Title: Nonprofit Governance Research: Limitations of the Focus on Boards and Suggestions for New Directions
Author: Chris Cornforth
Abstract: This article examines some of the main limitations of research on the governance of nonprofit organizations. It argues that there are limitations in both the way governance has been conceptualized and the ways in which it has been researched. It suggests that research has focused too narrowly on the boards of unitary organizations, and ignored both the wider governance system and the more complex multilevel and multifaceted governance structures that many organizations have evolved. It also argues that the dominant research designs employed have been cross-sectional and positivist in orientation. As a result, too little attention has been paid to board processes and change and how they are influenced by contextual and historical factors. Based on this analysis, some new directions for nonprofit governance research are briefly mapped out.