Exploring strategy and board structure in nonprofit organizations

William A. Brown, Joel O. Iverson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


This research explores how nonprofit managers conceptualize their organization 's strategic orientation toward products and services and in what way the governing board is structured to match that orientation. Using the Miles and Snow typology of strategy and a survey of 132 nonprofit organizations, organizations were categorized into four strategic types (e.g., defenders, prospectors, analyzers, or reactors), and distinctive structural patterns in board committees and composition were found. Prospectors had broader, more inclusive structures, whereas defenders tended to have tighter, more focused structures. Although some patterns appeared muted, through in-depth interviews with selected exemplars, several characteristics were found that helped define and clarify nonprofit strategy. This included the use of mission statements to help communicate the organization's strategic orientation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-400
Number of pages24
JournalNonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • Governance
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Organizational strategy
  • Organizational structure


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