Challenges to Comprehension Implied by the Logo
of Laetus in Praesens
University of Earth Alternative view of segmented documents via Kairos


Transnational Associations and their Functions

- / -

This paper by Anthony Judge and Kjell Skjelsbaek is identifiable as PRIO Publication 22 37, from the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo. It appeared in one form in A J R Groom and Paul Taylor (Eds): Functionalism: theory and practice in international relations (1975), pp. 190-224. The content was subsequently developed by Anthony Judge into International Organizations: diversity, borderline cases, functional substitutes and possible alternatives In: A J R Groom and Paul Taylor (Eds): International Organizations: a conceptual approach (1977), pp. 78-83. Revised versions of this have appeared under the title: International Organizations: an overview. In: Yearbook of International Organizations Brussels, Union of International Associations, 1978 (and thereafter) and online as Types of International Organization.


This paper describes and discusses a particular set of actors in the global social system which, in an historical perspective, may be considered newcomers on the scene They are frequently called international non governmental organisations (INGOs) [1], and this term covers a wide variety of organisational units with many and different functions Our objective is not to put INGOs into a comprehensive theoretical model, but to give a description of them and their relationships and activities using ideas and terms borrowed from the theory of functionalism First of all we shall discuss the context and concept of INGOs Then we shall present some data showing the growth and spread of the INGO system The following section is a presentation of what INGOs typically do, and what functions they perform On the basis of this we will then try to outline what we think are likely future trends, and we conclude this chapter with a number of policy recommendations, aimed at increasing the effectiveness of INGOs and improving their relationship with other kinds of actors in the international system

A. Context and Concept of INGOs

In this section we want to widen the range of types of organisation (rather than organisations) prior to isolating those entities that conventionally are termed INGOs The suggestion therefore is that many statements made elsewhere in this text are also applicable to styles of organisation found outside these narrow limits

a. Concept of an organisation There are many factors which determine the manner in which different functions are associated with particular styles of organisation drawn from the wide range of possibilities of kinds of organisation An attempt at isolating some different combinations is presented in Table 1, which in no way is intended to be definitive, but is really an indication of how some different styles of organisation may be distinguished.

Table 1 Different forms of organisation
Key: High = H, medium = M, and Low = L

Form of organisation

Effort to achieve member ship

Activity level of members








Ad hoc org





Meeting series





One meeting in a series




















Invisible college










Spectatorship (sport)















Consumership (material goods)










Information system










Primary group





One example of how a need satisfied by a conventional organisation may be satisfied by a functional equivalent in the table is the case of a subscriptionship' In one setting it may be necessary to have interaction between members via an 'organization', while in another the need for such interaction may be satisfied by a journal to which individuals can subscribe Another example is the case of an 'agreement' which may be considered an hyperformal organisation in one setting a written or even verbal agreement may satisfactorily regulate relations between members, in another an equivalent agreement may have to be administered by a secretariat via an organisation Whereformal agreement is not possible, an 'organisation' may even perform the necessary mediating or negotiating functions between its members A final example is the case of a meeting, and particularly large regular meetings, in a series In terms of activity, this may be more significant than a small normally constituted organisation

One consequence of focusing on conventional organisations only is that functional equivalents, particularly in non Western cultures [2], are excluded from the analysis thus introducing cultural bias and jeopardising comparative studies Another consequence is that even with a certain culture an 'organisational analysis' will exclude many styles of organisation performing functions which mesh with those of the organisations we are trying to isolate for closer scrutiny in this chapter thus rendering the analysis incomplete A complicating feature is that a conven- tional organisation may, for example, perform functions for a 'membership, but at the same time produce a periodical which serves as a focal point for a 'subscribership' which is not identical nor coterminous with the membership A further complicating feature derives from the dynamics of a social system in that the growth or decay of a particular organisation form may be accompanied by transference of functions to another organisation form, for instance due to change in technology The ability to accomplish this transference may be hindered by mertial features, such as vested interests identified with particular patterns of organisation

Finally, it is useful to consider what maybe termed potential organisation, namely the facility with which anetwork of interacting bodies can gel out appropriate organisation forms and combinations of members in response to each new detected need Such organisations come into existence when required but otherwise only exist potentially-their potential existence obviates the need for a permanent organisation inthe domain inquestion [3].

b. International vs. national There is a series of problems connected with this dimension Some organisations may have members from one or two nations, but financial support from one only [4]. Their activities may be geared towards the international system as such, towards the domestic situation in a specified set of countries or towards one single country regardless of the structure of the membership and/or financial contributions In addition there is a difficulty connected with the distinction between manifest and latent functions Activities of typically national NGOs to solve national problems-for instance a strike organised by a trade union-may very well have unintended repercussions in other nations thus affecting inter-nation relationships Any cutting point is therefore bound to be arbitrary (see Table 2) The conventional requirements are that an INGO must have members and financial support from at least three different countries and the intention to cover operations in as many

There is a further problem for many organisations in that the nationality of members, funding and activity or office location may be considered of little significance to the members-the organisation is not territorially oriented In such cases the term 'transnational' is more appropriate [5].

The distinction between universal and regional organisations should be men- tioned in this connection About 70 per cent of all conventional INGOs are in principle open to persons and organisations from all countries, but only a fraction of these are in fact truly universal in their membership Some of the regional organisations limit their field of operation to a certain continent, for example, Africa, or to some other geographical area, for instance the Mediterranean Others recruit members only from those nations that are members of a certain inter governmental organisation, for instance the European Communities

Table 2 National/International Dimension

This dimension can in fact be applied to three distinct features of an organisation, namely its representativeness, activities, or fields of interest

1 Universal organisation with countries from all continents as members A distinction can be made between such organisations which permit represen- tatives from states and territories, and organisations which only permit territories to be represented via states A distinction can also be made between universal organisations which have major offices in one continent, and those which have major offices in all continents
2 Political bloc organisations (e g Atlantic bodies)
3 Bi continental organisations (e g Afro-Asian)
4 Continental organisations (e g Asian)
5 Sub continental organisations (e g Scandinavian)
6 Bi-lateral organisations
7 Organisations with the majority (e g 75%) of its members, or officers, or funds from one country There are two subtypes, those with their most important activities in the one country only, and those with much activity in other countries
8 National organisations specifically interested in world affairs and international institutions, or with action programmes and offices in foreign countries
9 International organisations under the control or domination of one person or family (e g multinational business enterprises or empires controlled by Onassis, Getty, Baron Empain, Du Pont family, etc, Avery Brundage and the International Olympic Committee)
10 Groupings of INGOs with their headquarters in one country or city (Federation of International Associations established in Belgium, Federation of Semi official and Private International Institutions established in Geneva )
11 National NCOs recognised as 'international' by receiving consultative status with UN (ECOSOC) or its agencies: All India Women's Conference; American Foreign Insurance Association; Japan Atomic Industrial Forum, Inc; National Association of Manufacturers of the USA
12 Activities in a particular country directed by international boards: Jungfraujoch Scientific Station; Zoological Station of Naples; International Auschwitz Committee; International Action Committee to Safeguard the Monuments of Nubia.
13 INGOs in which the base country and its nationals remain of pre-eminent importance: Royal Commonwealth Society; Royal Overseas League
14 National NGOs having a role recognized by and with respect to an international convention International Committee of the Red Cross (with respect to the Geneva Conventions)
15 International organisations which support, develop or commemorate the projects of one individual: International Grotius Foundation for the Propagation of the Law of Nations; Krishnamurti Foundation; International Heinrich Schutz Society; Hubbard Association of Scientologists International

16 National or subnational NGOs studying or facilitating transnational processes in general (as opposed to activities in a number of particular foreign countries) e g international relations and peace research institutes

c. Nongovernmental vs. governmental The concept of a 'nongovernmental' organisation is an extremely difficult one to handle satisfactorily The definition at the international level derives from acompromise wording in the early days of the United Nations [6].

Table 3 shows some of the many borderline areas (points 2-1 3) which are treated as 'nongovernmental' The current crisis in INGO-UN relations [7] is in part due to the fact that the narrow Western concept of an NGO is not re examined(There is also a suspicion that the prefix 'non' may translate badly into some non Indo European language and culture settings and give the sense of 'anti', or at least a 'non kosher' connotation) More or less successful imitations exist as functional equivalents in non Western societies, but frequently with a strong governmental component making them 'mixed' or 'intersect' organisations [8]. The government or party influenced 'NGOs' in socialist countries tend to be viewed as political front organisations by the West, whereas the socialist countries tend to view Western 'NGOs' as fronts for secret service activities A more sophisticated typology is required

Table 3 Governmental/Nongovernmental Dimension

1 Conventional intergovernmental bodies: Administration of an intergovernmental agreement; Ministerial level organisation; Joint military command; Technical agency

2 Semi formal contact mechanisms between top government officials: Corps diplomatique; Inter Parliamentary Union; Ententes cordiales; Bilderberg meetings (Prince Berhnard); Encuentros Siglo XX

3 INGOs with government agencies or government run bodies as members: International Air Transport Association; International Secretariat for Volunteer Service; International Criminal Police Organisation (lNTERPOL); lnternational Union of Official Travel Organisations

4 INGOs with major government involvement:

  • INGOs with governments as members (eg International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, International Institute of Administrative Sciences, International Council of Scientific Unions)
  • Intersect or Mixed organisations
  • Government technical people in INGOs (in unofficial capacities)
  • INGOs administered by officials on government payrolls
  • INGOs receiving office space or facilities from governments
  • INGOs funded principally by governments or IGOs

5 Staff associations of intergovernmental agencies: Individual staff associations of the UN, UNESCO, EEC, etc; Federation of International Civil Servants Associations (which groups about 30 of the above associations)

6 INGOs with a strong involvement in a given party line whose status may change dramatically if that party achieves or loses political power: INGOs specifically aligned with a political party; 'Peoples' organisations' in the Marxist sense; International political parties; International organisations of political parties; Front organisations

7 (International) NGOs with a commitment to change governments: International revolutionary organisations (e g Organisation of Afro Asian Latin American Peoples Solidarity); Liberation movements (recognised and heard by the UN Security Council meeting in Addis Ababa in 1972); Assembly of Captive European Nations

8 National government agencies with 'nongovernmental' international pro grammes: National governmental agencies with international programmes; Secret Services (e g CIA KGB)

9 Government controlled enterprises: Inter governmental (profit making) enterprises (e g Eurofima and Eurochemic); Multinational enterprises with governmental shareholders; Mutual Assistance of the Latin American Government Oil Companies (ARPEL)

10 Nongovernmental organisations having a role recognised by and with respect to an intergovernmental convention: International Committee of the Red Cross (with respect to the Geneva Convention)

11 Transnational bodies to which state recognised churches report: Vatican
12 International Educational Institutes: College of Europe (Bruges); Institut Universitaire Europeen (Florence); University of the United Nations (proposed)

13 Orders of Chivalry: Sovereign Military Order of Malta Order of Knights Templar [For a treatment as organisations, see Gunnar Boalt et al The European Orders of Chivalry (a sociological perspective) Stockholm, Norstedt, 1971, 151 p]

Non profit vs Profit Within the UN context, which originated the term NGO, there is no specific restriction on recognition of nongovernmental organisations which themselves have profit making objectives To date, however, of the 350 organisa- tions in consultative status with ECOSOC, more have such objectives-although some, as for example the various trade associations, are attempting more to facilitate profit making on the part of their members [9]. Many aspects of nonprofit status are indicated in Table 4

Tax Law may further confuse the issue by recognising some nonprofit bodies as having 'charitable status' or as being 'benevolent' or 'philanthropic' This varies very much from country to country

Table 4 Profit/Nonprofit Dimension
1 All resources received as untied donations, subsidies, or grants
2 Some resources received in exchange for services at cost (e g consultancy or sale of publications)

3 Some resources received as a profit on services performed (e g consultancy or sale of publications)

4 All resources received as a profit on services performed, but profits are used to develop the organisation and are never redistributed to shareholders (e g not non profit research institutes such as the Battele Memorial Institute)
5 Government controlled and possibly subsidised (i e where profit is not the major criteria, eg nationalised enterprises, possibly with international operations)
6 Intergovernmental business enterprises created by intergovernmental agreement (eg European Company for the Chemical Processing of Irradiateq Fuels, European Company for the Financing of Railway Rolling Stock)
7 Nonprofit corporations created or sustained by profit corporations and receiving direct subsidies from the 'parent' body (eg Esso European Research Laboratory (Research functions only), ITT Europe (administrative functions only), certain corporation created foundations)
8 Organisations which in themselves are non profit, but from which members derive financial profit by the regulatory and exclusive features arising from membership (eg trade unions, and certain professional bodies, trade associations and chambers of commerce)
9 Profit making enterprises in the conventional sense
10 Joint business ventures and consortia (in which it is the members and not the temporary linking body which makes the profit)
11 Corporations forced by size and social forces to recognize that profit making is not an adequate criterion for decision on long term survival
12 Business enterprises in the socialist country style, where profit per seis not a favoured objective although increasingly introduced for purposes of evaluation and incentive
13 Consortia and consultative groups of agencies and corporations prepared to invest in developing countries (e g under the aegis of the World Bank)
14 Illegal enterprises which may in themselves be nonprofit to facilitate profit making by members (international cartels, trusts and combines and possibly 'organised crime')
15 Cooperatives run for profit although 'non profit in that the economic benefits are distributed back to members as users

d. Voluntary vs Nongovernmental 'Voluntary' is as subject to confusion as 'nongovernmental' Many INGOs have 'voluntary bodies as members, and may even have programmes administered by 'volunteers' But on the other hand, many differ from profit making bodies only in the lack of a profit objective and would oppose the label 'voluntary' [10]. There is a tendency to treat 'voluntary agencies' as a special class of INGOs with programmes for developing countries

e. Legal Status INGOs are fictional entities in terms of international law They are international 'outlaws' [11]. This is true of both profit and nonprofit organizations No international convention exists to supply either with legal status In both cases they are treated as national organisations in the country where they are headquartered [12] and as 'foreign' organisations in other countries

This situation has had a marked negative influence on the thinking of scholars unwilling to recognise any body not accorded existence by law Even at the national level, however, many organisations remain unincorporated for a variety of reasons-one of which may be the illegality of their activities

Organised crime is an important feature of the social system, at least through the influence of the 'nationwide cartel and confederation', 'the single loosely knit conspiracy' operating in the United States, and most probably through other related international crime syndicates, about which information is unobtainable* In some respects organised crime resembles a set of normal profit making enterprises, although illegal in others, the underlying 'family structure' (as with the Tong secret societies) is significant, or, as a totality, it may be a network of loosely knit structures, possibly with a central arbitrating 'commission Inter national organised crime is almost entirely ignored in analyses of governmental and business systems due to its 'abnormalites', but aside from this falling into a catchall category of INGOs it may through its functions as a network of pressure groups or established structures and properties bear a strong resemblance to the legitimate network of associations (as well as infiltrating some, such as unions and trade associations) Such organisations may perform some positive functions [13].

f. Salience Organisations may be distinguished by their visibility to the public eye There appears to be a tendency to study the most visible [14]. The following range should however be considered

(a) secret societies (eg Freemasons), organised crime (eg Mafia), secret services (e g cia), and liberation movements (b) deliberately not publicised for political reasons (eg Bilderberg Group), for reasons of profit (e g certain trade association cum cartels) (e) known but closed to the 'nonqualified' public (eg certain professional association) or bodies with deliberately high entrance fees (e g exclusive with international reciprocity of membership) (d) known and open to the interested (e) deliberately publicised (e g certain mass movements and proselytising organisa- tions)

Duration There is a marked tendency in sociology and political science to focus on 'permanent' organisations-particularly since they are reliable generators of comparable data for diachronic studies Organisations are of course, not permanent and in the case of business enterprises the average life may be as low as five years in the US Less easily documented is the organisation associated with a single meeting-which may extend over five years with international meetings of 10 000 people-but which nevertheless may substitute for an ad hoc organisation with a regular meeting series

Of increasing importance are temporary bodies specially incorporated for a specific task and generally grouping a number of permanent bodies The most ambitious examples of these are the International Geophysical Year and the International Quiet Sun Year [15], which grouped a wide range of bodies The boundary between such activities and international 'programmes' launched, for example, by the United Nations, may be unclear Such bodies as the United Nations Development Programme gelled out of other UN programmes as an 'organisation' only halfway through the first UN Development Decade which became its major concern Programmes and meetings may act as functional substitutes for conven- tional organisations

'Our knowledge of the structure which makes 'organised crime organised is somewhat comparable to the knowledge of Standard Oil which could be gleaned from interviews with gasoline station attendants'

It is a moot point as to what degree of impermanence should be considered a cut off point The informal temporary alliances between delegations with respect to an agenda point at an international conference can be of great significance during the hours they last It is in this time period that much 'organisation' is created, modified and dissolved A process oriented perspective would attempt to isolate any relative invariance as being significant

g. Levels of coordination There is a prevailing assumption, particularly in UN circles, that every international NGO has national association members or branches There is also a tendency to assume that the secretariat or executive committee has no constitutional limitation on its control over a national affiliate [16]. The reality of the situation is that there are many combinations of membership and degrees of control Of particular significance is the emergence of international NGOs (e g the Council for International Organisations of Medical Sciences) In some cases, the member international NGOs may themselves have international NGOs as members (e g the International Council of Scientific Unions) and the latter type may in turn be member of several general conferences of International NGOs (eg the Conference of Nongovernmental Organisations in Consultative Status with ecosoc) This phenomena may repeat itself at the national level (eg the American Council of Learned Societies) to give a complex multi level structure separating the ultimate member from the highest level of coordination This structuring and the potential of this mechanism has not been subject to academic scrutiny

h. Cross modality See note [17]

A given organisation's programme may be restricted to a mix of one or two concerns-typically:

More sophisticated organisations are faced with the interaction between these concerns and their integration within a viable and socially responsible strategy The extent of this cross modal integration could be an important means of highlighting particularly significant bodies Other possible modes of importance might include policy making, programme management, education and public information Lack of cross modal coordination tends to give rise to 'spastic', autonomous effects in the social system

Multidisciplmarity Organisations may also be usefully distinguished by the range of disciplines which they attempt to work with or relate to Many international organisations are concerned to interrelate different relevant perspectives expressed through member or sub sections activity To the extent that such activity is coordinated through complex multilevel structures, the integrative potential of the top most layer is high There do, however, appear to be certain parallels between behaviour with respect to geographical and functional territory which merit study to avoid a repetition in a new domain of the existing territorial conflict44

i. Participativeness The participativeness of an organisation is especially important in the case of nongovernmental organisations Potential members or supporters experiencing an organisation as non participative will tend to allocate their resources to more participative groups NGO activity as a whole may in some respect be considered a participative alternative to governmental activity-although there is a definite bureaucratisation of NGO activity which suggests that youth and volunteer movements represent a still more participative wave There is need for measures of degree of participativeness, for example:

Autonomy It is a truism that no organisation exists in splendid isolation However, the extent of organisational inter dependence is not well recognised This may extend to a point where the boundaries between organisations or their sub sections are fixed arbitrarily for legal, fiscal or funding convenience but do not constitute a meaningful boundary in the working activity of most of those involved Organisations may be conceived as embedded in a network to a degree in some cases that the links in the network between organisations are of greater importance than the nodes, i e the organisations themselves [18].

Conventional INGOs The above paragraphs indicate the range and complexity of nongovernmental organisations in society The UN system faced with this complexity in 1946 introduced, in Article 71 of its Charter a negative definition of NGO which in fact established no clear cut off points on any of the above dimensions UN practice has, however, resulted in recognition as NGO of Western style 'permanent organisations' with an 'established headquarters', a constitution and, where possible, members in a 'substantial number' of countries

This definition has tended to disguise sociological reality, although it is convenient for some practical administrative purposes Clearly it only discloses a small proportion of the activity which would be detected with a more comprehen- sive acceptance of styles of social organisation The legalistic definition appears to result in embarrassment over such categories of organisation as churches (eg the Roman Catholic Church), youth movements, 'people organisations' (e g in the style of the Peoples Republic of China) and liberation movements A new attitude and terminology is required Perhaps 'transnational association networks' would be better-although to it should be added such adjectives as dynamic, evolving, adaptive, participative, and the like

In the remainder of this article attention will be confined to conventional INGOs as recognised in the Yearbook of International Organisations This means (i) permanent bodies with offices, officers and a constitution, (n) not created by intergovernmental agreement, (in) members, officers, and funds from at least 3 countries (iv) no redistribution of profits to members, (v) non secret, (vi) democratic officers election procedure, (vn) autonomous, excluding subgroups of organisations, (VIII) currently active, (IX) excluding (non democratic) religious orders, educational or training institutions or social and entertainment clubs This leaves us with a total of 2281 INGOs in 1970, 288 of which were European Common Market or EFTA business and professional groups [19] (The latter group of organisations is not included in the statistical presentations which follow, leaving us with a net total of 1993 The overwhelming majority of these are European Common Market organisations There are two reasons for not including them in the statistics First, to the extent that the European Community is an emerging federation, these INGOs are losing some of their international character Second, some of them are mere subcommittees of other European INGOs in which nations other than the six EEC countries also are represented )

j. Some illustrations The 2281 organisations make up a very heterogeneous group Among them are the International Air Transport Association (iata), the International Federation of Kennel Clubs, the International Society for Plant Geography and Ecology, the World Council of Churches (WCC), the International Commission of Rules for the Approval of Electrical Equipment (cee), and the International Olympic Committee (lOC) In addition, there are international trade unions, international political organisations, for instance the Socialist International, and a large number of professional, commercial, agricultural and cultural organisations Other INGOs deal with problems of health, peace, documentation and finance There seems to be almost no limit to the number of activities that can be and will be organised internationally

Figure 1 Number of INGOs founded per five year period, 1850 1954

src="images/75trafun_files/image002.jpg" alt="Number of INGOs founded per five year period, 1850 1954" width=50%>

B. Growth and Spread of the INGO System

We have selected a few tables based on the data collected and published by the Union of International Associations (UIA), an INGO situated in Brussels A more detailed presentation and discussion of these and related tables can be found elsewhere [20].

a. Growth in numbers and memberships Figure 1 shows the number of INGOs founded per five year period since 1850 Before 1895 the number never exceeded fifty, but in the subsequent period lasting to the onset of the First World War there was a sharp increase The war killed the boom, but after 1919 the world witnessed a resurgence of INGOs which lasted until a new political catastrophy emerged in the thirties Since 1945 there has been an impressive and steady growth of organisations Table 5 shows the number of active INGOs since 1954 It has practically doubled in the course of those sixteen years, which means that the mean annual increase has been somewhere between 4 per cent and 5 per cent (eec and EFTA INGOs are excluded from this as well as from the other tables ) The mean number of countries represented in each organisation has also increased consider ably It was 21 0 in 1951 and 25 7 in 1966, a growth of 22 per cent in fifteen years These figures partly reflect the large number of new nations, of course, but it nevertheless means that INGOs generally have become more representative

Table 5 Active INGOs, 1954-1970
source Yearbook of International Organisations
(13th ed Brussels, Union of International Associations, 1955-1971)
Year Number of INGOs Percentage increase
1954 1,012
1956 975 -3.7
1958 1,060 8.8
1960 1,255 18.4
1962 1,324 5.5
1964 1,470 11.
1966 1 685 14.6
1968 1899 12.7
1970 1,993 4.9

b. National representations across regions In spite of the growth of the mean number of national representations, representativeness still remains one of the key problems in the ingo system, as this is illustrated in Table 6 [21]. The Northwestern region has more than half of all the national representations in INGOs.

Table 6 National representations in INGOs (1951-1966)
Percentage by year















Latin America







Arab world






5. 3

Western Asia





7. 7


Socialist Asia







Eastern Europe







Black Africa











1. 0


1. 1



100. 1


100 .1


100. 1








Number of NGOs







Missing data







North America







Northern Europe


11. 3



9. 3


EEC group







*Number of individual representation

The regions in Table 6 are defined as follows:

The figure drops considerably from 1951 to 1966, but this is in large part due to the increasing number of nations in some of the other regions The number of nations now seems to have reached its saturation point, and we therefore expect less reduction of the Northwestern bias in the future unless there is a conscious attempt to change this.

On the basis of other data regarding the site of headquarters, the nationality of INGO officers and the like, it is safe to conclude that the higher the level in the organisational structure at which involvement takes place, the larger is the percentage of Northwest representation Moreover, the higher the organisational le\el, the more slowly the percentage of Northwest representation diminishes Thus the INGO system is to a large extent, but certainly not exclusively, a Northwest dominated system

C. The Structure and Functions of INGOs

Because INGOs are so varied in size and composition and operate in so many different issue areas, it is difficult to summarise their features in a few words We shall first try to describe what immediately meets the eye, the upper part of the iceberg, and then examine the submerged problem of their latent functions and importance for other types of social factor Finally we shall discuss the role of INGOs in relation to certain problem areas

a. Membership composition The composition of the membership of INGOs vanes tremendously from organisation to organisation It may consist of individuals, national organisations, governmental agencies or their officers, national branches, business enterprises, international regional groupings of organisations, international universal organisations, or any mixture of these There are presently approximately a hundred INGOs which partly or exclusively have other INGOs as members Needless to say, the size of the membership also vanes appreciably The International Committee of Food Science and Technology consists of 28 individuals while the International Cooperative Alliance is made up of more than 600000 cooperative societies whose membership totals 224000000 people Only three nations can boast of a larger population Other populous ingos are The League of Red Cross Societies with 214 million individual members in 110 countries, the World Federation of Trade Unions with 138 million individuals in fifty countries, and the World Federation of Democratic Youth, with 101 million members in 115 countries

b. Activities of INGOs One of the most important objectives of almost any ingo is to coordinate the activities of its members whether they are individuals or organisations in one form or another Most international secretariats have little formal regulatory power, so the coordination usually takes the form of suggestions, exchange of views and information, and bargaining during organisational meetings Exchange of information is also an important function in itself An organisation frequently serves as a clearing house between its members for the sector which the INGO has competence Some of them publish reference works, others compile bibliographical and documentation material Scientific INGOs frequently administer the exchange of scientific data A large proportion of all INGOs have their own periodicals which keep their members and other persons concerned informed about the state of affairs between their general conferences On an average, such general meetings are held every second year while the executive boards meet more frequently, usually once or twice a year

A few INGOs not only try to coordinate and encourage research among their members, but are also actively engaged in research projects themselves Direct INGO involvement in projects has certain advantages when the research includes cross national comparisons A related pair of functions is education and training A large number of INGOs organise exchanges of scholars and students An important part of the programme of the World Crafts Council, for instance, is to exchange apprentice and artists INGOs also frequently provide opportunities for "on the job training" in connection with development aid programmes Some of these programmes include education and training of the local population

With respect to development aid, it is too often forgotten that national and international private nonprofit organisations and volunteers make a very substantial contribution to development The Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development estimated that aid resources handled by nonprofit bodies exceed US $1 billion annually of which at least S700 million ($840 million in 1970) is raised from private resources (excluding foundations and missionary societies) For a comparison of aid flows to developing countries see Table 7 In 1968, some 25000 people from developed countries were working as volunteers in the low income countries This figure had increased fivefold in six years and was then equivalent to nearly a quarter of all technical assistance personnel serving abroad under official programmes [22].

Table 7 Selection of Data on Channels of Aid Disbursement ($US) to Developing Countries
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Development Assistance Committee 'Development Assistance, efforts and policies of the membersof the DAC' Pans, OECD, 1971
1 Official development assistance to LDCs and multilateral agencies $6315 3 million (1968) $68080 million (1970)
2 Bilateral technical assistance grants to LDCs $1527 9 million (1968), $1511 0 million (1970)
3 Gross disbursements by multilateral agencies in LDCs $1581 million (1968) $2091 0 million (1970)
4 Total net flow of multilateral finance to developing countries $877 million (1967) $1512 0 million (1970)
5 Gross disbursements by UN Institutions (excluding IBRD, IDA, IFC) to LDCs $346 million (1968) $415 0 million (1970)

6 Total aid resources raised by nongovernmental nonprofit bodies from private sources' $840 million (1970) [Excluding purely missionary activities (The tentative estimates for earlier years are $620 million (1969), $560 million (1968)) This figure does not include nongovernmental aid to intergovernmental bodies, eg up to 30% of UNICEF's budget]

A limited number of organisations have specialised in training courses for diplomats and other civil servants dealing with international politics. Finally it should be stressed that INGOs educate a large section of the general public through their branches This is done in study groups, at meetings, and conferences, and in a number of other ways, as is well known

The establishment and revision of technical standards is another activity of some INGOs The need for standardisation of technical equipment and measurement has been one of the driving forces behind the growth of international organisation over the past hundred years and it has the side effect of easing transnational communication in other areas A related activity is the elaboration of professional and ethical codes and norms of operation The World Medical Association, for example, is concerned with the ethics of medical doctors

INGOs have often been described as international pressure groups, and this is perhaps the part of their activity that the political scientist will be most interested in INGOs may focus on many different kinds of targets in order to promote their interest Sometimes they try, to influence national governments but our impression is that this is practically always done through members in the respective countries On the other hand, intergovernmental organisations (INGOs) are usually approached directly (sometimes on invitation) but there are instances in which INGOs have tried to influence the decision of an IGO by asking their national branches to exert influence on the respective governments This latter approach seems more practical when an INGO tries to influence the content of an intergovernmental convention Multinational business enterprises constitute another target of the political activities of some INGOs They are of particular concern to international trade unions and consumer organisations, but other ingos with a general interest in peace and development have also become aware of the mounting power of international business [23]. Finally, many INGOs try to influence the mass media This is, of course, the case for most of those who seek mass support, but several limited membership organisations also wish to have their message distributed to a larger audience or to draw attention to specific problems This may be done, for instance, in connection with the visit of a secretary general or a president to a national branch or local group

Related to the pressure group activities is the consultative function many INGOs are performing, particularly vis-a-vis the United Nations, some of its specialised agencies, the Council of Europe and the OAS About twenty per cent of all INGOs are formally given consultative status with one or more of these IGOs Some of the problems involved in this relationship will be discussed below INGOs often serve as channels of information complementary to those of conventional diplomacy. Many organisations have good contacts and recruit members from the 'grass roots' level, and they are less subject to short term political considerations This information may, of course, be used both positively and negatively

In addition to serving as information channels, INGOs also serve as recruitment channels In response to a questionnaire, about five per cent of the secretary generals who had made up their plans for future employment, said that they expected to serve in IGOs Others will be involved to a varying extent in international programmes, sometimes serving in developing countries Experience from INGOs, is supposedly, useful for national civil servants who, to a smaller or greater extent, become involved in international cooperation on the governmental level

Parallel to the recruitment function is the participation function of INGOs [24]. They make it possible for persons other than diplomats and high ranking civil servants to participate in international affairs (in the broadest sense of that term) It is true that a stable leadership in member organisations of INGOs often monopolises the international contacts so that it should be possible to increase the degree of participation by such means as greater rotation of personnel in delegations to conferences

Although social clubs (perhaps unwisely) are excluded from inventories of INGOs, there still remains a number of organisations that has value expression as one of their most important functions Value expression is also a significant by-product of the activities of many others An example of an organisation in which comradeship is particularly evident, is the International Association of Skal Clubs An explicit objective of many INGOs is to increase international under standing This is done in a number of ways, of which increased participation is one of the more important ones Other means such as information dissemination and exchange programmes have been discussed above Some INGOs are mainly protective, that is, they try to defend the interests of their members The protective element may be strong in INGOs made up of minority groups (the Celtic League) or exile organisations

Another INGO activity which deserves mention is the continuing attempt to integrate and formulate member concerns both for their own internal purposes and for third parties This process goes on in all kinds of organisations, but one should pay special attention to it on the international level because, in addition to all ordinary causes of disagreement, there may be differences of opinion on the basis of loyalty to different nation states For a number of reasons nongovernmental organisations are often able to respond quickly to new needs created by changes in the environment (breakthroughs in technology, natural disasters, etc) or by changes of policies or quality of services provided by government and business, either prior to an awareness of the need in government or business, or after their programmes have terminated or deteriorated INGOs can therefore perform the function of 'lookout' institutions for society In this manner INGOs can serve as functional equivalents or substitutes for other actors

Finally we want to mention that some INGOs see it as their duty to make relevant and interpret international programmes to national members or special constituencies This is one way support for international programmes is mobilized. The above presentation of INGO activities and goals is by no means exhaustive although we think we have covered most of the essential features

INGOs, their actual and potential impact International nongovernmental organisa- tions mean different things to different people They are therefore called by different names and there is a lack of awareness of them as a class, as a whole In this section we shall discuss the relevance of INGOs first to different classes of actors, and second, to different problem areas

INGOs, functional for whom and in which way? At the present time, and partly due to the lack of an elaborated interorganisational conceptual framework, too few INGOs perceive themselves as part of a network of actors (other than in the metaphysical sense used when referring to the 'international community') This network of organisations is constantly changing and evolving as different parts of it perceive and respond to new problems Subnetworks of INGOs (perhaps in combination with non INGOs) with a special interest in common come into existence for a period of joint action and are implicitly mandated to meet the challenge A given INGO may be participating, terminating or commencing participation in any number of such partial networks [25]

The lack of a network perception leads INGOs to be less functional for each other than they could be There are, nevertheless, groups of international nongovernmental organisations that cooperate rather effectively with each other, particularly when they have a strong interest in the same relatively limited problem area such as care for the handicapped and training of social workers INGOs with very different objectives also sometimes cooperate in order to promote the interests of INGOs as a class and to improve their status in the international system This seems to be one of the main functions of the conferences of INGOs in consultative status with ECOSOC and UNESCO

The functions of INGOs for their members are manifold, but to a large extent these have already been covered above To the IGOs, the INGOs are of importance in three respects Firstly, INGOs provide pools of competence on which IGOs can draw in the execution of specialised projects This is recognised in the consultative relationship INGO information may be more detailed over longer periods of time or information, which does not enter governmental channels for political reasons, may be collected by INGOs which are thus able to detect problems long before there is any trace of them in the ordinary information channels of IGOs A good example is the whole environment issue, of which aspects have been for many years the major concern of the following

The United Nations is taking action on this issue following the UN Human Environment Conference

Secondly, INGOs may carry out projects for IGOs under contract or carry on programmes which would otherwise have to be performed by IGOs (Unfor- tunately, the current tendency is for an IGO to assess an INGO in terms of whether it contributes to the IGOs programmes rather than in terms of its effectiveness in tackling the problems the IGO and ingo have in common, in short, the INGOs are seen as satellites of the IGO) Thirdly, INGOs represent an extremely useful channel by which IGOs can influence special sectors of the public to support IGO programmes, for example, to create the political will to support development programmes This leads some IGO officials to treat and assess INGOs as a new media to disseminate the current IGO message A fourth unrecognized function of interest to IGOs with social development programmes, is the extent to which increase in INGO activity in itself is a form of social development-to the extent that social development may be interpreted as the complexification of the organisation of a society in terms of number, variety and interlinkages

The way in which INGOs are relevant for national governments depends not only on the nature of the INGOs involved, but also on the kind of national government As in the case of IGOs, INGOs can provide the governmental sector with specialized opinion and technical information, and this will be particularly welcome when the government concerned does not have adequate expertise in a particular area Furthermore, ingos may channel funds, technical and other forms of assistance to governments, and this may be especially important when other national governments are, for political reasons, debarred from assisting

What are the functions of INGOs visa-vis multinational business enterprises? We have already mentioned that there are international consumer associations, and we expect these to play an increasingly important role in line with the growing consciousness of consumers in many countries They may serve as effective checks on these international manufacturing and service organisations that up to now have had the opportunity to 'divide and rule' with respect to their scattered markets and sites of operation International trade unions provide another kind of check on international business, although, according to some observers, they are not as effective as they could be A difficult problem is, for instance, the tendency of multinational enterprises to exploit wage differences between countries in such a way that workers in high-pay and low pay countries may find it difficult to formulate a common policy In addition, several other INGOs which cannot be classified as trade unions and consumer organisations, are relevant for multinational business Together they represent large segments of actual or potential markets and thereby provide channels of information about products, advertising, and buyers' reaction to this (The international motor organisations wittingly or unwittingly performs these functions vis a vis the international automobile industry)

The ingos themselves constitute an important market and have a significant effect on the tourism industry through the many widely dispersed international meetings to which they give rise [26]. Their presence in a country, or that of IGO offices for that matter, is not a drain on the host country, as used to be thought, but a minor source of foreign currency The economic side effects of the presence of many international bodies may, however, be extremely important in terms of, for example, use of the country's airline, hotel accommodation of incoming visitors, tendency to organise meetings in cities with many similar institutions, use of local services (printing, etc) In small cities like Geneva and Brussels with relatively large numbers of foreign personnel, their internationalizing impact on the society may be quite significant Brussels is unique as a host to major headquarters or regional offices of INGOs, and multinational corporations

To the extent that multinational corporations take a significant interest in their social and environmental context and the social consequences of their activities, INGOs can provide an appropriate channel for application of the resources (skills, communications channels, contacts, funding, etc) of multinationals to social problems [27]. This opportunity may prove increasingly significant for multinationals, given the growing business career disillusionment of the young elites from which they attempt to recruit personnel for key positions

A very important function of some INGOs is to be mechanisms for interaction and protection of competing businesses The International Air Transport Associa- tion (IATA) is a prominent representative of this category of INGOs, but there are many others They work out standards, defend their common interests vis-a-vis governments, IGOs and the general public, and regulate competition Multinational enterprises sometimes become members, directly, but the usual practice is for their subsidiaries to join It is very interesting that some of these INGOs serve as arbitrators in conflicts between business enterprises on the national and inter- national level. An example of such an organisation is the Inter-American Commercial Arbitration Commission. In addition many of these organisations develop expertise and sponsor research that is utilised by their members, that is, business corporations International professional organisations also possess specialised knowledge that is used in business Furthermore, the professional organisations, together with the international trade unions, serve as vehicles for multinational employee concern International nongovernmental organisations perform many functions that are very valuable to academics We mentioned above their coordinating activities, research activities and information dissemination The primary purpose of a large proportion of INGOs is simply to serve as communication channels between scholars Furthermore, scientific ingos provide academics with a channel through which they can make their research conclusions known to government, both on the national and on the international level Finally, INGOs provide scholars with a means of formalising the many 'invisible colleges' [28], scientific milieux, and thus contribute to the universalisation of science

Next we want to consider what INGOs do for underprivileged persons The organisations working in this area seem to be very responsive to any form of discrimination, social injustice or physical deprivation However, one side-effect of the very existence of these organisations, regardless of which issue area they are particularly concerned with, is to perpetuate a more or less elitist system insofar as they provide unequal status opportunities for those involved If more thought was given to new forms of INGOs, this side effect could possibly be counteracted Finally, INGOs contribute to the degree of pluralism in world society by providing isolated and special interest persons and specialists with a vehicle through which they can facilitate the information and furtherance of their activities (A quick glance through any compilation of names of INGOs will convince the reader that some of the interests are quite off beat)

D. INGOs and World Problems

The importance of INGOs depends, of course, to a large extent on the degree to which they can contribute to the solution of grave world problems There are, as we know, many of these, but the overriding one seems to be the absence of peace

Like Galtung, we conceive of peace as the absence of violence, of which there are two sorts [29]. First, there is personal violence which becomes manifest when person A physically hurts person B (for instance, by shooting him during a battle) Second, there is structural violence which is analogous to exploitation and social injustice This kind of violence usually occurs in a social structure which is set up in such a way that some people become rich (in terms of life expectancy, income, education, individual freedom and what not) and other people remain or become poor This relationship may or may not be realised by the members of such a social structure The net result of both kinds of violence is a reduced quality of life and/or shorter life expectancy due to untimely deaths

INGOs can and do contribute to the reduction of violence in two different ways [30]. They can take direct action aimed at preventing war and reducing social injustice, and they can contribute to both ends by their mere existence without any deliberate efforts to promote peace Given the two different kinds of violence, this leaves us with four distinct ways in which INGOs contribute to peace

Other problems INGOs are also important to society in the process by which new values are generated by the emergence of new problems and in the process by which society debates which problems are of overriding importance They also keep a watchful eye on other potentially significant problems INGOs clamour for social recognition of the (often obscure) problems around which they were created It is in this respect that they appear to perform a function for the psycho social system analogous to aspects of population dynamics, which maintains the variety of a gene pool and thus provides the best guarantee of racial survival Efforts by any one organisation to coordinate other bodies to force them to subscribe to a particular value system, or to force them into any position of dependence for needed resources, information or recognition lead to a reduction in variety These need to be carefully assessed for patterns of structural violence carried over with elitist imperialist thinking habits

Ignorance about INGOs and other Problems In this section we shall first deal with the problems arising from the wide spread ignorance about INGOs which is to the detriment not only of the nongovernmental organisations themselves, but also to those persons and institutions who are unable to benefit from the services INGOs provide Then follows adiscussion of some other problems of INGOs not directly related to ignorance about them

Ignorance about INGOs and its consequences The general neglect of INGOs takes many forms Starting with the legal ignorance, we observe that INGOs are practically excluded from consideration in international law because of their lack of de jure status [33] despite the fact that they are well established de facto Although apparently trivial, this lack of legal status is sufficient to convince wide segments of society, particularly governments, that INGOs do not exist-thus blinding govern- ments to their social significance In effect, INGOs are forced to function as international 'outlaws', and this weakens their ability to interact effectively with many official bodies It also creates many kinds of practical problems in connection with taxation, recruitment, status of personnel, receipt and transfer of funds, and the like

Secondly, there is scholarly ignorance We have to admit that there is a regrettable tendency to exclude INGOs from 'systematic' analyses of the international system and from comparative studies of organisations [34]. This leads to over simplified typologies of actors in the international system and possible forms of organisation, both of which in turn result in poor awareness of organizational ecology Another consequence is insensitive predictions about the future of world society and the construction of unrealistic models for the same future The same ignorance shows up in the poor education of students and briefing of government delegates and administrators as well as in the biased coverage of text books [35]. If INGOs are at all mentioned, the emphasis tends to be on isolated organisations or categories of organisations without recognising the many inter organisational relationships in the ingo network and to the IGO network In the case of applied research with policy implications, such as some peace research, there is, with a few notable exceptions, little awareness of the potentialities of the INGO system as an agent for change In many countries there is a tendency not to make use of national NGOs in governmental programmes and thus to avoid using the international contacts provided by the related INGO system This leads to inefficient use and development of available organisational resources

Many IGOs give some kind of official recognition to INGOs, but the recognition is extended only to a small proportion of the international nongovernmental organisations and usually on a bilateral basis For administrative purposes IGOs tend to ignore the network of INGOs as a phenomenon of the social system they are trying to develop and instead treat a select group of INGOs as an administrative problem In particular IGOs are shortsighted in their desire to monopolize competence in certain areas thus placing an unnecessary strain on their own administration and budget instead of seeking to delegate programme activity to the competent part of the INGO network where resources and support may be more readily available Indeed, the fundamental problem for IGOs is to define an area of competence for INGOs without destroying their sense of commitment and thus depriving society of valuable organisational resources However, the tendency of IGOs to give a shallow recognition to a small proportion of the INGOs leads to a kind of divide and rule strategy which means that the INGO system is fragmentized and polarized around a few IGO agencies At the same time, IGOs perceive INGOs as satellites and query the relevance of many aspects of their programmes which do not directly reflect or support the current short term political interests of the intergovernmental agency. We have tried to summarise our arguments in Table 8

Table 8: Map of interconnected problems around the relationship
between inter- governmental agencies and international associations (ngos).
(Reproduced from Mapping World Problems a technique illustrated by relations between IGOs and INGOs, 1972)
Map of relationships between INGOs and IGOs

Other Problems of INGOs It is often difficult for INGOs to stimulate interest on the part of members via regional and national branches, particularly interest in international activity There seems to be a tendency for some leaders on the national level to monopolize international contacts, or to fail to relate international cooperation to the activities and problems of rank and file members As a corollary, it is difficult to persuade national organisations to allocate significant resources to international activity The focus of action tends to be at the national level

Another problem some INGOs struggle with is the incompatibility of national members In different social systems functional equivalents of national organisa- tions may have different relationships to governments particularly with regard to the degree of governmental control, funding and staffing National sections in different countries may perform ranges of functions that only partially overlap such that the non overlapping features tend to result in suspicion and incompatibilities which probably lead some governments to hesitate in facilitating interaction between their national organisations and the equivalent INGOs In particular, in some non Western cultures there may be difficulty in locating organisational forms natural to that culture which could relate to a given INGO [36]. There may be resentment of any imposition of a new Western style organisation, and a lack of any socio-anthropological skill to match very different styles of organisations, or to create or adapt an INGO appropriate to them Most INGOs require the same basic administrative services and facilities, but because of their restricted budgets, they are forced to use minimum facilities, which are often inadequate and insufficient Because of great sensitivity to their independence and autonomy of their programme, they are reluctant to pool services and facilities in order to increase the efficiency of their administrative operations This is partly due to an inability to distinguish between the objectives of the organisation and the facilities and professional skills required to achieve them

Because of a combination of factors, INGOs individually or in small groups tend to think of themselves as operating in an international vacuum They are often surprised to find other organisations with similar programmes or whose programmes are in some way affected by their own There is, at present, no method to determine and set up the most appropriate inter organisational contacts Because of a narrow conception of socio economic development in which social' is restricted to factors contributing to 'economic' growth, IGOs, and particularly the UN system, accept isolated INGOs as instrumental to development without being able to respond to the network of INGOs as a feature in itself, a new stage of psycho social development Consequently IGOs do not seek to improve the functioning of the INGO network independent of immediate governmental concerns, thus relegating INGOs to a form of 'third world' status vis a vis governmental and business organisations

In conclusion, the nature of the problems to which INGOs are exposed places them in a vicious circle, in that the problems force them into a state of progressively greater inefficiency, preventing them from getting off the ground operationally The inefficiency is seen as justifying the non-participative policies of intergovernmental organisations which in effect contribute directly to the inefficiency of the network The IGOs are then, as in the case of UN development programmes, surprised to be faced With the seemingly unrelated problem of public apathy and lack of'political will' for development [37].

E. Probable Future Trends

See note [38]

Increasingly rapid organisational creation, evolution, adaptation, and dissolution is to be expected with rapid membership turnover and constantly changing patterns of inter organisational interaction, including splits and mergers The rate at which people or organisational units link together in response to newly perceived problems will increase This will be facilitated by improvements in communication technology Some information systems may even be deliberately designed to bring increasingly improbable combinations of bodies into the same organisation on very specific issues for very limited periods [39].

New styles of INGO may arise as a result of contacts between the mixed government voluntary sector organisations encountered in many socialist and Third World countries and the intersect organisations in the West The influence of the position of the People's Republic of China in the debate on INGOs within the United Nations may prove to be particularly significant in this respect Disillusion ment with coordinating 'umbrella' and other inter agency organisational mech- anisms will lead to more sophisticated use of information systems to link organisations and by pass the behavioural and 'territorial' problems of 'super INGOs' to the point of substituting for many of the functions performed by them

The difficulty for society to organise itself in advance in preparation for unknown problems which no existing official body is mandated to recognise, will lead to greater recognition of dependence on the network of nongovernmental bodies as 'lookout' and 'first aid' institutions before the problem is politically respectable It will be recognised that the network will 'generate' organisational forms appropriate to the problem The option of channelling project funds through the most appropriate body under the circumstances, whether it be governmental business, academic, or nongovernmental will gam greater acceptance The organisation of response to a problem will become much more complex as many interdependent channels in the network are used

The effectiveness of INGOs will come under increasing criticism and new, more sensitive, criteria for evaluating their performance and significance will be developed (One possibility is the development of a variety of organisational indicators, similar to corporation stock indicators, to show the utility of contribution through a particular nonprofit body ) The number of regional INGOs will increase It is also probable that the number of INGOs formed from sub national level NGOs will increase as the fragmentation of the nation state becomes a social reality The territorial basis of representation will become less significant It will increasingly be recognized that INGOs and voluntary organisations constitute a participative, possibly part time, career opportunity and a viable alternative to the frequently alienating and dehumanizing environments of the government and business sectors This recognition by young people will be accompanied by a rejection of bureaucratic INGOs and the adaption in some cases of a new style of operation, which may have more of the features of movements and, possibly, networks of communes This is also a central notion in Mitrany's thought

Conclusions and Recommendations

The number of INGOs is growing, and they are expanding in terms of geographical representation and functional scope Whilst the INGOs, directly or through their members, constitute an extremely useful group of actors in some respects, their full contribution to the global social processes can only be achieved if the development of the INGO network is stimulated along certain lines to correct for imbalance, side effects and inadequate utilisation A number of policy recommendations in this direction are listed below

  1. The degree of organisational interlinkage would seem to preclude simplistic analysis of organisations as isolated entities Furthermore, the network of INGOs is constantly evolving in response to new insights, possibilities, and problems It is therefore less the pattern at any one moment which should be the focus of concern and much more the pattern forming potential of organisational subunits and active individuals

  2. To handle the problems associated with the catchall category of INGOs, the goal should be to map organisation in its broadest sense, namely as composed of relatively invarient entities The entity is in fact a pattern of relationships, subject to change, but recognisably extended in time The cutoff point, below which the duration of a pattern is considered too ephemeral, should be dependent upon data collection ability rather than preconceived models This way of regarding the objects of attention in society helps to resolve the dichotomy between the individual and society and many other pseudo problems resulting from the tendency, built into language, to regard entities as 'things' rather than systematically related sequences of events [40].
    This 'loose' approach can be achieved by handling the entities and relationships as networks which can be processed and represented using graph theory techniques [41]. In effect, a non quantitative topological structure of the psycho social system is built up, to which dynamic and quantitative significance can be added as and when appropriate data becomes available

  3. Greater effort should be made to map out transnational networks (possibly by a succession of overlapping surveys) so that organisations can see their direct and indirect relationships to one another-and also such that second and higher order patterns of dominance can be detected (Interorganisational maps should have the same status and accessibility as road maps in order that people can navigate more effectively through the social system )

  4. The degree of possible functional substitution between different styles of organisation suggests that great care is required when establishing categories for the purposes of analysis, programme elaboration or legislation There is in fact a need for greater understanding of organisational networks as ecosystems, such that the function of a significant, but seemingly insignificant, body in a communication web can be made apparent
    A greater tolerance of the variety of organisational species is required and of the manner in which particular types are more appropriate under given conditions (It is perhaps appropriate to note that botanists and zoologists recognise around one million plants and animals respectively-whereas a sociologist might be said to recognize around one hundred types of collectivity ) A taxonomy and a new 'Origin of Species' is required to knot together this variety into an evolving psycho social system

  5. Greater stress should be placed on the network of nongovernmental nonprofit bodies as a social phenomenon rather than as an administrative or political problem for government The degree of organisation of a society is one measure of its social development The number and variety of organisations or office holders per capita is a measure of the participative opportunity or socializing potential of that society Data on INGOs and their national counterparts could therefore constitute an important social indicator for development policy making and should have a status equivalent to that of economic units of society (As things stand, no systematic data collection on organisations between the national and local level is carried out ) [42].

  6. Nongovernmental, nonprofit bodies pose a special problem for countries in the early stages of social development, since, as with the two party system, they appear to constitute a threat to the stability of the government in power and are therefore the subject of suspicion if permitted to exist Further study is required of the areas in which the different styles of INGOs can usefully function, at different stages of development, without constituting a rallying point for premature dissent This should help to determine at what stage, and under what conditions, the (more suspect) link to an INGO becomes appropriate

  7. Besides the functions performed for their special constituencies, INGOs in a network perform functions for one another Further study is required of the manner in which control information should be elaborated and circulated to govern the action of a network of organisations in the absence of any prime controller (due to the continuing emergence of new problems configurations) or any single permanent objective

  8. The degree of interconnectedness and direct or indirect interdependence of organisations suggests that, where two organisational systems have common objectives or concerns, it is shortsighted and possibly counterproductive for the first system to request the second for assistance in the accomplishment of its own system objectives-and to ignore or disassociate itself from the second when it pursues the same objectives in a different manner Both systems should rather seek to improve their functioning as interdependent systems and ensure that their operations mesh effectively

  9. Any successful attempt by a particular organisation to mobilize all others in unquestioning support of its own programmes reduces the overall ability of the network of organisations to respond effectively to unforeseen problems Recommendations to 'regroup', 'reduce proliferation', or 'increase coordination', should be assessed against the need for variety The degree of fragmentation of organisational systems (whether governmental or nongovernmental) in part reflects the need for sufficient organisational frameworks through which active individuals can meaningfully participate in the social process The interlocking complexity of the nongovernmental sector may be considered a major insurance against undetected manipulation of social processes by elite groups-provided such bodies have sufficient freedom of action to fulfill their responsibility

  10. Means are required to achieve an optimum degree of organisational coordination consistent with the arguments just advanced, such as
    (a) Informal contact Provision of low rent office and meeting facilities (or other shared administrative services) in one centre within major cities, brings a variety of organisations with potentially related concerns into fruitful informal contact This increases their effectiveness, leads to working contacts where and when appropriate, provides the 'critical mass' required for mutual encouragement and outside recognition, and facilitates the conception and germination of new programmes It also provides the facilitative base for newly established bodies during their growth period The creation of such focal points for the mobilization of untapped social forces should be viewed as a priority for city and national governments (b) Information systems Bodies should be informed of each other's existence as soon as they are able to formulate a problem or interest in common Prior to entering into some direct relationship potential partners need to be conceived of as 'members' of a 'potential association' from which particular groupings gel as required by the problem configuration, and into which they dissolve when their objective is achieved Such a potential association could be given the necessary operational framework by substituting a form of information system or referral service for normally constituted membership organisations-thus avoiding admini- strative and political problems of 'recognition' and proof of 'relevance' Provision of low cost communication facilities (telephone, telex, datalink) between organisations in centres (see above) in different countries permits organisations to develop regional contacts more easily, to mesh their programmes more effectively with those of other bodies, to channel resources through the network more efficiently and rapidly in response to emergencies, and increases their ability to interact with their counterparts at the national level and with programmes in the field

  11. In order to reduce official hostility or indifference to INGOs in the future, steps should be taken to introduce material on nongovernmental action and its relation to social development into university curricula, diplomat training, and foreign service briefing sessions Intergovernmental organisations, particularly the UN Specialised Agencies, could usefully focus in their public information and personnel training programmes on their relationships with INGOs

  12. Specific legislation concerning the status of INGOs with headquarters or branches in a given country (possibly on the Belgian model) should be recommended to States via intergovernmental assemblies (This should take into account the apparently minor questions of status of 'alien' personnel, problems of double taxation, continuity of pension and social security rights for personnel moving between countries and organisations, which are the sine qua non of the effective professionalization of the INGO network )

  13. Steps should be taken to represent the case for an international convention to give an international legal status to INGOs-with due consideration for their responsibilities and rights As participants in the social process they have responsibilities for the well being of individuals, other bodies, and society as a whole, in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights-the principal responsibility is to make every effort to call attention to, or to counteract any errors of omission or commission in society which their special expertise enables them to detect Organisations should have certain rights for their protection in the exercise of their responsibilities

  14. INGOs (and IGOs) must recognise the existence and need for a wide range of styles of organisation, that is, the 'significance' of an INGO should be rated on a combination of many measures rather than on membership or budget Functional equivalents of Western type organisations should be recognised in other cultures, and social systems Allowances should be made for structural or constitutional incompatibilities between potential members Research is needed on the problems of decision making in multi cultural organisations

  15. Regional IGOs should facilitate the formation of regional INGOs according to the styles of organisation in the region IGO INGO contact mechanisms at the regional level should be developed In some issue areas super INGOs of regional INGOs should be encouraged when appropriate Efforts should also be made to increase the involvement of developing region INGOs or national bodies in multi region INGOs In particular communication links should be improved (see point 9), meetings should be rotated through developing region countries, or possibly travel expenses could be pooled so that everybody pays the same regardless of where he or she comes from

  16. It would be useful to consider the extent to which many INGOs and other bodies are 'non territorial actors', that is, actors for which the geographical or national representation is of minor importance to their action [43]. There is some possibility that such bodies may be sliding into a repetition of processes (structurally very similar to those encountered throughout the history of territorial conflict) with respect to what has been termed 'quasi territory', namely the sort of functional domain which each body defines and stakes out as its special field of concern-a domain whose boundary line is constantly called into question by changing societal conditions [44]. The stress in the future may be less on the problems of national interest coordination, which led to the formation of the United Nations, but increasingly on the problem of functional coordinations for which some equivalent global mechanism may eventually be evolved, possibly in part out of the existing INGO system, but certainly out of the three hundred to six hundred multinational corporations which it is expected will control much of the wealth of the Western world by the year 2000 Functional domains will be decreasingly fragmented by territorial preoccupations, but nation states will be increasingly fragmented by functional preoccupations In this sense the problems of co- ordination would seem to be the common root concern of international relations and the policy sciences


1. INGO is the accepted abbreviation in academic circles Intergovernmental system documents refer to NGOs avoiding any definition of international or any clear distinction between national and international NGOs The term is usually restricted to nonprofit bodies, in which case the profit making bodies are referred to as multinational corporations (MNCs) or business INGOs (BINGOs)

2. For example, in Arab countries or those with a Moslem culture, a common form or organisation for social development is the 'Waq' (mentioned in the Koran) which bears some resemblance to a Western religious fund or foundation It is not known whether any of these are 'international' Similarly, the family name and ancestral province association play an important role in and between countries with a Chinese population

3. Each new issue inspires a new configuration of bodies This has been discussed in connection with political party election machinery in Richard R Fagan Politics and Communication Little, Brown, 1966 (Chapter on the 'Components of Communication Networks') For a means of developing this technique, see Anthony Judge, New types of social entity, the role of the potential association International Associations 23, 1971.

4. Many United States trade unions are 'international' in the title, eg International Longshoremen's Association.

5. There is a movement to restrict 'international' to 'intergovernmental' and to refer to INGOs as transnational associations, see G P Speeckaert, Trans national ou International? International Associations, 24, 1972, 4, p.225 232 It has also been suggested that the word transnational should be reserved for international organisations with individual members only The term INGO would then apply to international organisations with national chapters, the structure of which is heavily influenced by the nation-state system, of Johan Galtung's forthcoming book on transnationalism and peace in the World Order Models series of the World Law Fund At present about 50 per cent of the INGOs in the Yearbook of International Associations permit individual membership only via national chapters In roughly 25 per cent of the cases individuals must be directly affiliated, and in the remaining 25 per cent of the organisations both types of affiliation are possible, of Kjell Skjelsbaek 'A Survey of International Nongovernmental Organisations,' unpublished paper, the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo, 1972

6. 'Any international organisation which is not established by intergovernmental agreement shall be considered as a nongovernmental organisation' (un ECOSOC Resolution 1296 (XLIV) June 1968) See discussion in G P Speeckaert ibid

7. Anthony Judge. Summary of the crises in inter-organisational relationships at the international level. International Associations, 24, 1972, 5, Also 'The UN System's ivory tower strategy,' in International Associations, 23, 1971, 1, p [text]

8. Kenneth E Boulding. Management of "intersect" institutions,' in Management in a Changing World (Papers sponsored by the Conference Board (usa) to be published at the end of 1972)

9. The United Nations, even through its Agencies concerned with trade, cannot recognise the existence of multinational business enterprises as INGOs because of the political sensitivity of profit making The exception is FAO through its FAO/lndustry Cooperative Programme on which multinationals are represented This embarrassment is in sharp contrast with OECD which has a Business and Industry Advisory Committee

10. For a broad definition of voluntary, see: David Horton Smith, et. al.'Types of voluntary action; a definitional essay', In: David Horton Smith (Ed.) Voluntary Action Research. Lexington, Lexington Books, 1972. (See also: Journal of Voluntary Action Research.)

11. Those 'recognised' by the United Nations acquire a measure of legal significance. There have also been attempts to extend the interpretation of the status of private persons in international law to cover collectivities. See: Université Catholique du Louvain. Premier collogue de Departement des Droits de l'Homme (1969); les droits de I'homme et les personnes morales. Bruxelles, Emils Bruylant, 1970.

12. Belgium is the only country to recognise and provide special legislation and facilities for ingos (Law of 25 October 1919 expanded by Law of 6 December 1954) which is one reason why 490 INGOs have offices there. Efforts are being made by the European Economic Commission to define a 'European Corporation' to which international trade unions will have a specially recognised relationship.

13. President's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice. Task Force Report: Organised Crime. Washington, us Government Printing Office, 1967. Note that profits to organised crime from gambling, loan sharking and narcotics (excluding infiltrated legitimate business and other operations) are probably in the region of $ 8 billion per year in the United States alone. One could perhaps also make the distinction between legality, in terms of laws and regulations, and legitimacy, in terms of moral codes. Some organisations and organisational activities may be legal, but not legitimate, and vice versa. Generally speaking, legal organisations are more visible than illegal ones.

14. Twenty-five per cent of the studies on international nongovernmental organisations listed in the International Political Science Bibliography over the past eight years are concerned with one organisation, the International Red Cross.

15. G. P. Speeckaert. Les associations momentanées d'organisations Internationales. International Associations, 23, 1971, 4, pp. 205-217.

16. G. M. Riegner. Consultative Status; recent developments and future prospects (11th General Conference of Nongovernmental Organisations in Consultative Status with Ecosoc). Geneva, 1969, 11/GC/22, pp. 2

17. 'Cross-modal' is a term used in psychology, to refer to the ability of an individual to handle and integrate several modes of sensation (sight, sound, etc.). It seems equally applicable to the degree of integration of different modes of organisation action.

18. 'The problem of the seventies will lie not so much within the organisation as between it and society. We shall have to look much more to the social and family life or organisations, at organisational marriage and divorce, at the children that organisations spawn. We shall begin to know organisations by the company they keep. The future, I think, will be social, political, inter- organisational.' Harold J. Leavitt, 'The Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow of Organisations.' European Business, Spring 1971, 29, pp. 28-33.

19. United Nations, ECOSOC. Arrangements for consultation with non- govern- mental organisations. E/RES/1296 (XLIV), 25 June 1968. Text and commentary reprinted in International Associations 20, 9, 1968, pp. 609-649.

20. Yearbook of International Organisations (19701971) Brussels, Union of International Associations, 1971, 1053 p

21. Kjell Skjelsbaek. Development of the systems of international organisations, a diachronic study IPRA Papers on Peace Reserach Proceedings of the Second International Peace Research Association General Conference Assen, Nether lands, Van Gocum, 1970; Kjell Skjelsbaek The growth of international nongovernmental organisations in the twentieth century International Organisation, 25, 3, 1971, p.420442

22. Lester B Pearson. Partners in Development; report on the Commission on International Development. Praeger, 1969, p.185-189

23. An example of the concern of trade unions is the action taken by the International Federation of Chemical and General Workers Union (icf) in 1969 The ICF coordinated the confrontation with the French multinational glass manufacturing company, Compagnie de Saint Gobain, by unions in the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Italy and the United States The confrontation dramatised a development which was taking place over a much wider front See Robert W Cox, 'Labor and Transnational Relations', Internationa! Organisation XXV, No 3 (1971), p.556557

24. Antony Jay. Corporation Man London, Jonathan Cape, 1972 (suggests that the tendency of bureaucracies to frustrate the formation of natural working groups (ten groups) leads to the enormous burgeoning of societies, professional associations, action committees and the like which provide the channel for the instinctively needed face to face purposeful group relationships, p. 58)

25. Donald Schon notes that the network of organisations is always out of phase with the reality of problems that people think are worth solving The problem is to reduce this mismatch by increasing the response time of the network (Donald Schon, Beyond the Stable State, public and private learning in a changing society London, Temple Smith, 1971)

26. Depending on assumptions annual non travel expenditure by participants at international conferences in 1971 is estimated at US $ 0 25-3 0 billion Travel expenditure is estimated at US $ 0 40-4 0 billion (It has been estimated that one per cent of air travel arrivals are for international meetings ) Investment in conference facilities in 1966 was $ 0 8 billion ($ 8 billion required by 1980) The number of participants travelling annually to international meetings is estimated at 2 million in 1971 (450 million in 1985) (Data at Union of International Associations. See also International Organisations and the Budgetary and Economic Aspects of their Congresses Brussels, UIA, 1971)

27 A group is currently forming in London to create an experimental INGO clearing body on which INGOs and MNCs would be represented This would act as an interface to permit INGOs to benefit from MNC skills and to permit the latter to elaborate non profit social programmes using INGO channels

28. The term 'invisible college' is applied to the informal networks of scholars with an interest in a particular topic on which they exchange reprints, comments, etc The network may be loose or very precisely defined but is vital to the research activity and professional standing of those concerned (For their relationship to INGOs, see Diana Crane Transnational networks in basic science International Organisation, 25, 1971, p p.585- 601)

29. Johan Galtung. Violence, Peace and Peace Research. Journal of Peace Research, VI, No 3(1969)

30. Kjell Skjelsbaek. Peace and International Organisations. Journal of Peace Research, IX, No 4(1972)

31. Our reasoning here is parallel to that of David Mitrany as expressed in his book A Working Peace System (Chicago Quardrangle Books, 1966) It should be noted however, that Mitrany primarily thought of IGOs, but we feel that his functionalist propositions are equally applicable to INGOs

32. Nils Petter Gleditsch. Interaction Patterns in the Middle East, Cooperation and Conflict, VI, No 1 (1971), and Kjell Skjelsbaek, 'The Representation of Divided Countries in International Nongovernmental Organisations' (Forth coming)

33. Typically a volume of 580 pages on 'international organisations' may contain a 12 line reference excluding INGOs in the following terms:

'Des associations revetant les formes d'une organisation Internationale peuvent être creee par des personnes de droit prive ou de droit public non etatique Mais, n'etant pas formees par les Etats, ce ne sont pas la des organisations Internationales au sens strict des termes ' (W J Ganshof van der Meersch. Organisations Europeennes Bruxelles, Emile Bruylant, 1966)

34. As an example, in justifying the exclusion of certain categories of organisations from an adequate data base on the global system, Michael Wallace and J David Singer make the following point 'First, our theoretical interests (and, we suspect, those of most of our colleagues) are more concerned with IGO's (intergovernmental organisations) than with nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) One can hardly urge that the amount of NGO is likely to be important in accounting for many of the theoretically interesting phenomena which occurred in the system of the past century or so ' Intergovernmental organisations in the Global System, 18151960, A Quantitative Description' International Organisation, 24, 2, Spring 1970, p.240) For some of the consequences of this attitude, see Chadwick F. Alger, 'Research on Research, a decade of quantitative and field research on international organisations' International Organ/sat/on, Summer 1970, p.414450 This study indicated that 66% of the studies were on the UN (28 bodies), 19% on the other IGO (201, possibly with the UN, 14% were on INGOs (2577), and 8% were on MNCs(2819) (Data on the numbers from the 1968 1969 edition of the Yearbook of International Organizations)

35. This general ignorance about INGOs is clearly reflected even in the deliberations of the ECOSOC subcommittee on NGOs, which, among other things, selects INGOs for consultative status

36. For example, it proved impossible to create a national professional body in the USSR to work on public administration, stimulated by membership of the International Institute of Administrative Sciences, because public admini- stration was not considered a science in the USSR

37. In reviewing the results of the United Nations first Development Decade (19601970), the Secretary General of UNCTAD stressed that the highest priority should be placed on the persuasion of public opinion and the creation of political will to avoid a second Development Decade of even deeper frustration The danger lies in the probability that the United Nations system public information programme (together with those of the national United Nations Associations) will lead the informed public, many decision makers, and UN officials to believe that the UN is doing all that can or need be done and has the attack on every world problem well coordinated This automatically devalues the activities of other bodies, reduces the allocation of resources and support to them, dampens initiative from the local and national level which is not channelled through governmental and UN channels, and effectively nullifies the type of constructive criticism which can lead to renewal of effort new approaches, and galvanization of the political will necessary to th< accomplishment of all internation (and UN) programme objectives

38. See also David Horton Smith. 'Future trends in voluntary action ' International Associations, 24, 2, 1972, pp.166-169

39. Anthony Judge. Wanted New Types of Social Entity. International Associations, 23, 3, 1971, p.148-170 Also 'Communication and International Organisations', International Associations, 22 2, 1970, p.67-69 [text]

40. See argument, also appropriate to social system entities, in David Bohn The Special Theory of Relativity New York, Benjamin, 1965, (Appendix on physics and perception)

41. See especially Norman J Schofield 'A topological model of international relations' (Paper presented at a conference of the Peace Research Society, International, London, 1971-to be published in the Papers of the Society)

42. As an indication of the amount of internationally unrecognized organisation activity on which the more visible INGOs are based, David Horton Smith estimates for the usa that there are from 30 to 100 voluntary associations per 1000 population in towns with less than 10000 (5 to 30 per 1000 for larger towns) giving approximately 5 million voluntary bodies for the USA as a whole ('Estimation of the total number of voluntary associations in the United States' Washington, D C, Center for a Voluntary Society, 1970, unpublished paper, preliminary investigation shows that similar per capital figures hold in European countries) An indication of the amount of ad hoc linkage represented by the meetings of such bodies is given by a study for the Social Work Advisory Service (London) It was found that those with offices held an average of 23 inside meetings per year of more than 10 people, and an average of 5 outside meetings per year of which SO per cent were for more than 200 people (A study into the feasibility of establishing an administrative centre for a group of voluntary organisations London, 1970, summarized in International Associations, 24, 1972, 3, p.155 157)

43. Johan Galtung. Non territorial actors and the problem of peace; Oslo, Paper of the International Peace Research Institute, 1969

44. 'I have found in the corporation something that I can explain only in territorial terms even though it is not strictly territorial It is a kind of territorial defense of role or job, and although it certainly operated within individuals, it is at its most powerful in groups "my department's responsibility", "my salesmen's area", "my union's job" The result is something I can only call a quasi territorial response, a defense of your means of livelihood calling upon territorial instincts but not precisely or exclusively territorial in its application' (Antony Jay. The Corporation Man, op. cit. p. 132)

creative commons license
this work is licenced under a creative commons licence.