Liesbet Heyse: Choosing the Lesser Evil: Understanding Decision Making in Humanitarian AID NGOs Articles uri icon

publication date

  • June 2008

start page

  • 367

end page

  • 369


  • 2


  • 53

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0001-8392

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1930-3815


  • Choosing the Lesser Evil can be summarized concisely as a test of two hypotheses: (1) that nongovernmental organizations (NGOs hereafter) use different methods of choosing projects: consequential, appropriate, and "garbage can" decision making; and (2) that each decisional behavior implies a different organizational structure. In relation to each of the above processes, these are, respectively, administrative, institutional, and unstructured organizations. To prove both hypotheses, the author analyzes two NGOs by developing two case studies: Médecins sans Frontières, Holland (MSF Holland), and Action by Churches Together, Netherlands (ACT Netherlands). As a consequence of this general content, the volume is organized into four parts. The first part develops theory in chapters 2&-4, with chapter 1 only providing an introduction or guide to the rest of the book. Chapter 3 is fundamental,providing the theoretical key that permits readers to understand the study as a whole. Chapter 2 is a bibliographical review of state-of-the-art NGO research, and chapter 4 repeats the points raised in the third chapter but applies them to NGOs in particular.