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The Good ProjectHumanitarian Relief NGOs and the Fragmentation of Reason$
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Monika Krause

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226131221

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226131535.001.0001

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In Pursuit of the Good Project

In Pursuit of the Good Project

(p.14) One In Pursuit of the Good Project
The Good Project

Monika Krause

University of Chicago Press

This chapter asks how managers in humanitarian relief NGOs make decisions about where to go and whom to help. Humanitarian relief NGOs are committed to serving people “according to need”, without regard to race, ethnicity, gender, or religion – but they also need to practice some triage. While some observers would lead us to expect that organizations are driven by their values or manifest functions, others, more cynically, point at hidden interests or latent functions. This chapter, in contrast, begins from the observation of the indeterminacy of both values and interests. Neither values nor interests tell managers what to do. Based on in-depth interviews with managers in of the largest Western humanitarian relief NGOs, the chapter analyses the organizational routines that shape their work. It argues that mangers in humanitarian relief agencies seek to make a contribution and intervene in the form of projects. Their professional concern is to produce good projects, and the pursuit of the good project develops a dynamic relatively independently of values, interests, and needs on the ground.

Keywords:   project-management, humanitarian relief, NGOs, humanitarian relief NGOs, triage, project, organizational routines, indeterminacy of values, manifest function, latent function

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