UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Not-for-profit agencies and privatization Terpenning, Greg Eldon


This study examines the impact of provincial government privatization initiatives on voluntary organizations that provide personal social services in Vancouver. A variety of key personnel in each of six very diverse agencies are interviewed, and the data from -these interviews is then qualitatively analyzed. The data suggests that: (1) organizations which are perceived to voluntarily alter their mission in response to privatization experience internal division, (2) dependence on contracting can pose a threat to the fundamental operating principles of an organization if those principles do not conform to a bureaucratic ideal, (3) there is a wide range of opinion within the voluntary sector regarding the motives of the provincial government for pursuing privatization, that these opinions have both a descriptive and a prescriptive function, and therefore relate to differences in the response of individual agencies to privatization, (4) that contracting alone is not an effective means for an agency to meet the additional demands that result from the reduction and elimination of public services, (5) that competition has generally increased throughout the voluntary sector as a result of privatization, (6) that privatization has resulted in gaps in service which it has become the de facto responsibility of the voluntary sector to address, and (7) that the decision-making structure of an organization is the most constant determining factor in regard to which opinion of government motivation will guide an agency's response to privatization. Concerns raised by professional associations and researchers in the field of social work regarding the potential negative implications of privatization for voluntary organizations are partially supported by this study. A theory of the impact of privatization on voluntary organizations is generated from the data.

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