Connective collective action online: An examination of the hyperlink network structure of an NGO issue network



Nonprofit, nongovernmental organization (NGO) hyperlink networks are connective public goods, or sets of interorganizational links that enable members and nonmembers to reach like-minded organizations in order to enhance the visibility of the network’s goals. We extend collective action theory to account for both the level and structural signatures of contributions that generalist and specialist organizations make to these connective public goods. This study examines contributions that 48 English Speaking Islamic Resistance organizations make to a NGO hyperlink network. We found that generalist organizations, or organizations with heterogeneous goals, play several key roles in the connective public good. Generalist NGOs promoted the most legitimate face of the issue network, acting as brokers and authorities to other generalist NGOs, and initiators for both specialist and generalist NGOs.