This article explores collaboration between voluntary and public sectors through the lens of theories that surface the tensions of inter-organisational collaboration. These theories identify the tensions that actors experience, the inherent tensions that underlie these experiences, and the ways in which actors manage these tensions. Drawing on a study of children's services in the United Kingdom, the article identifies three inter-related tensions experienced by voluntary sector participants – tensions between agency and dependency, values and pragmatism, and distinctiveness and incorporation. While these can be seen to relate to the inherent unity/diversity tension identified in the literature (Ospina and Saz-Carranza, 2010), the article argues that they also relate to inter-organisational context, and more specifically, to the power asymmetry between sectors.
This paper explores the role played by social media and physical community space in creating community identity in a new residential area. It argues that physical space still matters in a digital era, as social media tends to draw similar people together, rather than building bridges between diverse groups of residents. To build community identity that is both cohesive and inclusive, it is important that community space is available from early on in a building programme.
Collaboration between the UK’s voluntary organisations and public agencies is often viewed through the lens of the changing welfare state. In this paper we contrast cross-sector collaboration in children’s services – as an example of the ‘welfare state’ – with collaboration in flood risk management – as an example of the ‘environmental state’. We argue that different state histories have implications for understanding how cross-sector collaboration develops, and how power dynamics play out between public and voluntary sector actors in a particular policy domain.
The relational processes and practices that create and sustain grassroots associations have received limited attention from researchers. This article addresses this gap, exploring collective leadership of grassroots associations through a ‘leadership-as-practice’ lens (; ). It adopts the concept of ‘bundles’ of leadership practice () to analyse data from a single ethnographic case study. Adopting this conceptual lens, we identify a set of ‘bundles’ of related practices – organising, engaging and accounting – that constitute the enduring reality of the grassroots association’s collective leadership.
This paper sets out to assess the state of the academic, and policy and practice, debate around leadership in the UK voluntary sector context. There has been a lack of sustained academic interest in the notion of leadership in the UK, and equally a lack of dialogue between academia, policy and practice. As a result, it is often far from clear whether there is any agreement about what leadership consists of, and the difference that ‘improved’ leadership might make. The paper considers what is meant by leadership in the voluntary sector, and considers three dominant approaches that have been used to frame leadership in debates within the sector. The three themes we identify in existing literature are person-centred approaches, process approaches, and debates that are concerned with issues of representativeness. In particular, it draws attention to the over-reliance on individual or person-centred accounts of leadership in the sector. The paper posits instead the promise of accounts that draw attention to collective notions of leadership, and the implications of a more widespread adoption of such frames for leadership development practice and research.