A Business-Like Strategic Model That Works?: Lessons Learned From Non-Profit Incubator in China

A Business-Like Strategic Model That Works?: Lessons Learned From Non-Profit Incubator in China

Xunyu Xiang (The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong), Cheryl Hiu-Kwan Chui (The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong), Lucy Porter Jordan (The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong) and Min-Hsiu Chiang (National Chengchi University, Taiwan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2537-0.ch021
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Abstract

The application of the business-like strategic model in the nonprofit sector has attracted increasing attention from scholars and practitioners in both western countries and Asian countries like China. In order to assess how the business-like strategic model can be applied successfully in an authoritarian regime, this Chapter concentrates on a single case in China's context, the Nonprofit Incubator (NPI), to identify the contributing factors to its success in applying the business-like strategic model. Drawing from two theoretical frameworks of policy window and balanced scorecard, this chapter examines the internal and external management of NPI to investigate how, and to what extent, a business-like strategic model is adopted in the context of China. Findings indicate that organizational needs to be very sensitive to both internal and external managerial environment so as to achieve its success. This chapter argues that the business-like strategic model is feasible in China without any obvious disparity compared with its implication in Western countries.
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Introduction

The eroded boundary between the non-profit sector and the business sector has created opportunities for the implementation of business-like strategic models in the Chinese non-profit sector. Business-like strategic model refers to strategies that are widely used in the business sector, such as venture capital, and platform model (Dart, 2004). As an alternative to innovative organizational operation, business-like strategic models have been reasonably well received by scholars and practitioners in both Western context and countries like China. This chapter focuses on a single case in China’s context—the Non-profit Incubator—to assess how a business-like strategic model can be applied successfully in an authoritarian regime. Drawing from the two theoretical frameworks of policy windows and balanced scorecard, this chapter uses the case of a Chinese non-profit support organization (NSO), the Non-Profit Incubator (NPI), to examine how, and to what extent, business-like strategic model is adopted. In addition to examining documents relevant to the NPI such as annual reports and mission statements, interviews were conducted in order to add further richness to the case study.

This chapter is structured as follows. First, an introduction of current trends regarding the convergence of business-like strategies and the non-profit sector are presented, followed by an overview of non-profit support organizations (NSOs) ranging from the definition to service delivery over the past few decades is provided. Second, we will explore the development of NSOs in contemporary China relying on statistical data. The discussion of findings resulting from statistical analysis is followed by an introduction of the emergence of business model in China, including a brief introduction of the NPI, and an exploration of business-like strategic model in the current stage. An analysis on the managerial system, strategic planning, and discussion on how the NPI executes business-like strategies follows. The final section provides a summary of the arguments made in this chapter and suggests further research recommendations.

Key Terms in this Chapter

NGOCN: A website for the communication among all Chinese non-profit organizations. It is one of the famous social platform in China ( www.ngocn.net ).

NPI: A non-profit support organization in China, which is also the only target organization in our study as well as in this chapter ( www.npi.org.cn ).

NPO Development Centre: A non-profit support organization in China that mainly concentrates on organizational capacity building and human resources development ( www.npodevelopment.org ).

LIREN Platform: This is one of the main project focusing on community resilience, which is initiated by our target organization (NPI). LIREN is translated from a Chinese word, which means a harmonious community.

GONGOs: A type of non-profit organization which is established by government. This kind of non-profit organization is more common in China.

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