Chao Guo and Zhibin Zhang
To what extent do China’s non-profit and voluntary organizations have the capacities to represent effectively the interests of their constituents? In this paper, we examine the prevalence of various representational dimensions in these organizations. Our survey findings provide evidence that, other things being equal, an organization’s levels of descriptive and participatory representation have a positive and significant impact on its levels of substantive and symbolic representation. Our findings also show that organizational type matters: social organizations are more substantively and symbolically representative than private non-enterprise organizations, whereas advocacy-oriented organizations are more symbolically representative than those that are not advocacy-oriented. Our case studies further illustrate how the typical advocacy-oriented organization differs from the service-oriented organization in the development of its ‘representational mix’, how an organization’s ‘representational mix’ evolves over time, and how the relationship between the organization and its supervisory agency affects its various representational dimensions.
Public Administration 91, No. 2 (2011): 325-346
Chao Guo, J. Xu, D.H. Smith and Zhibin Zhang
It is easy to forget and let lie fallow the great democratic potential of nonprofits in the United States. We have listened for years to U.S. nonprofit leaders bemoan while overstating the limits that are placed on advocacy potential, using it as an excuse not to work with their communities to ensure that public policy meets community need. But have we lost perspective on what the value of freedoms exercised regularly really are? This article has been on our minds for a while as we tracked the development of civil society in China and the regulatory/political environment in which it has functioned. We urge every U.S. nonprofit leader to read this, because it is not only enormously interesting but also provides a vivid sense of what we need to protect and use.
The Nonprofit Quarterly 19, No. 3, (2012): 20-27
Chao Guo, Zhibin Zhang and Dongjin Cai
China’s nonprofit and voluntary sector has been on the rise since the government launched its economic and political reforms in 1979. In light of their important roles as social service providers and advocates for the public interest, there have been growing concerns about the extent to which these organizations are representative of the interests of their members and constituents and are accountable for their actions and performance. In this paper, we explore the representational capacities of China’s nonprofit organizations, with a focus on grassroots organizations. Drawing upon Guo and Musso (2007), we examine the representativeness of these organizations along five major dimensions: substantive, symbolic, formal, descriptive, and participatory representation. We then present two illustrative cases of grassroots organizations to tease out the complexity of representational mixes found in these organizations. We conclude the paper with a discussion of the theoretical and practical implications as well as future research directions.
Journal of Public Administration [Chinese] 2, No.3 (2009): 171-191