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Chapter 6 Nonprofit and Government Sectors in Japan: Comparing their Ethical Orientations

The Third Sector

ISBN: 978-1-78052-280-7, eISBN: 978-1-78052-281-4

ISSN: 2046-6072

Publication date: 8 November 2011


Purpose – this chapter contrasts the ethical climates in government and nonprofit organizations (npos) in japan, a setting where the relationship between these two sectors has been recognized as close and long-lasting (estevez-abe, 2003; hirata, 2002; ritu, 2008). Yet, there has been little comparison of the value difference (or congruence) or discussion of how this may influence their interaction over time. This chapter explains why nonprofit partners may be more attractive partners for governmental contracts, notwithstanding the dangers of “mission drift” (young & denize, 2008) and/or high monitoring costs (malloy & agarwal, 2008).

Design/methodology/approach – Using survey data from matched samples of nonprofits (441, 86% response rate) and governmental organizations (321, 64%), the factor structure equivalence and measurement invariance of ethical climates in these two sectors were rigorously tested.

Findings – The findings extend prior typologies of ethical climate from for-profit and nonprofit organizations to governmental organizations. The chapter revisits the notion of opportunism, which continues to be pervasive and problematic in third-sector studies (Hawkins, Gravier, & Powley, 2011) to suggest that significant overlap in ethical climates between nonprofit and governmental organizations rules out value differences as a possible source of opportunism.

Originality/value – This study contributes a deeper awareness of the similarities and differences in ethical perceptions between nonprofit and governmental organizations that can inform policy makers in government to better understand the implications of using nonprofit partners to deliver services.



Laratta, R. (2011), "Chapter 6 Nonprofit and Government Sectors in Japan: Comparing their Ethical Orientations", Hull, R., Gibbon, J., Branzei, O. and Haugh, H. (Ed.) The Third Sector (Dialogues in Critical Management Studies, Vol. 1), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 143-164.



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