Managing Non Profit Organisations

Topics: Management, Non-profit organization, Voluntary association Pages: 27 (7695 words) Published: July 16, 2013
Managing non-profit organisations: Towards a new approach

Civil Society Working Paper 1

Helmut K. Anheier

January 2000

This paper puts forth the thesis that the management of non-profit organisations is often ill understood because we proceed from the wrong assumptions about how these organisations operate. Based on this premise, this paper develops a model of the non-profit form as a conglomerate of multiple organisations with multiple bottom lines that demand a variety of different management approaches and styles: a holistic conception that emphasises the diversity of orientations within and outside the organisation; a normative dimension that includes not only economic aspects but also the importance of values and politics; a strategic-developmental dimension that sees organisations as evolving systems encountering problems and opportunities that frequently involve fundamental dilemmas; and an operative dimension that deals with the everyday functioning of organisations. In a third part, the paper presents the basic contours of an analytic approach that tries to accommodate the distinct management challenges faced by non-profit organisations.

The author would to thank Stefan Toepler for suggesting to explore normative management models, and the students at the Centre for Civil Society for many helpful comments.

About the author
Helmut K. Anheier holds a PhD from Yale University, and is the director of the Centre for Civil Society at the London School of Economics and an associate professor of sociology at Rutgers University. His current research interests include civil society, the voluntary sector, organisational studies, policy analysis and comparative methodology. He is involved in research on a comparative study on the size, scope and role of the non-profit sector in over thirty developed and developing countries.

Email: Tel: +44 (0)20 7955 7360 Fax: +44 (0)20 7955 6039

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr Helmut K. Anheier, Centre for Civil Society, LSE, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE, United Kingdom.

Managing non-profit organisations: Towards a new approach

Managing non-profit organisations: Toward a new approach

Helmut K. Anheier CONTENTS Introduction The issues Implications: Towards a comprehensive management approach A model of non-profit organisations Combining key elements Conclusion 1 3 8 10 12 13

Managing non-profit organisations: Towards a new approach

Managing non-profit organisations: Towards a new approach

Helmut K. Anheier 1 Introduction
The topic of this paper is as difficult as it is challenging. It is difficult because the paper can but scratch the surface of some of the major issues involved, and can, therefore, only superficially deal with some of their implications for our understanding of non-profit management theory and practice. It is challenging because the paper speaks against much of the conventional wisdom of standard management books on non-profit organisations; and accepting the major thrust of the argument presented here would ultimately call for a reappraisal of how we think about non-profit organisations and their management.

Several caveats are called for at the very beginning. First, several authors have written on the need to revisit the focus of non-profit management, and the major thrust of the argument developed in this paper owes much to their insights about the role of non-profit organisations in the United States and Europe (see, for example, Handy, 1988; Billis, 1989; and Hudson, 1999). Likewise, organisational theory and normative management approaches inform much of what this paper proposes (Powell and DiMaggio, 1991; Gomez and Zimmermann, 1993; Kanter and Summers, 1987; and Perrow, 1986). Yet the paper proceeds from the assumption that current management and organisational theories have not fully come to terms with a simple question: are non-profit organisations...
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