The Blurring Hypothesis Reconsidered: How Sector Still Matters to Practitioners
Blurring boundaries, Sector theory, Social entrepreneurship, Social enterprise, Institutions, Organization theory, Fair trade
This article asks: Is sector still a useful concept for social science research on nonprofit organizations and related fields, such as social entrepreneurship? We answer that it is relevant to practitioners for whom sector boundaries remain an important orienting feature of their organizational worldviews. This observation is at odds with the recent scholarship on “blurring” sector boundaries, much of which suggests that sector is increasingly an outdated concept. Data from one uniquely blended space—the fair trade industry—coupled with insights from Scott’s (Institutions and organizations: ideas, interests, and identities, 2014) theory about the three pillars of institutions suggest that sector remains meaningful despite developments that appear to render it obsolete.
Original Publication Citation
Child, Curtis, Eva Witesman, Robert Spencer. 2016. “The Blurring Hypothesis Reconsidered: How Sector Still Matters to Practitioners.” Voluntas 27(4):1831-1852.
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Child, Curtis; Witesman, Eva; and Spencer, Robert, "The Blurring Hypothesis Reconsidered: How Sector Still Matters to Practitioners" (2016). All Faculty Publications. 2710.
Family, Home, and Social Sciences
International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2015