The decoupling of organizations: Organizational operation under the non-coordinating constraint: A framework for studying the relationship between China's charity organizations and the government

Kai Tian


Since the late 1990s, a large number of charity organizations have emerged in China, though there is obvious disparity between their organizational forms and their operations. Although these charity organzations have the form of nonprofit organizations (NPOs), they are in fact part of the goverment system. This paper aims to develop a theoretical framework, namely "organizational operation under incoordinate constraint," to illustrate the operating logic of these charity organizations. The conflict between the government's demand for attaining resources and the need for social control is the institutional origin of the decoupling of charity organizations' form and operation. The decoupling of the organizational form and operation is a common phenomenon, and this theoretical framework could be applied to analyze similar scenarios.

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Chinese Public Administration Review (ISSN 1539-6754, Online ISSN 2573-1483)  is published by the School of Government, Sun Yat-sen University.