Work Area Description

Despite a large literature focusing on public governance (at the environmental level), on self-evaluation and social return on investment (at the organizational level), little is known about both environmental and organizational barriers impeding the ability of third sector organizations to generate socio-economic impact and ways in which these barriers can be reduced or eliminated.

Objectives and Goals

Third Sector Impact aims to fill this knowledge gap by conducting research in European countries that represent a broad spectrum of positions on the continuum of government reliance on third parties and government incorporation of market-type tools to structure the resulting partnerships. Project countries differ also in the extent to which they have shifted their forms of interaction with TSOs from grants and subsidies to contracts and market-based vouchers and reimbursement systems. This will allow to assess the consequences of these different patterns of government-nonprofit interaction for the operation and effectiveness of third-sector organizations.

Drawing on neo-institutional theories TSI will explore

  • the consequences various forms of government-nonprofit interaction have on the phenomenon of organizational isomorphism (the blurring of boundaries among types of organizations and
  • which environmental and organizational arrangements most seriously impede (barriers) or enable (solutions) the impacts of the third sector in the areas of employment, work integration, urban regeneration, social capital and trust, civic engagement, innovation, sense of well-being among European citizens.