The Boundaries of Social Enterprise: When Can a Failing Business Succeed in Nonprofit Form?

Dennis R. Young | Lewis Faulk | Nicholas Harvey

EMES Conferences Selected Papers Series, ECSP-B08-11
Thematic line: Management and governance of the Third Sector: Theoretical and applied approaches

While the importance of the management function in non-profit organizations is now widely recognized, uncertainty remains about the distinctions between managing non-profits versus managing a for-profit business. In this paper, we argue that while the basic challenges of managing organizations are generic, the strategies that non-profit organizations use to address these challenges must often differ from those used in business.

The purpose of this paper is to explore some of these differences. To do so, we apply a particular framework of analysis derived from utilizing musical ensembles as a metaphor for organizations (Young, 2004). The Music of Management frames five major challenges facing the management of any organization.

In brief, these functions are the coordination of activities and resources, the motivation of people, the identification of an environmental or market niche in which the organization is able to thrive, and adaptation to change and innovation over time. Attending to these challenges in tandem were essential to achieving organizational excellence (Young, 2004).

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