NGO mission success: the field office perspective

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This dissertation examines the factors related to the success of host country field offices established by international Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Further, this dissertation examines NGO field office mission success in

This dissertation examines the factors related to the success of host country field offices established by international Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). Further, this dissertation examines NGO field office mission success in the context of working with foreign host governments and clients. This dissertation is a case of the field offices of The Nature Conservancy in South and Central America. The principal research aim is to identify the primary factors that are related to success of field offices. Success is identified as a multidimensional concept. A conceptual model for success is developed. The conceptual model derived causal factors from the literature and captured categories of variables such as: (1) managerial tactics and techniques dictated by the NGO and adopted by field office leaders; (2) the distance between cultural features of the host country and those of the country of origin of the field office manager and personnel; and, (3) characteristics of the host country government. The dissertation: (1) utilizes a working definition of NGO drawn from the scholarly literature in the field; (2) describes the role of field offices (located in host countries) in the calculus of "home office" goal achievement; (3) discusses the types of "change"--delivery of goods, delivery of services, changes in behavior, changes in norms or attitudes--that field offices may have and how they differ in the challenges they create for field office managers; and, (4) develops a conceptual definition for success. This dissertation is concerned with the factors associated with success in the international NGO's field office. A model of success predictors is tested in this work. The findings suggest that the field offices mission success may be affected by local culture but this was not an issue for the organization studied. Mission success as perceived by the field seems to be a product of organizational culture. The contribution of the research to academic literature is that this study is both an exploratory and descriptive study of how NGO mission is carried out in the field and the impacts of national and organizational culture on mission success.