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The Future of Leadership: reframing the unknown


International Nongovernmental Organizations and their Functions
2. Context and concept of INGOs
3. Growth and spread of the INGO system
4. Structure and functions of INGOs
5. Probable future trends
6. Conclusions and recommendations

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with Kjell Skjelsbaek
International Peace Research Institute, Oslo

Published in: A.J.R. Groom and Paul Taylor (Eds): Functionalism; theory and practice in international relations. London. University of London Press. 1975.

1. Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to describe and discuss a particular set of actors in the global social system which, in an historical perspective, may be considered newcomers on the scene. They are frequently called international organizations (INGOs)(1), and this term covers a wide variety of organizational units with many and different functions. Our objective is not to put INGOs into a comprehensive theoretical model, but to give a description of them and their relationships and activities using ideas and terms borrowed from the theory of functionalism. First of all we shall discuss the context and concept of INGOs. Then we shall present some data showing the growth and spread of the INGO system. The following section is a presentation of what INGOs typically do, and what functions they perform. On the basis of this we will then try to outline what we think are likely future trends, and we conclude this paper with a number of policy recommendations aimed at increasing the effectiveness of INGOs and improving their relationship with other kinds of actors in the international system.