Ji, Chen; Konrath, Sara; Andersson, Fredrik O.; Paarlberg, Laurie; Badertscher, Katherine
    Social entrepreneurship has been recognized by both scholars and practitioners as a powerful mechanism to address a variety of complex social issues, such as addressing poverty, reducing unemployment, and empowering women. With the rapid rise of social enterprise in the last two decades, most social enterprises still face many challenges in operation and development due to environmental uncertainty, the liability of newness, and tradeoffs in balancing financial and social objectives. Besides, social enterprises are expected to become financially self-sustainable so as to reduce their reliance on government funding. These financial and growth expectations require social enterprises to actively seek and acquire resources, especially financial resources, through diverse channels. The dissertation uses insights from entrepreneurship studies to explore the dynamics of social enterprises’ resource acquisition by examining an overarching question: what factors are associated with early-state social enterprises’ resource acquisition? Using a social entrepreneurship dataset collecting survey data from around the world, the first essay proposes two contrasting theories and tests whether the hybrid identity (e.g. with both social and financial motives) of social enterprise boosts or inhibits resource acquisition outcomes. The second essay follows up by focusing on nonprofit start-ups’ resource acquisition, and it further examines how founders’ experience, founding teams’ characteristics, and organizations’ innovativeness are associated with their acquisition of philanthropic grants. The third essay uses signaling theory to examine how human capital and social media signal a social enterprise’s venture quality, and how they could be associated with the social enterprise’s philanthropic donation and debt funding acquisition. In sum, this dissertation brings signaling theory into focus and specifically examines what signals through what signaling channels would be associated with social enterprises’ resource acquisition. It also advances knowledge in social enterprises’ sustainable development and cross-sector collaborations as well as offers actionable suggestions for practitioners in improving the strategy in communicating with external stakeholders.
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    Does Organizational Type Matter for Clients' Experiences? A Comparative Study of Nonprofit Organizations, Government Organizations, For-Profit Organizations, and Social Enterprises
    (2023-08) Ho, Meng-Han; Benjamin, Lehn M.; Anderson, Fredrik O.; Dwyer, Patrick C.; Hong, Michin
    This dissertation research addresses the question: Does organizational type matter for the service experiences of clients? One of the central questions in nonprofit studies is whether nonprofits are distinct in significant ways from other service providers including governments, for-profits, or social enterprises. This dissertation addresses this question by focusing on two aspects of service quality hypothesized as mattering to clients’ helpseeking preferences—employee motivation and clients’ perceived control over key decisions in the service process. It specifically examines how employee motivation and clients’ perceived control affect clients’ help-seeking preferences in different organizational types. In the first essay, the study conducted an online experiment to test how organizational types (governments/nonprofits/for-profits) and clients’ perceptions of employee motivation (intrinsic/extrinsic) affect clients’ help-seeking preferences. Employee motivation has been theorized as distinct for nonprofits compared to governments and for-profits. The study found that clients’ perceptions of employee motivations are a stronger determinant of their willingness to interact with the organization and employees, compared to their perceived organizational types. When employees have intrinsic motivation, there is no effect of organizational type on clients’ service preferences. However, when employees are extrinsically motivated, clients prefer interacting with government or nonprofit organizations and employees. In the second essay, the study conducted a scoping review to examine the current literature on the experiences of clients in social enterprises and ran an online experiment to test the effects of social enterprise types (nonprofit/for-profit) and clients’ perceived control over key decisions in the service process. The study found that clients’ perceptions of social enterprise types and control over their job placement mattered for their service preferences. When the services are provided in for-profit social enterprises, clients would recommend and say positive things about the for-profit social enterprise they perceive to have more control over service selections. But there is no similar effect on nonprofit social enterprises. This dissertation contributes to understanding nonprofit distinctiveness through clients’ experiences, a perspective often ignored in nonprofit studies, and considers the implications for both nonprofit relationships to the market and the state.
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    Professionalism and Its Implications in the Saudi Nonprofit Sector
    (2023-05) Alzahrani, Yahya Saleh A.; Badertscher, Katherine; Konrath, Sara; Andersson, Fredrik; Fukui, Sadaaki; Siddiqui, Shariq
    The Saudi Arabian government launched Vision 2030 in 2016 that will have repercussions for all aspects of society. The Saudi nonprofit sector has undergone massive and unprecedented reform ever since. Professionalism is a major tool for this reform, prompting an increasing need for research on the topic of organizational professionalism. This dissertation examines how to define and measure organizational professionalism and its implications in the Saudi nonprofit sector. After introducing key concepts and historical context in Chapter 1, I include three articles that address these themes. Using grounded theory methodology, in Chapter 2, I focus on how nonprofit workers in Saudi Arabia define professionalism. In Chapter 3, I develop, test, and validate a professionalism scale from Saudi nonprofit workers’ perspective. In Chapter 4, I examine implications of professionalism on Saudi nonprofit employees’ work-related wellbeing: job satisfaction, turnover intention, and job burnout. In the Conclusion (Chapter 5), I discuss results along with potential implications for policies and practice, recommendations, limitations, and directions for future research.
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    Foundation Position and Actions in the Multi-national Arena: A Case Study of Ocean Conservation in the Arctic
    (2023-03) Danahey Janin, Patricia Clare; Paarlberg, Laurie E.; Shaker, Genevieve G.; Badertscher, Katherine; Hellwig, Timothy
    This study examines private foundation positioning and actions in respect to governance and market considerations in the multi-national arena around the issue of ocean conservation in the empirical setting of the Arctic Ocean. Existing research has focused primarily on foundations in their domestic setting or alternatively in their international engagement within a foreign country. There is evidence that foundation creation and activity addressing global issues are rising. Questions remain around the role of foundations in global governance and their relationship to the market. Using a qualitative case study methodology, this study was guided by a framework based on governance and market. The framework incorporated Young and Frumkin’s conceptualization of government-nonprofit relations enhanced by three additional United Nations ocean-related frameworks, and an orientation toward the market based on empirical studies. Five key actions carried out by foundations were also considered. The study was organized around two ocean conservation policy contexts to see similarities and differences. The research focused on a total of eleven foundation case studies, drawing on data from publicly available documents, grant databases, the observation of public events, and sixteen semi-structured on-line video interviews of experts, foundation, government, and NGO representatives. The study supports the theoretical model demonstrating that foundations generally complemented government activity underway and took adversarial stances at specific decision-making junctures. Foundations were attentive to international frameworks that intersected with their issue area and approach. The study challenges the model due to the difficulty in differentiating the supplemental and complementary positioning. Governance architecture and interlocking policy fields kept foundations from driving the agenda. Primary actions were funding and deploying a variety of non-financial assets. No high-risk funding linked to markets was detected and sustainable market solutions coupled with regulation were favored approaches. Risk mitigation was a primary concern prompting questions around foundation innovation. This research points to factors hindering foundations to take on a key role in governance and the evolving dimensions of the market prompting further research on foundation activity in the multi-national arena. It provides scholars and practitioners insights into theoretical and practical implications for foundations working in complex, politically tense contexts.
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    Rites of the Soil: Exploring the Ritualized Work of a Nonprofit Community Garden
    (2022-12) Alexander, James Robert; Craig, David; Benjamin, Lehn; King, David; Vogt, Wendy
    The field of ritual studies has often been relegated to the disciplines of religious studies and anthropology, and typically understood within a religious context. However, this dissertation applies the study of ritual to a nonprofit organization as a distinct organizational culture that engages in mission driven work that, at times, can also function as a series of deeply meaningful rituals; within ritual studies, this process of practical work taking on enhanced meaning is known as ritualization. Utilizing Ronald Grimes' categories of ritual sensibilities (specifically decorum, magic, ceremony, liturgy, and celebration), this research sought to better understand how the work of The Lord's Acre, a nonprofit community garden dedicated to addressing the conditions of food insecurity, can similarly be viewed as ritualized activities. The study was conducted through the use of intensive participant observation and interviews conducted between 2018-2020 on site in Fairview, North Carolina. The research uncovered several important revelations. First, the work of the garden often hinged upon the use of ritual language, spaces, and objects, and some of the rituals defied the clear categorization under Grimes' schema. Instead, ritual attitudes toward the work under observation became blends of multiple categories, such as celebratory ceremonies, thus helping to reify Grimes' theory. Secondly, at times, the rituals undertaken at the organization resembled rites of passage popularized by Arnold van Gennep and also sustained periods of liminality, or communitas, popularized by Victor Turner, especially in the organization's attempts to build community through educating others about food insecurity. Finally, the research discovered that the practice of liturgy, conventionally thought to reside within religious nonprofit organizations, was active within the organization and thus may also be alive and well within secular nonprofit organizations.
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    Performance Measurement and Research Practices in Higher Education-Focused Philanthropic Organizations
    (2022-07) Essien, Frank Swanzy, Jr.; Konrath, Sara; Badertscher, Kathi; Pike, Gary; Shaker, Genevieve
    Performance measurement and research are key components of the operations of philanthropic organizations (both grant-making [GM] and grant-seeking [GS] organizations) —particularly those in the higher education subsector. Both conventionally and historically, performance measurement and research practices have been portrayed as rational tools that philanthropic organizations undertake to get the needed data or information to make evidence-based decisions. In this dissertation, I investigate, identify, and explain, beyond rational choice, the other possible motives that may drive higher education-focused philanthropic organizations to engage in performance measurement and research practices as well as the ways they use the information gained from these practices. In other words, I answer the research questions: why do philanthropic organizations (both grant-making and grantseeking organizations) engage in performance measurement and research practices? How do they use information from these practices? This dissertation employs a content analysis methodology to explore whether other theories may provide plausible explanations as to why higher education-focused philanthropic organizations engage in performance measurement and research practices. Some of the other theories upon which I draw to help explain why and how philanthropic organizations (GMs and GSs) use performance measurement and research practices are: organizational learning theory, principal agency theory, institutional theory, resource dependency theory, stewardship theory and culturally responsive, equitable and inclusive practices and outcomes theory (CREI).
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    Economic Inequality and Prosocial Behavior: A Multidimensional Analysis
    (2022-06) Yang, Yongzheng; Wiepking, Pamala; Badertscher, Katherine; Konrath, Sara; Ottoni-Wilhelm, Mark; Rooney, Patrick
    Rising economic inequality has become a widespread trend and concern in recent decades. Economic inequality is often associated with pernicious consequences such as a decrease in individual health and social cohesion and an increase in political conflicts. Does economic inequality have a negative association with prosocial behavior, like many other aspects of inequality? To answer this question, this dissertation investigates the relationship between economic inequality and prosocial behavior, particularly charitable giving, by conducting three empirical studies. The first study is a meta-analysis on the overall relationship between economic inequality and prosocial behavior. Results from 192 effect sizes in 100 studies show that there is a general small, negative relationship between economic inequality and different forms of prosocial behavior. Moderator tests demonstrate that social context, the operationalization of prosocial behavior, the operationalization of economic inequality, and average age of participants significantly moderate the relationship between economic inequality and prosocial behavior. The second study differentiates between redistributive and non-redistributive charitable causes and examines how income inequality is associated with charitable giving to these two causes in China. Using synthesized data from the China Labor-force Dynamics Survey (CLDS) and official data, this study shows that income inequality has no significant relationship with charitable giving to redistributive causes, but it has a negative association with charitable giving to non-redistributive causes. Of the four moderators, only education significantly moderates the relationship between income inequality and redistributive giving. The third study tests whether and how government social spending mediates the relationship between income inequality and charitable giving. Using the US county level panel data, this study finds there is no significant relationship between income inequality and government social spending as well as between government social spending and charitable giving. Thus, government social spending does not significantly mediate the relationship between income inequality and charitable giving. However, income inequality has a robustly and significantly negative relationship with charitable giving. In sum, this dissertation furthers our understanding of the relationship between economic inequality and prosocial behavior, especially charitable giving. Given the higher economic inequality facing many countries, it is a timely dissertation and has important practical implications.
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    Cross-cultural Mutuality: Exploring Philanthropic, Faith-based Partnerships Between Cuba and the United States
    (2021-11) Goodwin, Jamie L.; King, David; Herzog, Patricia Snell; Wiepking, Pamala; Kahn, Hilary; Konrath, Sara
    In the global age, grass-roots religious organizations seek to better collaborate across national and cultural borders. Through the theoretical lens of mutuality, this dissertation explores the nature and quality of interpersonal relationships inherent in faith-based, philanthropic partnerships between the United States and Cuba. Mutuality is a framework for understanding human relationships; it describes when people regard one another as whole persons and a relationship as something of inherent value. This study explores the value of relationships, the processes by which they form, how they relate to institutional structures, and the role of a common faith in bridging other cultural differences. Religious communities are considered the primary civil society institutions with national reach in Cuba. The research site for this study is a Protestant civil society organization on the outskirts of Havana, Cuba called Campo Amor. Campo Amor operates both nonprofit and for-profit activities and receives substantial American donations through a foundation in Spain. Over the past 20 years, Campo Amor has multiplied from two to more than 120 house churches. Before COVID-19 it welcomed more than 500 American partners each year. Using a co-created, phenomenological qualitative design, this study will provide knowledge into the role of relationships in philanthropic, faith-based partnerships, particularly between regions of geopolitical hostilities. It advances understanding of the role of religion and relationships in philanthropy across a variety of cultural differences. Among other findings, interviewees described mutuality as 1. the commitment to sharing; 2. Intersubjective relationships which enter into and care about the thoughts and feelings of another; and 3. the habitual approach that emphasized living one’s way into patterns of thought, versus thinking one’s way into patterns of life.
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    Faith-Based Social Entrepreneurial Orientation: A Case of Evangelicals
    (2021-10) Clark, Richard S.; Craig, David M.; King, David; Steensland, Brian; Badertscher, Katherine; Guo, Chao
    The focus of this study is the experiences of eight individual evangelical social entrepreneurs within their congregations. What type of legitimacy do they seek and/or receive for? Do they sense any pressure to conform/motivations to act relative to their congregation’s values/identity? Do these relationships encourage or discourage their entrepreneurial orientation/intensity and in what ways? The primary research question is “how does embeddedness in an evangelical faith community affect the experiences and expression of social entrepreneurial orientation and intensity for evangelical faith-based social entrepreneurs, if at all?” The study identifies three types of congregations in terms of their relationship to the social entrepreneurs in their communities. Two are entrepreneurial, two others are supportive, four are non-supporting. Three areas of tension emerged that highlighted the experiences of the entrepreneurs within their communities of faith in different ways and to various degrees. The first is a tension between the sacred and secular, which is a question about whether entrepreneurism is itself a sacred calling and whether sacred activities and profit motives can mix. The second tension is between differing visions of what it means to do good. This is fundamentally about diagnosing the problem efforts at doing good are attempting to ameliorate. The entrepreneurs in this study generally agree that the problem is both personal and societal and requires a holistic transformational approach to discipleship and social entrepreneurship. The final tension is between institutionalism vs. movements. Movements tend to be somewhat chaotic and allow freedom for adherents to take risks and test ideas whereas institutions tend to restrict and control in the interest of preserving focus on mission. A key finding is that regardless of the posture of the various churches, the entrepreneurs in every circumstance maintained their social entrepreneurial orientation. If they could not find support for their entrepreneurial efforts within their existing community of faith they may or may not continue to maintain the same level of commitment to that community while seeking support elsewhere, but in all cases, their level of entrepreneurism remained high.