Framing contests in global NGO networks: How controversies enable and challenge collaboration and action

Luli Pesqueira*, Pieter Glasbergen, Pieter Leroy

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    5 Citations (Web of Science)


    In multistakeholder sustainability initiatives, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) need not only to negotiate with actors from other sectors, but also with other NGOs. Taking a framing perspective, this study examines how NGOs engage in framing contests because of their collaborative attitude toward the private sector. Through an analysis of Oxfam's participation in the Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogues, the paper examines the interplay between NGOs that propose and oppose certification as a viable strategy for ensuring sustainability in the farmed shrimp sector. The results show that controversies among NGO groups related prognostic framing (i.e., regarding the proposed solution to a problem) are characterized by specific ontological and normative attributes. The paper offers NGOs strategies for dealing with such controversies and shows that, depending on the nature of the controversy, engaging in framing contests might enlarge or constrain the roles that an NGO is able to play in a multistakeholder setting, particularly, when it comes to preserving its independence while securing interdependence with others.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)423-444
    Number of pages22
    JournalNonprofit Management & Leadership
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


    • collaboration
    • controversy
    • framing
    • networks
    • NGOs
    • PART

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