Purpose – The growing trend towards closing the political space for civil society in authoritarian regimes has primarily targeted NGOs focused on rights-based advocacy. Drawing on a study of disability NGOs in Russia, this paper seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the advocacy options that nonprofit organizations have even in repressive political contexts. The authors first review the extant literature to identify common actors, types and tactics and then trace what types of advocacy Russian NGOs are engaged in and what tactics they are able to utilize. Design/methodology/approach – The empirical part of this paper is based on 20 interviews conducted among active participants in disability NGOs in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Perm and Nizhniy Novgorod. Despite not being a representative sample of organizations, the selection of cities and organizations was intended to reflect spatial and structural factors of the field. Findings – The authors find that NGOs are able to pursue a broad range of advocacy activities despite a generally restrictive legal environment for civil society. Research limitations/implications – Research on advocacy in authoritarian countries is often focused on NGOs that are primarily engaged in these activities. This has overshadowed the considerable leeway that nonprofit service providers have to engage in advocacy. Practical implications – Service-providing NGOs should not forsake advocacy activities, even in authoritarian contexts, but can find access points in the political system and should seek to utilize their voice on behalf of their clients. Social implications – Despite general restrictions, NGOs can still find ways to successfully secure social rights, justice and solidarity, provided they accept the supremacy of the state in social policy and appeal to the state’s responsibility for the welfare of its citizens without directly questioning the overall status quo too heavily. Originality/value – We develop a broad framework for various advocacy forms and activities and apply it to nonprofit service providers.
The purpose of this paper is to analyze the relationship between social capital and subjective ranking of household economic well-being in transition countries. The current study tests whether the performance of formal institutions moderates this link. The analyses are based on the data from the second wave of the Life in Transition Survey. The measures “generosity of welfare policy (social safety nets)” and “ability of formal institutions to control inflation” were provided by the Bertelsmann Transformation Index Project. The study uses four measures of social capital: trust in family, trust in friends and acquaintances, trust in most people, the number of support sources. To test the hypotheses, the study employs mixed-effects regression models. The study indicates a significant positive effect of social capital on subjective household well-being. Formal institutions do not have a significant effect on subjective ranking of household well-being. The evidence on institutions as moderators rejects the substitution effect between formal institutions and social capital. Higher generosity of welfare policy institutions and higher ability of formal institutions to control inflation strengthen the positive effect of particular trust (trust in family and trust in friends and acquaintances) on subjective ranking on the ladder of social standing (subjective ranking of household well-being), which is in line with the “crowding in” theory. The paper adds on the limited research on transition countries. The paper contributes to the discussion on “crowding in” and “crowding out” effects of formal institutions on social capital.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to show how young educated adults in the state of precarity perceive the lack of stability in their employment, life and prospects, and what influences their decision making with respect to their career.
Design/methodology/approach – Qualitative research on evidence from ten semi-structured in-depth interviews. The method of analysis is consensual qualitative research.
Findings – Young Russian adults in the state of precarity have little interest in stable employment, believing it imposes inadequately tight constraints in terms of work organisation, as compared to the potentially modest returns in terms of career development and professional self-actualisation. The respondents tend to choose work which corresponds to the rhythm of their lives and preferences. They are willing to sacrifice stability and higher income in the hope of achieving career success and financial prosperity in the future. They do not hope for or expect assistance from the state but feel fully responsible for their own lives. The downside of this optimism is the lack of long-term plans and, hence, the uncertainty of the future.
Originality/value – The authors not only consider the state of precarity as an effect of structural factors such as the state of the labour market, but also aim to show the role of the worker’s agency in creating such a situation. Instead of the conventional view of precarious individuals solely as victims of circumstances, this study suggests to regard them as actors whose experience, goals and aspirations determine career and life choices.
The purpose of this paper is to deal with informal entrepreneurial activity of micro and small family businesses in the specific transitional environment.
The paper uses two cases – an informal micro business (“marginal” family business), and a formal retail small firm (“simpleton” family firm), respectively, of a panel conducted in 2013–2015 in Moscow.
First, the real distribution of responsibilities between family members is informal; it relies more on interpersonal trust and “common law.” Second, exactly the ease of governing such trust-based businesses for the founders’ generation sets limits of succession of small-scale family businesses. Third, as trust in the state is very low, the policy of Russian authorities to quickly force informal entrepreneurs to become legalized is substantially wrong; the results would be either a transformation of “simpleton” into “marginal” businesses or quitting business.
Research limitations of the study are the number of observations and the localization of the panel only in the capital of Russia.
The fundamental failure of Russian State policy toward small-scale family businesses is its attempt to convince “marginal” to formalize and to oppress “simpleton” family businesses pushing them into informality. In fact, it should be designed vice versa: tolerate “marginal” businesses and let them to “live and die” while shaping a friendly environment for “simpleton” family firms.
The paper argues that the most important facet of informality in small family entrepreneurship is the informal property rights and governance duties’ distribution among the family members.
The purpose of this paper is to explore urban mobilisation patterns in two post-Soviet cities: Vilnius and Moscow. Both cities were subject to similar housing and urban policy during Soviet times, and they have implemented urban development using neoliberal market principles, provoking grassroots opposition from citizens to privatisation and marketisation of their housing environment and local public space. However, the differing conditions of democratic Lithuanian and authoritarian Russian public governance offer different opportunities and set different constraints for neighbourhood mobilisation. The purpose is to contrast local community mobilisations under the two regimes and highlight the differences between and similarities in the activists’ repertoires of actions in two distinct political and economic urban settings.
Purpose – This paper explores the factors that are associated with a capacity of non-profits to develop social innovations. The study aims to examine factors in the Russian national context with weak non-profit sector with an ambiguous governmental policy toward the sector.
Design/methodology/approach – The study is based on survey data (n=850 NPOs, 2015, Russia). The paper analyses the likelihood of a non-profit to introduce social innovations due to external framework and organisational factors. Regression analysis was applied in the study.
The study is based on a new sampling approach and examines non-profits as producers of social innovations, but not cases of social innovations per se.
Findings – The results demonstrate that the capacity of an NPO to develop social innovations is explained by the following enabling factors: cross-boundary collaborative relations, volunteer involvement, and diversity of the revenue structure. Composition of innovative sub-sector, opportunities and chances of getting into this group are explicitly determined and regulated by the current governmental policy towards the sector. That is that large and established non-profits are more likely to be innovative in Russia, unlike expected grass-roots.
Originality/value – The paper applies a theoretical framework to analyse the social innovation concept in a non-Western context with weak civil society and an influential government. From this perspective the results present empirical quantitative verification of the determinants of social innovation capacity of NPOs. The paper is among the first to apply a reverse sampling principle and examine social innovations via NPOs as producers. The paper produced, for the first time, an empirical description of the nature of innovative activity by NPOs and an estimation of the extent of this activity in Russia.
The context conditions for third sector organizations (TSOs) in Europe have significantly changed as a result of the global economic crisis, including decreasing levels of public funding and changing modes of relations with the state. The effect of economic recession, however, varies across Europe. The purpose of this paper is to understand why this is the case. It analyses the impact of economic recession and related policy changes on third sector development in Europe. The economic effects on TSOs are thereby placed into a broader context of changing third sector policies and welfare state restructuring. The paper focusses on two research questions: how has the changing policy environment affected the development of the third sector? And what kind of strategies have TSOs adopted to respond to these changes? The paper first investigates general trends in Europe, based on a conceptual model that focusses on economic recession and austerity policies with regard to the third sector. In a second step of analysis, the paper provides five country case studies that exemplify policy changes and responses from the third sector in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain. The paper argues that three different development paths can be identified across Europe. In some countries (France and Spain), TSOs face a strong effect of economic recession. In other countries (Germany and Poland) the development of the third sector remains largely stable, albeit at different levels, whereas in the Netherlands, TSOs rather experience changes in the policy environment than a direct impact of economic decline. The paperalso shows that response strategies of the third sector in Europe depend on the context conditions. The paper is based on the European project “Third Sector Impact.” It combines an analysis of statistical information with qualitative data from interviews with third sector representatives.
Using unique data on freelancers participating in an online labor market (N = 9,984), we integrate work values research with the Job Demands-Resources model to assess the role that work value orientations play in self-employed workers’ subjective well-being. We find that intrinsic work values are associated with greater subjective well-being whereas extrinsic work values are associated with lower subjective well-being. Consistent with the buffer hypothesis, intrinsic work value orientation reduces the negative effect of working hours on worker well-being, and extrinsic orientation enhances the negative effect. Our paper calls into question the importance of working conditions relative to worker values when assessing the role that job demands and resources play in the new economy. As work becomes more demanding and employment relations more flexible, personal resources such as work value orientations may become increasingly important for worker well-being.