Article | Nonprofit Management & Leadership

Strategies and Tactics in NGO-Government Relations: Insights from Slum Housing in Mumbai

by Ramya Ramanath and Alnoor Ebrahim


Relationships between nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and government agencies have been variously described in the nonprofit literature as cooperative, complementary, adversarial, confrontational, or even co-optive. But how do NGO-government relationships emerge in practice, and is it possible for NGOs to manage multiple strategies of interaction at once? This article examines the experience of three leading NGOs in Mumbai, India involved in slum and squatter housing. We investigate how they began relating with government agencies during their formative years and the factors that shaped their interactions. We find that NGOs with similar goals end up using very different strategies and tactics to advance their housing agendas. More significantly, we observe that NGOs are likely to employ multiple strategies and tactics in their interactions with government. Finally, we find that an analysis of strategies and tactics can be a helpful vehicle for clarifying an organization's theory of change.

Keywords: Cooperative Ownership; Housing; Corporate Strategy; Business and Government Relations; Organizational Change and Adaptation; Nonprofit Organizations; Change Management; Business Strategy; Growth and Development; Non-Governmental Organizations; Accommodations Industry; Mumbai;


Ramanath, Ramya, and Alnoor Ebrahim. "Strategies and Tactics in NGO-Government Relations: Insights from Slum Housing in Mumbai." Nonprofit Management & Leadership 21, no. 1 (Fall 2010): 21–42.