Intermón Oxfam:

the conflict between efficiency and values  


Alfred Vernis

Angel Saz-Carranza


ESADE Business School Barcelona

Published in


Fran Equiza, Human Resources Director at Intermón Oxfam (IO), was reviewing the résumés of four final candidates for a Territorial Department Head job. Fran had joined IO a little over three years before; previously, he had worked at a governance research institute, and, before that, he had managed a small development organization. He held a B.A. in Business Administration and had been interested in development cooperation since an early age. Some time ago, he had begun to notice, inside IO, some tension between a more result-oriented, efficiency-driven vision and a more mission-based approach. He wondered how to deal with those tensions and how relevant they were for recruiting the best candidate for the job.

This case provides a perfect platform to discuss the tensions experienced by nonprofit organizations when they grow. On the one hand, a share of the organization is significantly focused on raising funds, transparency, marketing and communication efforts, and growth potential. On the other hand, another part of the organization is firmly committed to its mission, project management, beneficiaries, advocacy efforts to combat companies that violate human rights. This case may be used in a business strategy or policy introductory course incorporating nonprofit management specificities.