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Managing non-profit organisations: towards a new approach

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This paper puts forth the thesis that the management of non-profit organisations is often ill understood because we proceed from the wrong assumptions about how these organisations operate. Based on this premise, this paper develops a model of the non-profit form as a conglomerate of multiple organisations with multiple bottom lines that demand a variety of different management approaches and styles: a holistic conception that emphasises the diversity of orientations within and outside the organisation; a normative dimension that includes not only economic aspects but also the importance of values and politics; a strategic-developmental dimension that sees organisations as evolving systems encountering problems and opportunities that frequently involve fundamental dilemmas; and an operative dimension that deals with the everyday functioning of organisations. In a third part, the paper presents the basic contours of an analytic approach that tries to accommodate the distinct management challenges faced by non-profit organisations.

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