Department or Program



This thesis seeks to analyze the ways in which refugee assistance organizations operate and develop their operational strategies in light of a changing work landscape. Moreover, it contextualizes these strategies within the greater context of the organizational field (conceived of as the range of resource flows and political opportunities which come together to shape the organizational structures and methods of operation in an NGO field) in order to develop and understanding of how state and international institutions influence the actions and decisions of NGOs. Using the community of NGOs providing assistance to refugees and migrants in Serbia between 2016 and 2017, the work puts forth several conclusions. First, it identifies four distinct patterns of organizational structure within the case study. Second, it argues that the organizational field presents certain incentives which mediate organizational activity. This is observed in particular through the tendency of organizations to professionalize in response to dynamics surrounding funding opportunities and access to camps. Finally, this thesis ties the moderating characteristics of the organizational field to a rationality of governance that strategically utilizes NGO-work to accomplish its goals. Through the soft mechanisms of organizational influence a dynamic is produced wherein NGOs function not only as subjects of governance but also as participants of governance. Importantly, this field of influence is both enabled and constrained by its powerful institutions; it has finite boundaries of control against which it is possible for organizations to navigate and push back.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Richter, James

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 PDF file

Open Access

Available to all.