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Understanding control in nonprofit organisations: moving governance research forward?

Terri Byers (Faculty of Kinesiology, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada)
Christos Anagnostopoulos (Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, Molde University College, Molde, Norway)
Georgina Brooke-Holmes (Coventry University, Coventry, England)

Corporate Governance

ISSN: 1472-0701

Article publication date: 2 February 2015




The purpose of this paper is to introduce the concept of organisational control and both its importance and utility for understanding nonprofit organisations.


This paper uses a critical realist (CR) methodology to discuss the concept of control and its utility to research on governance of nonprofit organisations.


The current study offers a conceptual framework that presents a holistic view of control, relevant for analysing nonprofit organisations, and a methodological lens (CR) through which this framework can be implemented.

Research limitations/implications

This paper suggests that studies of governance should consider different levels of analysis, as suggested by examining the concept of control using a CR framework. This notion has yet to be tested empirically and a framework for examining governance from a CR perspective of control is suggested. Context is highly relevant to understanding control, and thus, this model requires testing in a wide diversity of nonprofit sectors, sizes of organisations and time periods.


The literature on organisational control provides useful insights to advance our understanding of nonprofit organisations beyond the notion of governance, and this paper proposes both conceptual and methodological underpinnings to facilitate future research.



Byers, T., Anagnostopoulos, C. and Brooke-Holmes, G. (2015), "Understanding control in nonprofit organisations: moving governance research forward?", Corporate Governance, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 134-145.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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