In response to the structural problems faced by some of the non- governmental organizations (NGOs) in Lebanon, evaluating the different structures` performance is particularly important especially in developing countries that require NGOs to provide speedy, timely and effective response to beneficiary needs. The aim of this paper is to identify the optimal structure for managing NGOs` projects, especially when integrating the structural factors with other critical factors that impacted the projects` performance of these NGOs. The study viewed projects performance in terms of projects` meeting their targets within the assigned budget and schedule. One hundred thirty-two questionnaires were self-administered to professional project managers, some of them working at mechanistic NGOs adopting either a functional, weak matrix or balanced matrix project structures while others are working at organic NGOs adopting either a project- based or strong matrix project structures. Correlation analysis was used to test the influence of each critical factor on projects` performance while regression analysis was used to study the influence among critical factors. The study identified that the adopted structure in the mechanistic NGOs had a negative influence on the projects` performance. On the other hand, the adopted structure emerged as positive significant factor to the projects` performances of organic NGOs. However, when the critical factors are being integrated all together to test their influence on projects` performance, the adopted structure appeared to be a highly significant positive factor to the projects` performances of the organic NGOs adopting the project-based structure only.
Key words: NGOs, organizational structure, projects, mechanistic structure, organic structure, functional project structure, weak matrix structure, balanced matrix structure, strong matrix structure, project-based structure, Lebanon.
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