Improving Think Tank Management

Practical Guidance for Think Tank Directors, Managers and Donors

By Raymond Struyk

The Industry Guide – About the Book

improving think tank management book cover

Today, there are more than 6,800 think tanks globally across 120 countries, predominantly concentrated in the Americas, U.K., Asia and Africa. Since the 1960s, explosive growth in the field has brought about a proliferation of research and policy formulation institutions. But now, growing institutional challenges are threatening their viability. Strong internal governance is therefore critical to achieving the ultimate goal of driving policy development while ensuring think tanks across Western, developing and transitioning countries maintain equal influence within today’s global dialogue. As donors are becoming increasingly aware of the nuances of a think tank’s practices, organizations must reassess how best to strengthen their management and maximize resources to remain a leading authority among a competitive arena.

Informed by in-field research across developing and transitioning countries, Raymond Struyk’s “Improving Think Tank Management: Practical Guidance for Think Tanks, Research Advocacy Organizations and Their Funders” provides a comprehensive, solutions-based guide to improving operations. Struyk’s third installment in his series on management practices arms think tanks with the knowledge to face the current evolving landscape while maintaining their place as a respected policy-influencer.

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Order the book

IMPROVING THINK TANK MANAGEMENT is available for order. Please follow the link below to order your copy today. The e-book will be available for purchase shortly.



Select annexes from the book are available for download. All annexes are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Staffing and Human Resources (2-5)

Policies, Procedures, and Forms - Examples and Templates
  • Annex 2-1 (Documents for annual staff appraisal)
  • Annex 2-2 (Salary Administration Policy)
  • Annex 2-3 (Job position descriptions and promotion criteria for research staff)
  • Annex 2-4 (Job position descriptions for communications staff)
  • Annex 2-5 (Performance standards for administrative positions)
  • Annex 3-1 (Establishing a position)
Cases from real think tanks
  • Annex 4-1 (Sharing of information gained at skills acquisition workshops)
  • Annex 5-1 (Position description for team leaders)

Core Operations (6-8)

Policies, Procedures, and Forms - Examples and Templates
  • Annex 6-1 (Reviewers' check list for assessing analytic reports)
  • Annex 6-2 (Communications guidelines)
  • Annex 6-3 (Example of a research and publications policy statement that includes quality control provisions)
  • Annex 7-1 (Example of a think tank's board bylaws)
  • Annex 8-1 (White book - table of contents)
Additional information and guidelines
  • Annex 7-2 (More information on recruiting new board members)

Agenda Setting (9-10)

Cases from real think tanks
  • Annex 9-1 (Seven innovations undertaken by Eastern European and Russian Think Tanks)
Additional information and guidelines
  • Annex 10-1 (Tasks involved in government outsourcing for policy research)
  • Annex 10-2 (Being competitive in pursuing government support)

Financial and Performance Accountability (11-12)

Additional information and guidelines
  • Annex 11-1 (Additional information on indirect rates)
Policies, Procedures, and Forms - Examples and Templates

Raymond Struyk - About the Author

Raymond Struyk

Raymond Struyk is an economist with significant experience in developing and transition countries. As a resident advisor he has led housing and housing finance development projects in Indonesia (2 years), Russia (7), Hungary (2), an Eastern Europe regional project based in Frankfurt (3) and Egypt (1). Until 2012 he was a Senior Fellow at the NORC at the University of Chicago, where he worked on strengthening housing finance, program evaluation, and the institutional development of think tanks. He joined NORC in 2007 after 30 years at the Urban Institute (where he founded its international program in 1981) and three years as the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Evaluation during the Carter Administration. He is now affiliated with the Results for Development Institute. Dr. Struyk helped create think tanks in Hungary and Russia and has worked in detail with a dozen more on management, communications, and research issues. Among his publications concerning think tanks are Reconstructive Critics: Think Tanks in Post-Soviet Bloc Democracies (Urban Institute Press, 1999); and, Managing Think Tanks (Open Society Institute and Urban Institute, 2nd ed., 2006) and a dozen journal articles. Dr. Struyk holds a PhD in Economics from Washington University in St. Louis and has published widely on housing, housing finance, and evaluation topics.

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