Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Understanding the role of environmental non-governmental organizations within the federal fishery management council process
by Read, Alesia Noelle, Ph.D., University of New Hampshire, 2013, 292; 3579688
Abstract (Summary)

Millions of dollars are spent each year by environmental Non-governmental Organizations (ENGOs) aiming to influence public policy in the United States. Many of these ENGOs allocate significant resources toward federal fisheries management initiatives. Little academic research has focused on how these organizations impact federal fisheries policy making. Given the significant amount of resources spent by these organizations within fisheries management council activities and the unclear understanding of their impact, this research sheds light on how they operate within this context. Specifically, this research builds a better understanding of the role of ENGOs within the U.S. federal fishery management council (Council) process by systematically analyzing data about what ENGOs do in order to make inferences about why and what difference they make.

Concepts from organizational and public administration theory, influence and power literature are used to build a conceptual framework to guide research inquiry into the role of ENGOs within the Council process. Transcripts from six years of Council meetings and participant interviews are the primary data sources for this research. In Phase I, a content analysis of meeting transcripts was conducted to discover the suite of organizational behaviors used by ENGOs within this context. Observed ENGO behaviors were then categorized into five analytically defined roles, including monitor, liaison, advocate, cooperator, and advisor. In Phase II, interviews of ENGO staff and a variety of Council stakeholder participants were conducted. These two datasets were used to triangulate findings on ENGO behaviors and roles served. Continuous refinement of the conceptual framework yielded the discovery of three controlling factors that enable ENGO role availability. These three factors include understanding 1. The collective identity of the Council process, 2. How to leverage social power, and 3. How to establish legitimacy. Exploring the dynamics among these factors provides a better understanding of ENGO behavior. More broadly, these findings can be used by ENGOs, and other stakeholder groups, to increase efficiency and effectiveness in organizational operation while engaging in complex natural resource decision-making processes. These results are important to natural resource managers and practitioners aiming to participate in budget-constrained, complex, and often-contentious policy making environments.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Safford, Thomas G.
School: University of New Hampshire
School Location: United States -- New Hampshire
Source: DAI-B 75/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Natural Resource Management, Public administration, Organizational behavior
Keywords: ENGO, Fisheries management, Influence, Legitimacy, Organizational theory, Social power
Publication Number: 3579688
ISBN: 978-1-303-79006-5
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