AbstractsBusiness Management & Administration

The Role of Professional and Business Associations in Development of Civil Society in Russia

by Ekaterina Ivanova

Institution: Vienna University of Economics and Business
Year: 2015
Keywords: RVK QG 480, QR 400; Russland / Nonprofit-Organisation / Zivilgesellschaft
Record ID: 1031788
Full text PDF: http://epub.wu.ac.at/4484/1/Dissertation_Abgabe_Version_Final_Ivanova.pdf


It is generally assumed that the activities of associations based on voluntary membership not only are multi-faceted, but simultaneously contribute to societal, economic, and political spheres. This dissertation draws on an integrated theoretical framework of functions of nonprofit organizations, and then studies the composition of roles that professional and business associations (PBAs) play in Russia's transition to market economy. Moreover, a theoretical framework of environmental embeddedness of nonprofit organizations is applied to examine the forces that drive, as well as hinder, fulfillment of their missions. This study focuses on examination of the relative importance of the advocacy, community building, and service delivery functions fulfilled by business associations, intermediary unions, and liberal professional societies. Moreover, governance, public and political, and socio-economic factors are investigated to determine whether they drive or hinder successful achievement of PBAs' missions. The original empirical data, collected qualitatively from fifteen leading experts on associational activities, is triangulated with quantitative evaluations from 215 associations across Russia. Such an approach allows better interpretation both of the multiplicity of roles played by different types of associations, and of the forces driving and hindering their activities in a country in transition. The results show that the prevailing majority of the examined professional and business associations are multi-functional, simultaneously performing all three major functions. Advocacy is considered the most important function for all types of associations. The governance factors are deemed major drivers of accomplishment of associational missions, while public and political factors are regarded as an obstacle, undermining the potential of PBAs. The findings suggest that even though professional and business associations are not yet granted the status of an equal partner of the state, they manage to build constructive relations with the government by combining policy and public advocacy and relying on bonding community building activities. This study highlights the expressive, rather than service-oriented, character of organized civil society in Russia. (author's abstract)