The distinctiveness of smaller voluntary organisations providing welfare services

DAYSON, Christopher, BENNETT, Ellen, DAMM, Christopher, REES, James, JACKLIN-JARVIS, Carol, PATMORE, Beth, BAKER, Leila, TERRY, Vita and TURNER, Katie (2022). The distinctiveness of smaller voluntary organisations providing welfare services. Journal of Social Policy.

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Official URL: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of...
Open Access URL: https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambri... (Published version)
Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047279421000970
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    Abstract

    This article presents empirical findings about the distinctiveness of smaller voluntary sector organisations (VSOs) involved in welfare service provision, based on in-depth, qualitative case study research. We identify a series of organisational features and practices which can mean that smaller VSOs are distinctive from larger organisations. These include how they are governed and managed, their approach to their work, and their position relative to other providers. To explain our findings, we draw on the concept of stakeholder ambiguity. This idea was posited by Billis and Glennerster (1998) and is commonly cited in relation to distinctiveness. We identified several manifestations of stakeholder ambiguity and confirm the concept’s explanatory importance, although we argue that our understanding of distinctiveness is enhanced when stakeholder ambiguity is considered alongside other closely related features, such as being embedded in a local geographic community and informal familial care-based organisational cultures. Our findings also highlight the fragility of smaller VSOs. We argue that this combination of distinctiveness and fragility creates a tension for social policy makers, many of whom recognise the value of smaller VSOs and the risks that they face but must weigh this against a requirement to allocate resources for statutory services as effectively as possible.

    Item Type: Article
    Uncontrolled Keywords: 1605 Policy and Administration; 1607 Social Work; 2203 Philosophy; Political Science & Public Administration
    Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047279421000970
    SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
    Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
    Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2021 15:03
    Last Modified: 24 Feb 2022 10:15
    URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/29360

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