Managing non-profit organisations:Towards a new approach
Civil Society Working Paper 1Helmut K. Anheier January 2000
This paper puts forth the thesis that the management of non-profit organisations is often illunderstood 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 managementapproaches and styles: a
holistic conception
 that emphasises the diversity of orientations within andoutside the organisation; a
normative dimension
 that includes not only economic aspects but also theimportance of values and politics; a
 strategic-developmental dimension
 that sees organisations asevolving systems encountering problems and opportunities that frequently involve fundamentaldilemmas; and an
operative dimension
 that deals with the everyday functioning of organisations. In athird part, the paper presents the basic contours of an analytic approach that tries to accommodate thedistinct management challenges faced by non-profit organisations.
The author would to thank Stefan Toepler for suggesting to explore normative management models,and the students at the Centre for Civil Society for many helpful comments.
About the author
Helmut K. Anheier holds a PhD from Yale University, and is the director of the Centre for CivilSociety at the London School of Economics and an associate professor of sociology at RutgersUniversity. His current research interests include civil society, the voluntary sector, organisationalstudies, policy analysis and comparative methodology. He is involved in research on a comparativestudy on the size, scope and role of the non-profit sector in over thirty developed and developingcountries.Email: Tel: +44 (0)20 7955 7360Fax: +44 (0)20 7955 6039Correspondence should be addressed to Dr Helmut K. Anheier, Centre for Civil Society, LSE,Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE, United Kingdom.
 Managing non-profit organisations: Towards a new approach
Managing non-profit organisations:Toward a new approachHelmut K. AnheierCONTENTSntroduction1he issues3mplications: Towards a comprehensive management approach8 model of non-profit organisations10Combining key elements12Conclusion13
 Managing non-profit organisations: Towards a new approach
Managing non-profit organisations:Towards a new approachHelmut K. Anheier1 Introduction
The topic of this paper is as difficult as it is challenging. It is difficult because the paper can butscratch the surface of some of the major issues involved, and can, therefore, only superficially dealwith some of their implications for our understanding of non-profit management theory and practice.It is challenging because the paper speaks against much of the conventional wisdom of standardmanagement books on non-profit organisations; and accepting the major thrust of the argument presented here would ultimately call for a reappraisal of how we think about non-profit organisationsand their management.Several caveats are called for at the very beginning. First, several authors have written on the need torevisit the focus of non-profit management, and the major thrust of the argument developed in this paper owes much to their insights about the role of non-profit organisations in the United States andEurope (see, for example, Handy, 1988; Billis, 1989; and Hudson, 1999). Likewise, organisationaltheory and normative management approaches inform much of what this paper proposes (Powell andDiMaggio, 1991; Gomez and Zimmermann, 1993; Kanter and Summers, 1987; and Perrow, 1986).Yet the paper proceeds from the assumption that current management and organisational theorieshave not fully come to terms with a simple question: are non-profit organisations sufficiently distinctfrom both business firm and public agency as to require separate management models and practices?Trying to answer this seemingly simple question leads to other, equally challenging ones: is non- profit management a variation of business management? Is it closer to public management andadministration? Or do we in fact find that the management of non-profit organisation is distinct from both, requiring models that fit neither the corporation nor the public agency?Of course, these questions assume some agreement of what non-profit organisations are, and how todefine them. Like all organisations, non-profit organisations vary much in terms of mission, size,mode of operation and impact, particularly in a cross-national sense. Some are closer to the model of a government agency; others may indeed resemble the business firm; and yet others may be littlemore than an informal network. These variations notwithstanding, however, there is an emergingconsensus among researchers in the field that non-profit organisations have the following corecharacteristics (Salamon and Anheier, 1997):
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