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From Advocacy to Social Innovation: A Typology of Social Change Efforts by Nonprofits

  • Micheal L. ShierEmail author
  • Femida Handy
Original Paper

Abstract

Literature describing the social change efforts of direct social service nonprofits focuses primarily on their political advocacy role or the ways in which practitioners in organizations address individual service user needs. To elicit a more in-depth understanding of the varying ways that these nonprofits promote social change, this research builds off of the innovation literature in nonprofits. It presents a model of the typology of social innovations based on the empirical findings from survey data from a random sample (n = 241) and interview data (n = 31) of direct social service nonprofits in Alberta, Canada. Exploratory principal factor analysis was used to uncover the underlying structure of the varying types of social innovations undertaken by direct service nonprofits. Results support a three-factor model including socially transformative, product, and process-related social innovations. The qualitative findings provide a conceptual map of the varied foci of social change efforts.

Keywords

Social innovation Nonprofits Social services Social work Advocacy 

Résumé

Les publications décrivant les efforts de changement social des organisations à but non lucratif de services sociaux directs portent principalement sur leur rôle de sensibilisation politique ou la façon dont les intervenants de ces organisations répondent aux besoins des utilisateurs en termes de services individuels. Pour obtenir une compréhension plus approfondie des différentes façons dont ces organisations à but non lucratif promeuvent le changement social, ces recherches s’appuient sur des publications innovantes concernant ces organisations. Elles présentent un modèle de la typologie des innovations sociales basées sur des résultats empiriques issus de données de l’enquête auprès d’un échantillon aléatoire (n = 241) et des données d’entretiens (n = 31) d’organisations à but non lucratif de services sociaux directs en Alberta, au Canada. Une analyse factorielle exploratoire principale a été utilisée afin de découvrir la structure sous-jacente des différents types d’innovations sociales menées par les organisations à but non lucratif de services directs. Les résultats confirment un modèle à trois facteurs, notamment des innovations sociales visant à la transformation sociale liées aux produits et aux processus. Les résultats qualitatifs fournissent une carte conceptuelle des foyers variés des efforts de changement social.

Zusammenfassung

Die Literatur, die die Bemühungen zum sozialen Wandel seitens gemeinnütziger Organisationen, die direkte Sozialleistungen anbieten, beschreibt, konzentriert sich hauptsächlich auf deren Rolle als Vertreter politischer Interessen oder auf die Art und Weise, in der Praktiker in Organisationen auf die Bedürfnisse einzelner Leistungsempfänger eingehen. Zur Vermittlung eines tiefer gehenden Verständnisses der unterschiedlichen Methoden, mit denen diese gemeinnützigen Organisationen einen sozialen Wandel fördern, baut diese Untersuchung auf die Innovationsliteratur gemeinnütziger Organisationen auf. Es wird ein Modell zur Typologie sozialer Innovationen präsentiert, das auf den emprischen Ergebnissen aus Untersuchungsdaten einer Stichprobe (n = 241) und Befragungsdaten (n = 31) von gemeinnützigen Organisationen in Alberta, Kanada, die direkte Sozialleistungen bereitstellen, beruht. Man wandte die exploratorische Hauptfaktorenanalyse an, um die zugrunde liegende Struktur der unterschiedlichen Arten sozialer Innovationen gemeinnütziger Organisationen, die direkte Leistungen anbieten, zu ergründen. Die Ergebnisse unterstützen ein Drei-Faktoren-Modell, das soziale Innovationen im Zusammenhang mit sozialen Transformationen, Produkten und Prozessen einschließt. Die qualitativen Ergebnisse liefern ein Begriffsbild der unterschiedlichen Schwerpunkte bei den Bemühungen zum sozialen Wandel.

Resumen

El material publicado que describe los esfuerzos de cambio social de las organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro de servicios sociales directos se centra fundamentalmente en su papel de defensa política o en las formas en las que los profesionales de las organizaciones abordan las necesidades individuales del usuario de servicios. Para obtener una comprensión más profunda de las variadas formas en las que estas organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro promueven el cambio social, la presente investigación se basa en el material publicado sobre innovación en las organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro. Presenta un modelo de la tipología de las innovaciones sociales basado en los hallazgos empíricos de datos de encuestas de una muestra aleatoria (n = 241) y datos de entrevistas (n = 31) de organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro de servicios sociales directos en Alberta (Canadá). Se utilizó el análisis factorial exploratorio para descubrir la estructura subyacente de los diversos tipos de innovaciones sociales emprendidas por las organizaciones sin ánimo de lucro de servicios sociales directos. Los resultados apoyan un modelo de tres factores que incluye innovaciones sociales relacionadas con productos y procesos socialmente transformadores. Los hallazgos cualitativos proporcionan un mapa conceptual de los diversos enfoques de los esfuerzos a favor del cambio social.

摘要

介绍直接社会服务非营利性组织在社会变革中所作的努力的文献主要关注其政治倡导作用或者该等组织成员在应对个体服务用户需求中所采取的方式。为了更深刻地理解这些非营利性组织在促进社会变革中所采取的各种方式,本文以非营利性组织创新文献为基础进行研究。根据以下资料的实证结果,本文介绍了社会创新类型学模型:对随机样本(数量 = 241)进行调查所获得的数据、对加拿大亚伯达省的直接社会服务非营利性组织的访谈数据(数量 = 31)。使用探索性主要因子分析法揭示直接服务非营利性组织所从事的各种社会创新活动的基础结构。结果为一个三因子模型提供支持,该模型包括社会变革性社会创新、与产品与流程相关的社会创新。定性结果为社会变革工作的不同焦点提供了概念图。

要約

直接社会サービスを行う非営利団体による社会的変化の取り組みを説明する文献では、主として政治支援運動の役割あるいは実践者が個々のサービス・ユーザーの必要性への対処法に焦点を当てる。これらの非営利団体による社会的変化を促進する様々な方法をより深く理解するために、本研究では非営利団体の技術革新の文献を構築する。カナダのアルバータ州で直接社会サービスを行う非営利団体における無作為標本(n = 241)とインタビュー・データ(n = 31)に基づく調査データから、経験的な調査結果に基づく社会革新の類型化モデルを提示する。探索的因子分析を用いて、直接サービスを行う非営利団体による社会革新における様々なタイプの基本構造を明らかにする。結果から、社会革新における製品およびプロセスを含む3つの要因モデルを支持する。質的調査結果では、社会的変化の取り組みにおける様々な焦点での概念的な位置を提供する。

ملخص

تركز الأدبيات التي تصف جهود التغيير الإجتماعي للخدمة الإجتماعية المباشرة لمنظمات غير ربحية في المقام الأول على دورها في الدعوة السياسية أو الطرق التي بها الممارسين في المنظمات يتحدثون عن خدمة إحتياجات المستخدمين الفردية. للحصول على فهم بعمق للطرق المختلفة لهذه المنظمات الغير ربحية في تشجيع التغيير الإجتماعي ، يستند هذا البحث على أدب الإبتكار في المنظمات الغير ربحية. يقدم نموذج لتصنيف الإبتكارات الإجتماعية على أساس النتائج التجريبية من بيانات إستطلاع رأي من عينة عشوائية (ن = 241) وبيانات المقابلات (ن = 31) للخدمة الإجتماعية المباشرة لمنظمات غير ربحية في ألبرتا، كندا. تم استخدام إستكشاف تحليل العوامل الرئيسية للكشف عن البنية الأساسية لأنواع مختلفة من الإبتكارات الإجتماعية التي تقوم بها المنظمات الغير ربحية للخدمة المباشرة. النتائج تدعم نموذج لثلاث عوامل بما يشمل التحول الإجتماعي ٬ المنتجات و الإجراءات المرتبطة بالإبتكارات الإجتماعية. تقدم هذه النتائج النوعية خريطة مفاهيمية لمركز نشاط متنوع لجهود التغيير الإجتماعي.

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was possible due to the generous support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Resource Council of Canada’s Doctoral Fellowship Program.

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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social WorkUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.School of Social Policy and PracticeUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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