'The Income Generation Engine' in Social Business

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    Purpose: The objective of this article is to conceptualise how voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations in England responded to a dramatic shift in the policy and funding environment since 2010 (or ‘austerity’). It does this by investigating how case study VCS organisations have attempted to continue to deliver ‘NR’ (NR) support to disadvantaged areas.
    Design/methodology/approach: This article is informed by research undertaken over five years during a period a period of dramatic policy shift in England, between 2009 and 2013. Through a set of case study ‘NR’ organisations, primarily from the VCS, it utilises existing literature and primary quantitative and qualitative data on organisational change in the case studies to conceptualise how VCS organisations have attempted to survive an austere environment whilst continuing their missions of supporting disadvantaged communities.
    Findings: Those VCS organisations considered ‘successful’ have adapted their strategies and structures around what might be called an ‘income generation engine’ in order to navigate an austere environment. There are both strengths and weaknesses to the income generation engine which has implications for social business organisations and their beneficiaries.
    Limitations: Case study research is always very limited in terms of its generalisability and different cases may have resulted in different findings, but the aim of this ‘thought piece’ article is to raise awareness of the speculative or emergent concept of ‘the income generation engine’ in order to increase understandings of how VCS organisations might increasingly need to operate in an austere environment, and their implications.
    Contributions: This article has developed the concept of ‘the income generation engine’ from experiences of practice during a period of dramatic shift in policy and funding environments. It has implications for practice and policy, as well as conceptual debate.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)37-47
    Number of pages11
    JournalSocial Business
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018

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    • Voluntary and community organisations
    • organisational development
    • income generation
    • neighbourhood regeneration

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


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