The Application of Strategic Management principles in the Voluntary Sector: A case study of a small Scottish voluntary organisation
Some commentators suggest that the principles of strategic management are not easily applied to the voluntary sector. This paper contends that the current political, economic and social climate requires that the sector adopts strategy process principles and that strategic management frameworks can help organisations plan effectively for the longer term. The paper adopts a case study approach using a small Scottish voluntary organisation, Circle, to consider the appropriateness of the strategy process to its operations. It will outline the history of strategic planning in the voluntary sector, identify features of the current external environment which impact on its development, and consider the internal factors which affect its positioning in relation to the external environment. A SWOT analysis will demonstrate the applicability of the strategy process to Circle and a brief consideration of strategy evaluation will follow. The paper concludes that features of the strategy process can help small voluntary organisations in their planning within an increasingly complex and dynamic environment.
The voluntary sector is variously referred to as third sector, not-for-profit sector or charitable sector. For the purposes of this paper the term ‘voluntary sector’ is used.
Almost thirty years ago Wortman (1981) called for and predicted the adoption of strategic management by the voluntary sector, arguing along with others (Newman and Wallender, 1978) that the sector was poorly managed. He called for simple conceptual and theoretical papers to examine the strategic management concept for the voluntary sector. Walker (1983) also noted the paucity of research and theory on strategic management within the sector. He suggested that assertions of poor management within the voluntary sector were based on a...