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Ongoing project

Internal democracy of voluntary organisations

Changes in organisational structure and social inequality in management.This project is part of the Centre for Research on Civil Society and Voluntary Sector.

Project period 2021 - 2021
Project leader Karl Henrik Sivesind

Project Background

The internal democracy of the voluntary organisations is important both for the individual participant's experience and understanding of democracy, for the maintenance of a voluntary sector based on self-organisation and membership management, and for the social role of voluntary organisations. It is important that the organisations' internal democracy gives members the right to govern, access and participate in opinion formation and decision-making processes. It presupposes suitable organisational structure, but also that the social differences in governance and management, such as gender, age, education and finances, are not too great.

Project Aim

This project will analyse changes in both organisational structures and social inequality in governance and management in the voluntary organisations.

Research question

  • What changes have taken place in the democratic structures and activities of voluntary organisations?
  • What changes have taken place in the social background of leaders and board members of NGOs?
  • What causal relationships explain changes in voluntary organisations' internal democracy? What measures could possibly be implemented to counteract unwanted changes?

Project Approach

The data are organisational studies by local and national volunteer organisations regarding changes in democratic structures and processes. In order to make better analyses of changes in social inequality, data on the social background of leaders and board members will be collected in organisations registered in the Volunteer Register by linking it to the "A-ordning scheme", a coordinated service used by employers to report information about income and employees to the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration, Statistics Norway and the Norwegian Tax Administration. This is done by applying Statistics Norway's micro for lending microdata to put together an anonymised data set that is borrowed for analysis for a limited period.


Daniel Arnesen PhD Research Fellow +47 415 57 586 Send e-mail
Karl Henrik Sivesind Dr. polit. Research Professor +47 997 06 127 Send e-mail
Tags: Civil Society
Published June 23, 2020 9:53 AM - Last modified June 30, 2020 12:13 PM