Editor: Rita S. Mano

Learning Why and How: A Reader in Managing Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations

eBook: US $21 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $88
Printed Copy: US $78
Library License: US $84
ISBN: 978-1-60805-513-5 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-60805-451-0 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2012
DOI: 10.2174/97816080545101120101


Publications on non profit management reflect three main trends. Some books describe the nonprofit experience in different countries focusing on how these experiences reflect the case of a particular organization in its specific cultural context. These case studies provide an interesting, but not representative, documentation of the issues to be discussed. On the opposite end, other books introduce theoretical approaches and conceptual models that investigate the emergence of the nonprofit phenomenon in a comparative way. Finally, some other books focus on developing the understanding and provide the guidelines on specific themes e.g. accountability, change, marketing etc. Learning Why and How, in contrast to the above, accounts for a comprehensive view of the organizational complexity of management in the nonprofit sector.

This e-book provides a systemic view of nonprofit organizations linking micro and macro level aspects of management. It combines sociological, organizational and psychological elements of organization studies and provides an in-depth understanding of various issues and dilemmas among readers, students and executives of nonprofit organizations and civil society.

Indexed in: Book Citation Index, Social Sciences & Humanities, Scopus, EBSCO.


Managing nonprofit organizations is a challenging task. Academic and practicing individuals and groups are often puzzled with so many aspects and details to be considered in the analysis and understanding of the “behavior” of these new and yet old expressions of our civil interest in the welfare of other individuals and groups. The book seeks to provide the important and often difficult to decipher aspects in our encounter with the carriers of social justice and human services in the modern society.

The first three chapters engage in a general background of existing theoretical approaches. The first chapter discusses how nonprofit and other organizations are similar and different using various theoretical approaches. The chapter points to how unique and hence problematic issues lie behind currently used models of management; the quasi-economic models, the “heterogeneity assumption”, the principle of “lack of symmetry”, and the theory of consumer control are brought up form the existing literature to illuminate how conceiving nonprofits in our mind necessitates a wide basis of knowledge about their formation in the first place. Then in the second chapter an overview of basic organizational and management theories is provided referring to the effects of environment in organizing and managing organizational inputs, processes and outputs. Two approaches are presented: the technical approach focusing on efficient outcomes and the institutional approach focusing on the social scope and vision of the organizations. The effects of the stakeholders are presented as well to discuss the complex relationships between nonprofit organizations and their multiple constituents: Following this general orientation the way nonprofit human service organizations, communities and grass root groups define their official and operative goals is discussed showing the challenges associated with measuring performance because of the differences between stakeholders’ expectations.

After the completion of the general background the book takes a deeper look into the internal processes. The fourth, fifth and sixth chapter discuss the significance of the organization’s structure in the detection of environmental shifts using the concepts of mechanical and organic forms that enable flexibility in coping with threats. A central part of the structure is the composition of paid staff, volunteers and boards. Particular attention is paid to the involvement of volunteers. A discussion of traditional and current aspects of volunteering is provided highlighting newer forms of volunteering considering social status, recognition and political interests as part of the new needs of volunteers nowadays. Motivations, burnout and the need to develop proper strategies that encourage and retain volunteers are discussed as well.

Than the sixth and seven chapters raise many of the new challenges in the management of nonprofits: first and most acute is the organization’s need to develop proper coping strategies. The scope of pro-active and re-active coping methods is developed to discuss organizational change, marketing and commercialization as proactive methods and crisis management, learning as reactive methods. The last chapter introduces networking issues involved in the management of nonprofits including social networks.

A summary is provided to incorporate the variety of issues affecting practices and performance in the performance of nonprofits.

Rita S. Mano
University of Haifa
E-mail: ritamano@research.haifa.ac.il


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