Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Business Administration

No 1999:7:
The Organization of Non-Profit Activities

Sven-Erik Sjöstrand ()

Abstract: This paper is concerned with the different forms of organizations which emerge in a capitalist market society. A theory is presented which primarily aims to describe and explain the repertoire of organizational forms which occur in such economies. In this paper, there is an emphasis on the theoretical forms which are particularly important for the analysis and understanding of the ideell sector, a Swedish term roughly corresponding to the 'non-profit sector' (the preferred terminology in the United States), and as the 'voluntary' sector (a preferred name in United Kingdom).

This analysis is addressed to scholars who are interested in the theoretical aspects of organizing, and consequently have certain insights into institutional economics, socio-economics, and organization theory. Particularly, it is aimed at actors engaged in exploring the ideell sector.

There is very little information about how these ideell (non-profit; voluntary) organizations "work", that is to say how they are managed, organized and how they reproduce themselves. This article represents an attempt to correct this deficiency to some extent, in the form of a theoretical framework developed in this area by the author over the past decade (Sjöstrand, e.g. 1985, 1992, 1993c, and 1997). This theory primarily aims to describe and explain the repertoire of organizations, which emerge in a society and it permits comparative analyses of the characteristics of these various organizational forms. At the same time, this theory is intended to provide a basis for describing the action rationalities of different organizations.

Keywords: Non-profit sector; organization; organizational form; multirationality; interaction rationale; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: P10; (follow links to similar papers)

32 pages, September 1999

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