NIKOLAS HASANAGAS, ALEJANDRA REAL
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Institute of Forest Policy and Nature Conservation, Germany
External consulting improves legitimisation of board decisions, fundraising, and innovation in private organisations involved in rural environment issues. External consultants are expected to be more effective than internal expert groups in these functions. We argue that the external consultants serve as a quite effective bridge between an organisation (e.g. environmental NGO, industry federation or landowner association) and its institutional, social and economic environment. Thus organisations are advised to complete the employing of permanent internal expert groups with flexible external consulting. The quantitative findings are based on a survey carried out in 2002-3. Theoretical assumptions of Management Sociology (regarding legitimisation) and Organisational Sociology (resource dependence theory regarding fundraising and innovation) are employed in order to explain the results. We also argue that fundraising and innovation mutually favour each other, while both of them favour legitimisation of internal decision-making in high-centralised organisations.
High-centralised is an organisation when it has many members, small board with long term of office, rarely calls general meeting of all the members, and when in this meeting only a few members participate. Fundraising has been operationalised as the number of alternative financing sources that an organisation may use (national governmental programs, international governmental programs, sponsorships, occasional donators, capital investments). Innovation has been here plainly defined as the number of new projects in which an organisation was involved in the last two years. An innovative organisation opens up various resources in its environment like new partnerships and contacts that lead to greater resonance in the social and/or institutional environment of the organisation, and new fundraising sources (economic environment). All these social, institutional and economic resources can in turn make the organisation more innovative and further improve the legitimisation of its internal decision-making even under conditions of high centralisation, as long as the members recognise the board as effective.
Keywords: Consulting, environment of the organisation, organisation, resources