Voluntary Sector Organisation Workforce in Competitive Environment

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Voluntary sector organizations (VSOs) are experiencing increased and serious threats to their survival due to dramatic changes in their environments. As a result, a growing body of literature urges the voluntary sector organizations (VSOs) to adopt the best practices of the private sector, in order to more effectively compete for survival. Such advocates assume the generic character of private-sector management practices and inherent structural similarities across the voluntary and private sector organizations. However, such adaptation would fundamentally transform a VSO. This paper evaluates the impact of such competitive pressures and the organizations’ adaptive strategies on the VSOs’ workforce management. Workforce management models in both the private and voluntary sectors are explored and thereafter, using the neo-institutional and the resource dependence adaptive theoretical models, the paper explores the possible transformational effect of a VSO under a competitive environment. Three case study organizations, where change had occasioned stress, were studied. VSOs' adaptation leads to goals and mission drifts; erodes organizational independence and legitimacy, weakens VSOs' democratic accountability and reduces the wider participation voluntarism, informality and diversity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBritish Academy of Management
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2017


  • Voluntary Sector
  • Competitive Environment
  • Governance

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