Title

The Blurring Hypothesis Reconsidered: How Sector Still Matters to Practitioners

Keywords

Blurring boundaries, Sector theory, Social entrepreneurship, Social enterprise, Institutions, Organization theory, Fair trade

Abstract

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odds with the recent scholarship on “blurring” sector boundaries, much of which suggests that sector is increasingly an outdated concept.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.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2016-8

Language

English

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Department

Sociology

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor

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