Do business practices help or hinder the management of non-profits?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Despite business practices being touted as a way to improve non-profit management, surprisingly little is known about whether or how they could yield benefits in non-profit organisations. Drawing on examples from recent research, this paper examines how many of the assumptions underlying the productive use of business practices may not hold in the non-profit context. In such contexts, unreflective use of business practices is likely to crowd out the values commitment of non-profits, and be counterproductive to the achievement of their missions. A more reflective use of business practices involves adapting to the potentially different operating and accountability contexts experienced by non-profits, infusing business practices with values such as care, compassion, playfulness and plurality. The use of this style of business practices can not only help mission achievement by harnessing the energy, values and commitment of non-profits, but also provide a model for the effective management of organisations more generally.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-24
Number of pages20
JournalThird Sector Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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