Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Carol Winkler

Second Advisor

Anthony Lemieux

Third Advisor

Benjamin Russell

Fourth Advisor

Louis Ruprecht Jr.


This dissertation uses an organizational communication approach to explore how Muslim NGOs negotiate the positioning of religious identity within the international, national, and local contexts. First, it considers Muslim NGOs working as faith-based organizations within the aid and development sector. Second, it examines them as political actors within the national civil society space. Thirdly, it explores their charitable role within their home community local context. To obtain a better understanding of Muslim NGOs’ religious organizational identity, the study highlights two case studies examining western international Muslim NGOs (Islamic Relief USA and Muslim Aid) from 2010 to 2020. Using the four-flow model of the Communication as Constitutive of Organizing theoretical approach, it incorporates in-depth analyses of secondary literature including research articles, government and think tank reports, and internal organizational documents. To better understand the organization’s own perceptions about the role of religion in their identity, the study proceeds with semi-structured respondent interviews with members of the organizations. To analyze the interview and organizational text data, the study uses discourse analysis highlighting macro discursive understandings of the organizations within the four constitutive flows. It includes theoretical implications advancing understandings of organizational identity, as well as practical propositions relevant to the NGOs.


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