- organizational practices for schooling citizens in democracy and linking participation in the organization with broader political participation;
- communication practices that can be used to manage the mission-market tension (i.e. the tension between social mission and operating within a market economy); alternative governance practices and their implications for which accountability relationships are prioritized, why and how.
We cannot uncritically assume that morality and ethics are inherent to all nonprofit work, that all CSOs are sites of democracy and participation or that all civil society leadership development pays sufficient attention to such issues.
But, the featured NVSQ research – which will receive in-depth coverage direct from the authors in future posts – is testimony that there are nonprofit practitioners globally who remain committed to advancing democratic and participatory organizational forms, processes and practices; committed to what is often considered to be the essence of CSOs’ distinctiveness.
It is through observation of such practices that nonprofit researchers are providing insights into the very tensions and dilemmas that require a strong moral compass from our leaders.
Classrooms, lecture theatres and training rooms are exactly the places where we can come full loop and connect these kinds of research insights back to practice by asking serious moral and ethical questions about how to make difficult judgment calls.
Tracey Coule is research-to-practice editor, Non profit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly (NVSQ) and reader in non-profit governance and organization at Sheffield Business School. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on the NVSQ website blog on 14 November 2016. The original article can be found here.