Businesses, nonprofits and strategic bridging: the case of workforce integration in Israel

Hagai Katz, Uzi Sasson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose Many social services today are provided through solutions that require interaction between nonprofits and business. The purpose of this study is to examine the nature of the relationship between the different players in such mixed markets. One such market is workforce integration programs for persons with disabilities. The authors studied the relationships and interactions between collaborating nonprofits and business firms within the context of actor-network theory (ANT) by examining the process of workforce integration. Design/methodology/approach The study included in-depth interviews and questionnaires with 47 managers of employers that were hiring persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as in-depth interviews with ten senior managers in five nonprofit organizations involved in work integration of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The interview data were analyzed using qualitative thematic analysis and content analysis. Findings The authors found an intricate relationship between employers and nonprofits promoting workforce integration. While it seemed that both players were involved in different and complementary aspects and phases of the integration process, the relationship revealed complicated power relations, interdependencies and imbalanced collaborative patterns, resulting in relatively symmetric relations, known as strategic bridging. Practical implications Business compliance with workforce integration depends on continued support by nonprofit services. Social implications Findings are essential for promoting workforce integration, and policies need to support the role of nonprofit services. Originality/value The study highlights the co-dependence between nonprofits and businesses, contrary to common views that nonprofits are dependent on businesses.
Original languageEnglish GB
Pages (from-to)121-135
Number of pages15
JournalSociety and Business Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017


  • Sociology
  • Collaboration
  • Disabled people
  • Social services
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Social responsibility
  • Privatization
  • Return to work programs
  • Employers
  • Labor market
  • Workforce


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