Governance Models of Nonprofit Organisations

Despite its academic and empirical interest, the theme of governance of nonprofit organisations has seldom been studied in French research (Mayaux 1996; Boncler, 2006) or in the French sporting federations (Bayle, 2001, 2010 and Arcioni, 2007, 2009, 2010). Mayaux, Bayle and Arcioni sought to reveal the forms, malpractices and types of governance. Boncler proposed to focus on the concepts of the “dual government of associations” and “association project”[1], Valeau (2003) highlighted the importance of the concept of value for an association[2] and the interests of the concept of governance for stakeholders (and the proposal of their involvement in the Board of Directors).

Conversely, the studies carried out the rest of the world regarding NPOs have been more numerous including a wealth of information since the 1990s (eg. Heimovics & Herman, 1991; Adams & Perlmutter, 1995, Green & Griesinger, 1996; Carver, 1997; Chait and al. 2004). There are also some specific studies applied to sport NPOs (Papadimitriou, 1999 regarding the effectiveness of Boards of Directors in the Greek sports federations; Hums & MacLean, 2004, and the review work done by Hoye & Cuskelly, 2006). But most of the work in the field of sport has focused more on the governance of the sport system (cf. the Olympic system: the studies by JL. Chappelet, 1991; Chappelet et al. 2006; Caiger & Gardiner 2000; Katwala 2000; Chaker 2004; EOC & FIA 2001) and very little research on organisational governance.

According to Hoye, R. et al. (2005), three generic models of governance of NPOs have been described in the literature: the traditional model defined by Houle (1997), the model of governance related to “policies” (“Policy Governance”) by Carver (1997) and the model run by the executive power (Drucker 1990; Herman & Heimovics, 1990, 1994; Block, 1998).

According to these three normative models for analysing the governance of NPOs, we can see that the authors have mainly focused on the configuration of power and the analysis of the role of the Board of Directors by making an implicit connection with the performance of the Board of Directors even beyond organisational performance. Concerning the governance of the IOC and IFs, several parameters must also be taken into account, such as:

–       The international and global dimension of their mission and identity. In this regard, in terms of identity or cultural organisation, the studies by Cadbury (1992), Albert (1991), Pérez (2003) as well as Charreaux and Desbrières (2001)[3] show that across continents or countries, the model of corporate governance is not a universal model. Indeed, there are many who derive from a given cultural / identity environment (country, continent, religion …);

–       The IOC and IFs represent the leader of a large number of member organisations under their aegis (continental unions and national federations) that can be characterized in terms of a sport system with its internal problems of governance and regulation of the IFs  on their national federations (see Chappelet, 1991; Chappelet et al. Arcioni 2008 and 2007a);

–         The particularly changing context compelling them to reform their organisational governance but also their political and systemic governance according to Henry’s theory (2005). Three phenomena can justify this need for change. First, “the professionalisation of sports organisations” (Chantelat, 2001a and b), second, “the shortcomings and deficiencies of sporting bodies” in their ability to manage the “detriments” of sport (doping, corruption, violence, racism …) show that the intervention of other regulatory bodies (European Union, state law …) and even their systematic cooperation becomes necessary. Third, “the rising demands of internal participants” (fans, athletes, members…) on the one hand and “new” players on the other (media, sponsors and professional clubs…) reflects a desire to see their interests better satisfied and, sometimes, to gain more prominence in the definition of sports policy, to participate more directly in the “sports business” or to influence the direction of policies (systemic governance).

These three phenomena are causing new challenges for the governance of the IF from an organisational, political and systemic viewpoint. Therefore, the unifying nature of the framework proposed by Pérez seems very relevant to the analysis of the governance of the IF.

[1] The governance of particularly heterogeneous stakeholders who develop values, rationale for action and creation of service to propose.

[2] He highlights that that the professionalisation of Nonprofit Organisations sometimes causes the emergence of new values and new registers of action causing dilemmas between the project of undertaking and the company project, a consequence of the strategy put in place by the Board of for the development of the value of the organisation.

[3] And a certain number of American and European communications and reports