An INGO’s Development and Fission: A Case Study on Transparency International

Dr Ernie Ko offers us a behind the scenes look at the internal politics and personalities of the prominent global NGO, Transparency International.

Transparency International is one of the major leading NGOs in the current wave of global anti-corruption movement. Very little literature, however, has discussed the internal conflicts’ impact on the global anti-corruption movement. Moreover, there is lack of academic publication so far on the systemic research of the conflicts, confrontation and diffusion among Transparency International’s cofounders. These cofounders of a dozen senior elites mainly from developed countries are above 70 years old in average. While facing memory fading and physical decade for these seniors, there is an urgent call for immediate action to approach them and analyse the commonalities and differences among themselves so as to better understand the development of a model NGO in the auspice of global civil society.

This paper explores the operational style, accountability and transparency of Transparency International. Leadership style and policy outcome are closely related to affect the performance of global anti-corruption movement. Ideas alone without good governance cannot sustain lofty-minded transnational advocacy networks. Idea-confrontation may lead to personal argument, and foster an hostile seed, which may lead to exodus in the future. This is a satire to the coalition-building policy of Transparency International since its foundation.

This paper applies process-tracing methodology to approach interviewees. This research author has been devoted to this project since 2007 by reviewing current literature and adding first-hand interview data and cross-references. Process-tracing enables a representative case to deconstruct and reconstruct the causal mechanism. This research through literature and in-depth interview in TI-Berlin Headquarters may present an innovative contribution to better understand global civil society.

Professor Ernie Ko

Professor Ernie Ko teaches international relations at the National Taiwan University of Arts. He holds a graduate degree from George Washington University (US) and a doctoral degree in International Relations from National Chengchi University, Taiwan.

Professor Ko devotes his time to a leading anti-corruption NGO, Transparency International Taiwan (TI-Taiwan), where he is Vice Executive Director. Their role is to assist in promoting international cooperation on global anti-corruption issues. His publications include his book, Taiwan Development, as well as various journal articles on Corruption and Service-Learning. Prior to his teaching career, Dr Ko was a seasoned journalist based at the White House in Washington DC during the Clinton Administration.

Professor Ernie Ko was a Spotlight Presenter at The Asian Conference on the Social Sciences 2013 (ACSS) and The Asian Conference on Sustainability, Energy and the Environment 2013 (ACSEE), which welcomed 280 delegates from around the globe to share, explore and discuss the conference themes of Sustainability, Society, Environment and Trust.

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