Contextual Factors and Negotiating Spaces: Exploring the Emergence of Nonprofit and Hybrid Voluntary Organizations

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Abstract

The emergence of nonprofit organizations has largely been explained by the prevalent “three failures” theory. However, evidence suggests that such theories fail to capture a variety of contextual nuances that may influence nonprofit formation. In particular, these theories have remained relatively silent about the emergence of hybrid voluntary organizations. This article posits the notion that some nonprofit organizations (for example, hybrid voluntary organizations) emerge through cross-sector negotiations, amid a number of social, policy, and political contextual complexities. We contend that any theory purporting to explain the emergence of nonprofit organizations should not neglect to account for the role contextual factors play in defining their emergence and their subsequent character and function.

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