Tragic Choices in Humanitarian Aid: A Framework of Organizational Determinants of NGO Decision Making

Heyse, L., Mar-2013, In : Voluntas. 24, 1, p. 68-92 25 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Humanitarian NGOs face difficult choices about whom to help and whom not on a daily basis. The research question in this article is how humanitarian NGOs make these difficult decisions and why in a particular way. March's study on consequential and appropriate decision-making processes is used to analyze the nature and course of NGO decision making. Since March's two models are often explicitly or implicitly linked to certain types of organizational settings-as reflected in an organization's formal structure, compliance and coordination mechanisms-this article particularly zooms in on the relationship between NGO decision-making processes and these settings. The theoretical framework is illustrated and discussed by means of an exploratory comparative case study of two international humanitarian NGOs: M,decins Sans FrontiSres Holland (MSF Holland) and Acting with Churches Netherlands (ACT Netherlands).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-92
Number of pages25
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar-2013


  • Humanitarian aid, Decision making, Organization theory, Non governmental organizations

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