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Article

Tomi Rajala and Petra Kokko

This study examines unexplored horizontal accountability types between public, private and third sector actors within a hybrid organization. The case organization was…

Abstract

Purpose

This study examines unexplored horizontal accountability types between public, private and third sector actors within a hybrid organization. The case organization was applying a novel alliance model to generate service paths for heterogeneous clientele consuming cultural, educational, health and social services. It was first to do so in Finland.

Design/methodology/approach

This research is on a case study that used documents and interviews to examine the design of the horizontal accountability. The descriptive analysis focused on identifying what type of formal accountability system was designed (i.e. who is the account holder, and who is accountable and for what and why).

Findings

An imbalanced accountability system was identified because accountability obligations were unevenly distributed between public, private and third sector actors. The private sector was the most accountable for performance, and the third sector (i.e. voluntary sector) was the least accountable. As account holders, the public, private and third sector actors were judging their conduct as account providers. This created a biased horizontal accountability system. The hybrid's accountability system was dynamic because the contracts made to establish the hybrid included opportunities to change horizontal accountability if future changes to the external environment affect too drastically the potential to achieve the hybrid's goals.

Originality/value

Three new concepts are proposed for studying dysfunctional accountability systems: dynamic, biased and horizontally imbalanced accountability.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

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Book part

Jacques Defourny and Victor Pestoff

There is still no universal definition of the third sector in Europe, but it can be seen as including all types of non-governmental not-for-profit entities such as…

Abstract

There is still no universal definition of the third sector in Europe, but it can be seen as including all types of non-governmental not-for-profit entities such as non-profit organizations, mutuals, cooperatives, social enterprises and foundations. This article attempts to make sense of the current shifting conceptualization of the third sector in Europe. It is based on short country summaries of the images and concepts of the third sector in 13 European countries by EMES Network’s members, first presented in 2008 (Defourny and Pestoff, 2008; nine of them were recently revised and are found in the appendix to this article.). The perception and development of the third sector in Europe is closely related to the other major social governance institutions/mechanisms, like the market, state and community and through the third sector’s interaction with them. Moreover, many third sector organizations (TSOs) overlap with these other social institutions, resulting in varying degrees of hybridity and internal tensions experienced by them. TSOs can generate resources from their activities on the market, by providing services in partnership with the state and/or by promoting the interests of a given community or group. The country overviews document a growing professionalization of TSOs in most countries and a growing dependency of public funds to provide services. This has important theoretical and practical implications for orienting the articles included in this book. Thus, it can provide a key for better understanding the discussion and analysis in the remainder of this volume.

Details

Accountability and Social Accounting for Social and Non-Profit Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-004-9

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Article

Caroline Hellström

The purpose of this paper is to investigate public partners’ motives for seeking and/or accepting partnerships with third sector organisations.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate public partners’ motives for seeking and/or accepting partnerships with third sector organisations.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach is to seek to identify and explain motives from different perspectives; as responses to government failure or voluntary failure, as related to governance structures, and/or as driven by resource dependencies. The empirical material was gathered through semi-structured interviews with public employees in Swedish municipalities. The aim of the interviews was to grasp the public partners’ motives for partnerships with third sector organisations. Each interview started with questions on the presence and forms of partnerships, thus creating a backdrop for the motives, both during the interview and as a map of the partnership landscape.

Findings

The most prominent motives for public engagement in partnerships with third sector organisations are related to democratic values, the need to solve concrete problems, and economic rationality. The motives vary with the type of partnership of which there is considerable variation in scale, content and contribution; the types of partnership vary with different policy fields and services. Different perspectives highlight different motives but none of them excludes other perspectives.

Originality/value

The main contribution of the paper is the empirically based findings of a multi-layered public–third sector partnership landscape where policy fields, forms and complex motives are intertwined.

Details

Journal of Accounting & Organizational Change, vol. 17 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1832-5912

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Article

Stephen Bubb

The author outlines those strengths of the third sector that will enable it to play a prominent role in not only leading the country towards economic recovery, but also…

Abstract

The author outlines those strengths of the third sector that will enable it to play a prominent role in not only leading the country towards economic recovery, but also stimulating the development of a more democratic society. He stresses the need for the sector as a whole, and particularly the CEOs, to embrace the challenge created by the economic slump, stressing that for this ‘challenge’ to be transformed into an opportunity, the sector must focus on areas of particular importance, such as continual professional development (CPD), extending global links and encouraging sector exchange.

Details

International Journal of Leadership in Public Services, vol. 6 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1747-9886

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Article

Petri Ruuskanen, Kirsikka Selander and Timo Anttila

The purpose of this paper is to study the perceived job quality and job satisfaction among third-sector employees and compare job quality in the third, public and private…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study the perceived job quality and job satisfaction among third-sector employees and compare job quality in the third, public and private sector.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on the quality of work life (QWL) survey data gathered by Statistics Finland. The QWL data are complemented with data set collected among third-sector employees. In the sector comparisons percentage shares were used to compare different dimensions of job quality between the sectors. Regression analysis was used to control the structural labour market differences between the sectors.

Findings

The results show that job quality in the third sector differs substantially from that in both the public and private sectors. Employees in the third sector are less satisfied with their jobs than others. They perceive their work more autonomous than others. Compared to private-sector employees, third-sector employees perceive their jobs as less insecure. They also report more intensity and qualitative insecurity than employees in other sectors.

Research limitations/implications

The sample consist only trade union members. The generalisability of results to non-unionized employees may be limited.

Originality/value

Previously it has been stated that third-sector employees enjoy greater job satisfaction due to intrinsic work benefits related to non-profit work. There is, however, small number of empirical studies trying to compare systematically job quality between the sectors. The present analysis contradicts the previous findings of higher job satisfaction in the third sector.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 38 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Article

Martin Jones and Joyce Liddle

As many states recognise the need to enter into new relationships with the third sector, strategic commissioning of services has moved up the political agenda. The…

Abstract

Purpose

As many states recognise the need to enter into new relationships with the third sector, strategic commissioning of services has moved up the political agenda. The establishment of the Office of the Third Sector in the UK Cabinet Office heralded a commitment to engage the “voice” and “choice” of third sector organizations in designing, delivering and measuring public service delivery. This paper seeks to report on the findings gathered from a series of workshops and other data collection on public sector commissioning of third sector service delivery, and to highlight some tensions and emerging issues in this policy field.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative data from workshops were supplemented with observations, interview data, existing research, and secondary data from a number of government agencies and third sector representative organizations.

Findings

The findings from the workshops and other data collection methods will feed into future design and development of training programmes for public sector and third sector officers. They should also inform the policy debate and enhance understanding of some of the tensions and problems facing practitioners in this policy field.

Originality/value

Little research exists on third sector or public sector commissioning, and this work will be of value to policy makers, practitioners and academics concerned with strategic commissioning. The paper augments existing theory on state and non‐governmental relationships and the contribution of third sector agencies to public service delivery.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article

Donald Harradine and Kirsten Greenhalgh

The paper aims to explore the relationship between commissioners of service and the third sector arising from research undertaken during a LinkAge Plus project by…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to explore the relationship between commissioners of service and the third sector arising from research undertaken during a LinkAge Plus project by comparison to the eight principles of commissioning. It seeks to explore the issues concerning the development of services and the implications in an era of austerity for rapid changes to the implementation of policy nationally in the UK and internationally.

Design/methodology/approach

The main methods employed are interview, document analysis and observation. This research re‐evaluates research undertaken for a LinkAge Plus pilot evaluation.

Findings

The framework provided by the eight principles of good commissioning appeared to rely on the premise that the contracts entered into are long‐term in nature, however, where short‐term contracts are entered into the principles appear somewhat unachievable.

Research limitations/implications

The paper examines the findings arising from one LinkAge Plus pilot site only, however, the authors contend that the findings offer genuine insights into the relationship between commissioners of services and the third sector, owing to the number of projects undertaken for the scheme.

Practical implications

The findings offer organisations and policy makers an insight into the issues faced by the third sector when dealing with large commissioners particularly with regards to the rapid change of service provision and short‐term contracts. This has considerable relevance in the changing economic climate and the associated austerity measures being imposed. The paper also fulfils the need for greater empirical work required in the important area of third sector delivery of services.

Originality/value

LinkAge Plus offered a unique opportunity to examine how a commissioner can use third sector organisations to develop services quickly and the associated issues that arise.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 25 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article

Ulla Pape, Rafael Chaves-Ávila, Joachim Benedikt Pahl, Francesca Petrella, Bartosz Pieliński and Teresa Savall-Morera

The context conditions for third sector organizations (TSOs) in Europe have significantly changed as a result of the global economic crisis, including decreasing levels of…

Abstract

Purpose

The context conditions for third sector organizations (TSOs) in Europe have significantly changed as a result of the global economic crisis, including decreasing levels of public funding and changing modes of relations with the state. The effect of economic recession, however, varies across Europe. The purpose of this paper is to understand why this is the case. It analyses the impact of economic recession and related policy changes on third sector development in Europe. The economic effects on TSOs are thereby placed into a broader context of changing third sector policies and welfare state restructuring.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper focusses on two research questions: how has the changing policy environment affected the development of the third sector? And what kind of strategies have TSOs adopted to respond to these changes? The paper first investigates general trends in Europe, based on a conceptual model that focusses on economic recession and austerity policies with regard to the third sector. In a second step of analysis, the paper provides five country case studies that exemplify policy changes and responses from the third sector in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain.

Findings

The paper argues that three different development paths can be identified across Europe. In some countries (France and Spain), TSOs face a strong effect of economic recession. In other countries (Germany and Poland) the development of the third sector remains largely stable, albeit at different levels, whereas in the Netherlands, TSOs rather experience changes in the policy environment than a direct impact of economic decline. The paper also shows that response strategies of the third sector in Europe depend on the context conditions. The paper is based on the European project “Third Sector Impact.” It combines an analysis of statistical information with qualitative data from interviews with third sector representatives.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to our understanding of the interrelation between economic recession, long-term policy changes and third sector development in Europe.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 36 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article

Robin Miller

The third sector has been promoted by progressive English governments as a provider of health and social care services for people with mental health difficulties. This…

Abstract

Purpose

The third sector has been promoted by progressive English governments as a provider of health and social care services for people with mental health difficulties. This article aims to consider the assumptions that lie behind these polices and reviews the evidence that third sector organisations can be said to have a “unique” role and approach. The challenges and opportunities of the current market‐based reforms for the third sector are discussed.

Design/methodology/approach

The article is based on literature reviews of the third sector's role in mental health care and commissioning of third sector organisations.

Findings

The third sector delivers a range of mental health services in England, in particular those related to accommodation, advice, advocacy and employment. Its activity extends into other roles such as campaigning and development of new approaches to care and support. Evidence of the distinctiveness of the sector as a whole is limited, but there are examples of such organisations providing innovative and user‐led services. Market‐based reforms are seen as posing a threat to smaller organisations in particular but personalised approaches (including allocation of individual budgets), outcome‐based payments and a need for large‐scale service redesign are seen as offering considerable opportunity for expansion.

Practical implications

For the new market to include a strong third sector will require leadership within organisations, a collaborative approach within the sector, and commissioners that understand and engage positively with the sector in all its diversity.

Originality/value

This article draws together the research literature on the third sector's engagement in mental health and the impact of market‐based reforms and in doing so provides original value in the fields of mental health and third sector studies.

Details

Journal of Public Mental Health, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5729

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Article

Sue Baines, Mike Bull and Ryan Woolrych

The purpose of this paper is to offer a critical overview of claims and counter claims around increased expectations that the third sector organisations (TSOs) will…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to offer a critical overview of claims and counter claims around increased expectations that the third sector organisations (TSOs) will compete for contracts to deliver public services. It does this through the lens of contested notions of being “businesslike” and “entrepreneurial” across the public and third sectors. Then it assesses how some of these tensions are currently played out between public sector commissioners and third sector service providers.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based on a one‐year project funded under the ESRC Business Engagement Opportunities scheme (2009‐2010) in which the authors are working with NHS Manchester (responsible for commissioning and directing NHS funds into a wide range of services for communities across the city) and local third sector delivery and infrastructure organisations. The project consists of a set of knowledge exchange activities (scoping, workshops, placements and an on‐line tool) intended to help NHS Manchester reshape its local provider profile through market making and commissioning new service contracts from TSOs, especially social enterprises. Preliminary findings are reported from the review of academic and policy literature that formed the scoping stage of this project.

Findings

Public sector commissioners and TSOs often struggle to make sense of each others' world views and working assumptions. This cannot be easily overcome but ways of improving dialogue are proposed through exploration of third sector outcomes and entrepreneurial language, practices and mindsets.

Originality/value

This paper offers a new, grounded reflection on the nexus of public sector contracts, entrepreneurship and third sector values.

Details

Social Enterprise Journal, vol. 6 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-8614

Keywords

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