"The grumpiest people" : key elements in the making of an advocacy NGO
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During the past few decades the number of nongovernmental organizations [NGO] have grown dramatically. This is partly related to processes of globalization contributing to an expansion of civil spaces within and beyond modern nation states. As a result, NGOs as “civil society organizations”, have become a much often subject of research. While NGOs consists of a wide range of organizations, this paper provides a qualitative analysis of an advocacy NGO. Based on interviews and participant observation, this study addresses the making and maintenance of an advocacy NGO from a firm-analogy perspective. I argue that the ever increasing number of NGOs creates a highly competitive advocacy environment in which most advocacy NGOs need to pay much attention also to boundary work, which tend to make up a substantial part of their time and attention. I seek to discuss in what way a competitive social and civil environment influence the work of an advocacy NGO. My study pays special attention to organizational identity, in which differentiation and branding are key components. The study focuses on how the coming into being of one advocacy NGO involve relational practices in which the making of a fairly clear distinction between self and others are an integral part of what the NGO does. Practicing advocacy within the civil spaces of society, I suggest, requires strategic and often quite tactical boundary work on its own.