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Market rationality inside voluntary sector: an analysis of five organizations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/12/2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations
Issue number4
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)875-893
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date25/01/11
<mark>Original language</mark>English


What we now understand as rational and logical in today's world provides a mental scheme to take action, based on a framework of premises and values. These rules aim to maximize the utility of consequences, despite of any subjective value. Weber (Economy and Society, 1978) classified this scheme as an “instrumental rationality“, characterized by being guided by the goals, means, and consequence of the action. On the other hand, he also defined “substantive rationality“, postulated on the values of the subject, and not guided by any consequences of action. This study acknowledges that NGOs (non-governmental organizations) must belong to a field other than that of economic businesses, because they are based on different rationalities, especially when they encompass the observation in organizations that work for social transformation. A field study was made with five nonprofit organizations whose stated goals were social transformation, seeking to identify influences that the adoption of instrumental rationality imposes on accomplishing the expected objectives for these organizations. Contingencies were found that benefit from using instrumentality in such organizations, such as the need for self-subsistence, the area where they work, size of the organization, influence of the leader and so on. The conclusion is that the lack of consciousness of the market's influence on them very often causes them to uncritically and bluntly absorb the typical organizational dynamics of economic business, which has strong potential to corrupt their conceptual motivations, when guiding them strategically through the consequences of actions.