Innovative Perspectives and Approaches
Edited by Chris Cornforth, William A. Brown
Routledge – 2013 – 296 pages
The current fashion for rolling back the state has seen the nonprofit or third sector playing an increasing role in what were previously the heartlands of the public sphere. The growing significance of the sector and its increasing reliance on public funds mean it has also attracted increased scrutiny. From outside the sector concerns have been raised about the accountability and performance of nonprofit organizations. From within the sector there has been considerable debate about whether the increased reliance on government contracts is in danger of undermining the sector’s independence. As a result the spotlight has fallen on governance arrangements and whether they are adequate to ensure that nonprofit organizations are effective and accountable for their actions, and able to retain their independence.
This collection offers a comprehensive assessment of research on the governance of nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit governance research has been dominated by the study of boards of unitary organizations and has paid insufficient attention to the multi-level nature of governance, governance relationships and dynamics, and the contribution of actors other than board members, to governance processes.
Drawing on the research of leading scholars in the US, UK, Canada and Australia, this book presents new perspectives on non-profit governance, which help to overcome these weaknesses. Written in an accessible manner the book will be of value to scholars, researchers, students, reflective practitioners and governance consultants and advisers.
'This new and illuminating study of non-profit governance advances both the theory and our practical understanding of how non-profit leaders do and should govern their institutions. It is a "must buy" book for students, academics and practitioners alike.' - Stephen Lee, Professor of Voluntary Sector Management, Cass Business School, UK
'Chris Cornforth and William A. Brown have here been able to put together a book that many will highly appreciate. The not-for-profit sector has for decades had a tremendous growth, and the governance of not-for-profit organizations is an extremely important topic that has not got the attention it should have had. On the other side the book shows that not-for-profit governance has much to teach for-profit organizations about governance. In this book we find a language about governance questions that is considerably further developed than what we find in most academic books about for-profit governance, and there are several thought provoking cases that also should be taken into account when understanding for-profit organizations. I find in particular interesting the presentations about the power games and activities inside the boardroom, the use of alternative sets of governance theories, and the dynamics based on how board designs will change over time and depend on the context. '
Morten Huse, Reinhard Mohn Endowed Chair of Managment and Governance, University of Witten/Herdecke, Germany and Professor of Organization and Management, BI Norwegian Business School
'Research on nonprofit governance would certainly be very different without the contributions of Chris Cornforth and William A. Brown. We therefore should be happy they took the trouble in collecting this set of state-of –the-research-art chapters on all relevant aspects of the topic.'
Professor Marc Jergen, Vrije Universiteit, Brussels
'Cornforth and Brown have compiled, and expertly edited, a collection of papers that present a fundamentally new, and extremely valuable, perspective on nonprofit governance. They do more than challenge traditional theories of governance. They propose new and promising approaches to understanding the form and function governing bodies and their interactions with the publics they serve.'
Kevin Kearns, Professor and Director Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership, University of Pittsburgh, USA
'This important book breaks valuable new ground in our understanding of nonprofit governance and offers creative conceptual insights for scholars and highly useful suggestions for improving nonprofit practice including more effective community engagement.'
Steven Rathgeb Smith, Syracuse University,USA
'This volume is solidly researched and well written. Most of the chapters are the work of full-time academics, but those by consultants are also focused on conceptualizing governance rather than simply providing extended blueprints for practitioners. A range of nonprofit organizations is studied, including the arts, health care, and public housing. Contributors look at nonprofits in several countries. Because of the specificity of the findings and the sophistication of the discussion, it should be especially beneficial for current leaders of nonprofit organizations and for graduate students in nonprofit management.'
Patricia Tweet, St. John Fisher College, Rochester, NY, USA
1. Nonprofit Governance Research: The Need for Innovative Perspectives and Approaches (Chris Cornforth) Part I: The State of the Field 2. Nonprofit Governance Research: A Review of the Field (Dave Renz and Fredrik Andersson) 3. Out of the Shadows: Nonprofit Governance Research from a Democratic and Critical Perspective (Chao Guo, Barbara Metelsky and Pat Bradshaw) Part II: Understanding Board Member Behaviour 4. The Role and Impact of Chairs and Nonprofit Boards (Yvonne Harrison, Vic Murray and Chris Cornforth) 5. Antecedents to Board Member Engagement in Deliberation and Decision Making (Will Brown) Part III: Board Processes and Behaviour 6. Learning to be, Learning About: A Socio-Cultural Learning Approach to Board Practice (Debra Beck) 7.Beneath the Surface and Around the Table: Exploring Group Dynamics in Boards (Wendy Reid) 8. Board Monitoring and Judgement as Processes of Sensemaking (Alan Hough, Myles McGregor-Lowndes and Christine Ryan) Part IV: Changing Governance Structures and Relationships 9. Dilemmas in the Board-Staff Dynamics of Nonprofit Governance (Wendy Reid and Johanne Turbide) 10. Community Engagement Governance: Engaging Stakeholders for Community Impact (Judy Freiwirth) 11. The Evolution of Corporate Governance Structures and Relationships in English Housing Association (David Mullins) Part V: Multi-Level Governance 12. The Dynamics of Nested Governance: A Systems Perspective (Pat Bradshaw and Madeline Toubiana) 13. Adaptive Governance in Collaborations: Design Propositions from Research and Practice (Melissa Stone, John Bryson and Barbara Crosby) 14. Lessons for Governance Research and Practice: Examining Behavioural Processes and Conceptual Resources (Paul Salipante)
Chris Cornforth is Professor of Organizational Governance and Management at the Open University, UKWilliam A. Brown is Associate Professor of Nonprofit Management at Texas A&M University, USA