Obstacles to management innovation in nonprofit organizations: the case of an international nongovernmental organization

Par Marouane Khallouk, Marc Robert

The emerging literature on management innovation has principally focused on firms, thereby neglecting nonprofit organizations (NPOs). Yet NPOs have also adopted management innovations to support the strong growth and professionalization of the nonprofit sector. Arguing that NPOs represent, theoretically, a specific management framework, this study aims to identify the specific obstacles faced by NPOs when they implement a management innovation. Hence we have conducted an in-depth case study in an international nongovernmental organization. Our results show that the specific internal obstacles in NPOs are their complex human resource management and their lack of financial resources. Moreover, a negative internal perception of management innovation due to a lack of clarity, accuracy and a real systemic scope could be a source of problems. Externally, the high accountability towards stakeholders could slow down the implementation of management innovation. These results contribute to the literature on both management innovation and nonprofit management.
JEL Codes: L31, O32, G3


  • management innovation
  • obstacles
  • nonprofit organizations
  • case study
  • international nongovernmental organizations
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