University of Oulu

Analysing the roles and relationships of NGOs : a case study of ODL’s philanthropic program for rehabilitation of traumatized immigrants

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Author: Acharya, Anup1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Management and International Business, Management
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.2 MB)
Pages: 86
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : A. Acharya, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-05-16
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Hatami Boroun, Akram
Reviewer: Ulkuniemi, Pauliina
Hatami Boroun, Akram


Business academics and professionals, both, have well recognized that NGOs are very dynamic, non-state, and non-profit actors in the market, which can impact several operations and strategies of businesses. NGOs operate in a different way than public and private institutions and have diverse relationships among public and private institutions. The roles and relationships of NGOs with other institutions have an impact on their own operations. This study examines the roles and relationships of NGOs in three spheres, i.e., business, society, and the state. Also, this study does a case study of ODL’s philanthropic program for the rehabilitation of traumatized immigrants to explore the impacts of this philanthropic deed on ODL, which is a 127-year-old NGO operating in Finland. Immigration has been increasing in Finland, and ODL, as a Finnish NGO, has recognized the challenges faced by immigrants in Finland and has launched a rehabilitation program to help immigrants facing traumatic experiences since 2006.

This study is non-positivist, exploratory, single-case study-based qualitative research that uses abductive reasoning. This study has two major questions, i.e., "Why do NGOs matter to business, society, and the state?" and "What are the impacts of ODL’s philanthropic program of rehabilitation of traumatized immigrants?” In this research, semi-structured interviews were conducted in a detailed manner. The narrative data is extracted from the views of six NGO professionals who have long experience in top management positions in the NGO sector. One interviewee in this study is the beneficiary of ODL’s rehabilitation program for traumatized immigrants. QSR NVivo has been used in this study to transcribe and code narrative data from interviews.

The findings of this research show that, in fact, NGOs have very influential impacts on businesses, society, and the state. Their collaborative relationship with businesses is formed based on matching interests, whereas NGOs must prove themselves in society through their different successful social initiatives to maintain their worth and also to gain credibility, trust, image, and capital. NGOs connect with state agencies and desire to go along with state policies to gain legitimacy, resources, and flexibility in their operations. On the other hand, philanthropy is both the income and the action of NGOs, and it is very essential for them to function. The case study of the impacts of ODL’s philanthropic program of rehabilitation of traumatized immigrants has revealed two sorts of impacts: impacts on ODL as a service provider and impacts on beneficiaries of this program. The generalization of this study in NGO research, however, would be challenging despite of its high relevance to ODL. This study has been done in conjunction with a Finland-based NGO and Finland-based interviewees; thus, more exploratory, comparative, and multiple case study-based research is needed to explore more about NGOs in the future. This research has stepped in as preliminary exploratory, single-case study-based qualitative research. Also, this study has put its efforts into answering business researchers’ call for independent study on NGOs as separate institutions.

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Copyright information: © Anup Acharya, 2023. Except otherwise noted, the reuse of this document is authorised under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) licence ( This means that reuse is allowed provided appropriate credit is given and any changes are indicated. For any use or reproduction of elements that are not owned by the author(s), permission may need to be directly from the respective right holders.