The value of technology affordances to improve the management of nonprofit organizations


  • Debora Bobsin Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Departamento de Ciências Administrativas
  • Maira Petrini Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul – Escola de Negócios
  • Marlei Pozzebon International Business, HEC Montreal



Affordance, Technology, Nonprofit organizations


Purpose – This paper aims to investigate the benefits generated by the use of new technologies by nonprofit organizations, with focus on how these artefacts can improve their ability to achieve their social mission. Design/methodology/approach – To understand the potential use of technology by a nonprofit organization, the concept of affordance was applied. The authors propose a processual model of affordances’ interdependences that enrich the extant literature. Six nonprofit organizations in two Brazilian regions were deeply investigated using a multiple case study method. Findings – The authors identified new sub-categories of technology affordances, which are not just related to nonprofit but that could be also applied to other types, including for-profit. Sub-categories of affordances seem to play different roles in the actualization process. The authors are not proposing determinist connections among sub-categories, but they argue that they sustain some sub-categories precede or create the condition for others to emerge. Originality/value – Nonprofit organizations lack theoretical and empirical investigations on management in general and on technology management in particular. In its turn, the technology field does not pay much attention, both in terms of research and practice, to the specificities of the third sector where the nonprofit organizations operate. This process model of potential uses of new technologies that might favor nonprofit organizations contributes to the cross-fertilization between two distinct fields: third sector and technology management.


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Research Paper