Change and Tensions in Non-profit Organizations: Beyond the Isomorphism Trajectory

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Research on the relationship between non-profit organizations (NPOs) and the public sector has been dominated by predictions of isomorphism where change and tensions in NPOs are attributed an imposing institutional setting. This article argues that research represents a selective perspective on organizational life due to its portrayal of organizational change as synonymous with an isomorphic, linear trajectory. The purpose of this article is to illustrate different sources and characteristics of change and tension. The article presents an analytical framework comprising of four components: evolving change, episodic change, inherent dilemmas, and conflicting logics, facilitating an understanding of the organization as movement. The analysis of a case study organization suggests that by identifying different dimensions of changes and tensions we can gain a richer understanding of the complexity of processes underpinning the organization as movement. The analysis reveals how multiple, parallel processes related to change and tensions generate reflections that drive integrity and identity formation at individual and organizational levels.
Original languageSwedish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Sociology

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