Promoting civil society in Third Sector organizations through participatory management patterns

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The paper reviews the literature on the unique attributes of non-profit organizations (NPOs) as compared to business and/or public organizations. It shows that this literature is not dealing in detail with the unique organizational attributes of NPOs and proposes ways to do that. It identifies four organizational sub-systems where unique attributes can find their expression: (1) service delivery; (2) governance; (3) participants/workforce; (4) resourcing. It then links this literature to the literature on the Third/non-profit Sector and its unique societal roles. The paper suggests that in order for Third Sector organizations to fulfill their unique societal role of contribution to civil society, the structure of their sub-systems and their management patterns should provide opportunities for participatory practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-412
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Management Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2010


  • Civil society
  • Organizational sub-systems
  • Participatory management patterns
  • Societal roles of Third Sector
  • Unique attributes of NPOs


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