Choosing the Lesser Evil: Understanding Decision Making in Humanitarian Aid NGOs, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Choosing the Lesser Evil

Understanding Decision Making in Humanitarian Aid NGOs, 1st Edition

By Liesbet Heyse


252 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9780754646129
pub: 2007-01-28
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315571812
pub: 2016-05-23
from $28.98

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How do non-governmental humanitarian aid organizations initiate, terminate and extend their project activities? Humanitarian aid organizations regularly face difficult decisions about life and death in a context of serious time constraints which force them daily to select whom to help and whom not to help. Liesbet Heyse focuses on how humanitarian aid organizations make these decisions and provides an inside view of the decision making processes. Two NGO case studies are used as illustration - Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) and Acting with Churches Together (ACT) - both of which operate in an international network and represent specific types of NGOs often found in the community. This book opens up the black box of NGO operations, provides an empirical account of organizational decision making and combines insights of organization theory and organizational decision making theory.


'In this fine book, Liesbet Heyse applies management decision-making theory to humanitarian organizations. She sheds new light on the understudied topic of management of humanitarian action. Strong in theory and rich in empirical detail, this book will be required reading for humanitarian practitioners and management scholars alike.' Dennis Dijkzeul, Ruhr University, Germany '…this empirically rich volume explores the often dramatic choices agencies have to make…By focusing on the organizational…aspects of humanitarian operations, the book makes a major contribution to opening up the black box of humanitarian organizations and reveals their internal dynamics and differences. Laying out decision-making models, the book can help humanitarian agencies to put their own strategies to the test and help them improve the life and death decisions they are dealing with.' Dorothea Hilhorst, Wageningen University, The Netherlands 'Liesbet Heyse has led the way in looking at the decision-making process of humanitarian NGOs.' Transnational Perspectives 'Liesbet Hayes has led the way in looking at the decision making process of humanitarian NGOs. There are probably not many differences due to national styles or religious convictions, but more studies along these lines would be welcome.' International Journal on World Peace '…an interesting source of inspiration for new research in this field…the information in the book will be useful to those who want to know about the internal dynamics of NGOs. It is, of course, relevant for academics and fundamental for donors and for other NGOs wanting to compare their experiences.' Administrative Science Quarterly '…the book is relevant to students, academics, and practitioners. It contains a wealth of useful information about how MSF Holland and ACT Netherlands function, and it clearly demonstrates that the decision-making processes are largely undertaken within the organizations which have access to financial resources, wi

About the Author

Liesbet Heyse is Assistant Professor at the School of Business, Public Administration and Technology at Twente University, The Netherlands. In addition, she holds a research position in the Department of Sociology/ICS at Groningen University, The Netherlands, where she participates in the Network of Humanitarian Action (NOHA). Liesbet Heyse's research focus is on the performance and operation of non-governmental humanitarian organizations.

About the Series

Non-State Actors in International Law, Politics and Governance Series

Non-State Actors in International Law, Politics and Governance Series
The proliferation of non-state actors in the international system over the last three decades has increased the need for a broader theoretical analysis and empirical validation. The series explores the capabilities and impact of non-state actors, such as privately-based transnational corporations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international criminal organizations, and liberation movements, as well as intergovernmental organizations (in which NGO’s often participate). The series seeks to address this need and to deepen the knowledge and understanding of non-state actors by scholars, practitioners and students in the fields of international law, politics and governance. By emphasizing legal, political and governance aspects of non-state actors’ activities at the international (global or regional) level, the series intends to transcend traditional disciplinary and organizational boundaries.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations)