Tiina Kontinen is an Academy of Finland Research Fellow at the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland.
Drawing on more than twenty years of research in the field of non-governmental development organisations, Tiina Kontinen has written an important book for everyone interested in the workings of NGOs. This is perhaps the first detailed account to consider not only how NGOs learn, but also why they forget. Skilfully combining insights from organisational theory and anthropology, this is a highly original and readable account of a subject that offers vital new theoretical insights while also providing essential reading for any NGO practitioner. - David Lewis, Professor of Social Policy and Development, London School of Economics & Political Science, UK This is a timely account of NGOs through the lens of organisational theory. Kontinen's study shows how learning is at the heart of everyday practice in NGOs as they interact with wider institutional environments. This book offers a fresh perspective on the everyday practices through which NGOs continually seek to remake themselves while staying fundamentally the same. - Maia Green, Professor of Anthropology, University of Manchester, UK Drawing on organization theory this book gives much needed insights into learning in development. Based on rich empirical examples, Kontinen analyses different ways of learning as well as dynamics of forgetting and ignorance in development NGOs. With a thoughtful use of organization theory she shows how learning forms or is blocked through everyday practices and through the ways in which the operations are organized. These insights are fundamental for understanding how NGOs can contribute to development and change. - Kerstin Sahlin, Professor of Public Management, Department of Business Studies, Uppsala University, Sweden This book is of great interest to development studies scholars as well as organisational sciences scholars. The combination of theoretical concepts from both fields works very well and is enlightening. The book provides truly interesting insights into linkages between learning and power, and - equally important - unlearning and (strategic) ignorance, based on the author's many years of experience within and engagement with civil society organizations. - Marja Spierenburg, Professor in Cultural Anthropology and Development Studies, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands