Mission-drift? The Third Sector and the pressure to be business-like: Evidence from Job Services Australia
AuthorConsidine, M; O'Sullivan, SB; Nguyen
Source TitleThird Sector Review
PublisherAustralian and New Zealand Third Sector Research
AffiliationSchool of Culture and Communication
School of Social and Political Sciences
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsConsidine, M., O'Sullivan, S. B. & Nguyen (2014). Mission-drift? The Third Sector and the pressure to be business-like: Evidence from Job Services Australia. Third Sector Review, 20 (1), pp.87-107
Access StatusOpen Access
Becoming more businesslike is seen by many not-for-profit (NFP) agencies as necessary for survival, if not expansion, under the conditions required by New Public Management (NPM). Charged with delivering social services in a competitive environment, NFP agencies must often compete with each other, and with for-profit (FP) organisations, in order to obtain and retain government contracts. While some things are known about why NFP agencies emulate FPs, and the means by which they do so, little is known about whether adopting a more businesslike approach yields benefits. In this study we compare attitudes to profit maximisation against other client-oriented goals among NFP agencies delivering contracted employment services in Australia. We find that profit-maximising attitudes have increased dramatically between 1998 and 2012. Yet despite this, we find no correlation between a profit-orientated disposition and the rate at which services improve for clients. We conclude that while becoming more businesslike might be beneficial for a host of reasons, it does not appear to help agencies meet their key performance indicator: achieving positive outcomes for those they seek to serve.
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