The Blurring Hypothesis Reconsidered: How Sector Still Matters to Practitioners

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Abstract

This article asks: Is sector still a useful concept for social science research on nonprofit organizations and related fields, such as social entrepreneurship? We answer that it is relevant to practitioners for whom sector boundaries remain an important orienting feature of their organizational worldviews. This observation is at odds with the recent scholarship on “blurring” sector boundaries, much of which suggests that sector is increasingly an outdated concept. Data from one uniquely blended space—the fair trade industry—coupled with insights from Scott’s (Institutions and organizations: ideas, interests, and identities, 2014) theory about the three pillars of institutions suggest that sector remains meaningful despite developments that appear to render it obsolete.

Keywords

Blurring boundaries Sector theory Social entrepreneurship Social enterprise Institutions Organization theory Fair trade 

Résumé

Cet article pose la question suivante : le secteur est-il encore un concept utile pour la recherche en sciences sociales sur les organisations à but non lucratif et les domaines connexes, tels que l’entreprenariat social ? Nous répondons qu’il est pertinent pour les praticiens pour lesquels les limites du secteur restent un élément important d’orientation de leurs visions du monde organisationnelles. Cette observation est en contradiction avec la bourse d’études récente sur la « dilution » des limites de secteur, dont la majeure partie suggère que ce secteur est de plus en plus désuet. Les données d’un espace unique mixte — le secteur du commerce équitable — associées à l’éclairage apporté par la théorie de Scott (2014) sur les trois piliers des institutions suggèrent que ce secteur demeure significatif malgré les évènements qui semblent le rendre obsolète.

Zusammenfassung

Dieser Beitrag beschäftigt sich mit der Frage, ob der Begriff „Sektor“noch immer ein nützliches Konzept ist für sozialwissenschaftliche Studien über Non-Profit-Organisationen und damit verbundene Bereiche, wie beispielsweise das soziale Unternehmertum. Unsere Antwort lautet, dass es für Praktiker relevant ist, für die Sektorgrenzen weiterhin ein wichtiges Orientierungsmerkmal in ihren organisatorischen Weltanschauungen darstellen. Diese Beobachtung widerspricht der jüngsten Forschung zur „Verwischung“der Sektorgrenzen, wo häufig behauptet wird, dass der „Sektor“zunehmend ein veraltetes Konzept ist. Daten aus einem einzigartigen gemischten Bereich - der Branche des fairen Handels - einhergehend mit den Erkenntnissen aus Scotts (2014) Theorie über die drei Säulen von Institutionen weisen darauf hin, dass der Begriff „Sektor“trotz der Entwicklungen, die ihn überholt erscheinen lassen, ein wichtiges Konzept bleibt.

Resumen

El presente artículo se pregunta: ¿Sigue siendo el sector un concepto útil para la investigación de la ciencia social sobre las organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro y campos relacionados, tales como en el emprendimiento social? Respondemos que esto es relevante para los profesionales para los que los límites del sector siguen siendo una característica orientadora importante de sus visiones del mundo organizativo. Esta observación está en desacuerdo con eruditos recientes sobre el “desibujamiento” de los límites sectoriales, muchos de los cuales sugieren que el sector es cada vez más un concepto desfasado. Los datos de un espacio combinado de forma única - la industria del comercio justo - junto con percepciones de la teoría de Scott (2014) sobre los tres pilares de las instituciones sugieren que el sector sigue siendo significativo a pesar de los desarrollos que parecen hacerlo obsoleto.

摘要

首先提出一个问题:“行业”是否仍然是非盈利性组织及相关领域,例如,公益创业,社会科学研究的一个有用的概念?我们的答案是,这个概念对认为行业界限仍是其组织世界观导向性特征的从业者来讲仍然重要。这一发现与最近的行业界限“模糊化”学术研究存在矛盾,后者表示,行业正在成为过时的概念。一个独具特色的混合领域,即公平贸易行业,的数据以及有关机构三大要素的Scott’s(2014)理论的见解表明,虽然发展形势使其看似过时,但行业这一概念仍然具有意义。

要約

本論文では以下について検討する。セクターはまだ非営利団体と社会起業家などの関連分における社会科学の研究のために有用な概念であるか。答えは、それが重要な方向づけを持つセクターの教会での実践者に関連する。この観察は「不明瞭な」セクターの境界における最近の資金運用に関する対立が、ますます時代遅れの概念を示唆している。ブレンドされた1つのスペースからデータ・フェア・トレード産業を用いると、スコットの理論 (2014)にある三本柱では、セクターは時代遅れに見える進展を遂げており、重要性を持つ。

ملخص

يسأل هذا المقال: هل القطاع لا يزال فكرة مفيدة لبحوث العلوم الإجتماعية في المنظمات الغير ربحية والمجالات ذات الصلة، مثل المشاريع الإجتماعية؟ نحن نجيب أنه وثيق الصلة للممارسين الذين حدود القطاع لا تزال سمة مهمة موجهة لوجهات نظرهم العالمية التنظيمية. هذه الملاحظة هي على خلاف مع المنح الدراسية الحالية على “عدم وضوح” حدود القطاع، الكثير منها يشير إلى أن القطاع بشكل متزايد مفهوم قديم. بيانات من مزيج فريد مكان- معرض التجارة و الصناعة يقترن مع رؤى من نظرية (Scott) (2014)عن الركائز الثلاثة للمؤسسات تشير إلى أن القطاع لا يزال ذا معنى على الرغم من التطورات التي تظهر لجعله عفا عليه الزمن.

Supplementary material

11266_2015_9564_MOESM1_ESM.docx (125 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 124 kb)

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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  2. 2.Romney Institute of Public ManagementBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA

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