Advanced search
1 file | 583.25 KB

Steering civil society towards the market? A mixed-methods study of the governance arrangement of WISE in Flanders

Raf Pauly (UGent) , Bram Verschuere (UGent) and Filip De Rynck (UGent)
Author
Organization
Project
Civil society Innovation in Flanders - investigating and designing new models of social - CSI-Flanders
Abstract
In this article we analyse the interaction between government and civil society organisations (CSOs) in terms of ‘governance arrangements’, by which we refer to the set of formal and informal relations between actors of government and civil society and which encompasses the institutional context, vested interests and historical paths. This way, a complex picture emerges in which different types of relationships can be at work simultaneously. We use this framework here to examine how service-delivering CSO’s and governments jointly develop public policy as well as organise the implementation of these policies. We have collected data from WISE (Work Integration Social Enterprises) through survey research and further qualitative exploration. As part of a larger survey study on civil society, data was collected from 44 WISE. The qualitative study included 21 WISE and their two representative umbrella organisations (using policy documents and extensive interviews with senior management). WISE produce goods and services in order to provide labour that is adjusted to the needs of disadvantaged workers. In Flanders they have a long history, starting as private civil society initiatives that have gradually been institutionalised in a (post)corporatist welfare state. Recent regulatory reform has led to claims that these nonprofits are experiencing (renewed) pressures of marketisation that would lead to the dominance of a commercial logic (selling goods and services) over the social logic (providing adjusted labour). While these claims are usually examined from the perspective of governmental threat, we also look at the actions and strategies of CSO’s themselves. Two issues in particular are examined in this paper. Firstly, the strategies of CSO’s concerning the implementation of the new regulatory framework regarding the ‘reintegration’ of disadvantaged workers in the ‘mainstream’ labour market, and the selection of workers eligible for employment. While some strategies can be considered innovative (i.e. creating new organisational forms), mostly ‘soft’ strategies are employed (ranging from doing nothing to informal dialogue and ‘soft bending’ of the rules). Secondly, we look at the extent of commercialisation and managerialism in these CSOs, and whether these processes can be attributed to governmental policy or organisational strategies. Here, we see how the interaction of governmental policy (aiming for some level of performance measurement) and the commercial strategies and professionalisation of the CSO’s creates an increased tension between different institutional logics. While a definitive conclusion concerning marketisation is hard to make based on our data, some levels of marketisation can certainly be observed.
Keywords
public governance, civil society, WISE

Downloads

  • (...).pdf
    • full text
    • |
    • UGent only
    • |
    • PDF
    • |
    • 583.25 KB

Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Pauly, Raf, Bram Verschuere, and Filip De Rynck. 2018. “Steering Civil Society Towards the Market? A Mixed-methods Study of the Governance Arrangement of WISE in Flanders.” In 2018 EGPA Conference. Lausanne.
APA
Pauly, R., Verschuere, B., & De Rynck, F. (2018). Steering civil society towards the market? A mixed-methods study of the governance arrangement of WISE in Flanders. 2018 EGPA Conference. Presented at the 2018 EGPA Conference, Lausanne.
Vancouver
1.
Pauly R, Verschuere B, De Rynck F. Steering civil society towards the market? A mixed-methods study of the governance arrangement of WISE in Flanders. 2018 EGPA Conference. Lausanne; 2018.
MLA
Pauly, Raf, Bram Verschuere, and Filip De Rynck. “Steering Civil Society Towards the Market? A Mixed-methods Study of the Governance Arrangement of WISE in Flanders.” 2018 EGPA Conference. Lausanne, 2018. Print.
@inproceedings{8573613,
  abstract     = {In this article we analyse the interaction between government and civil society organisations (CSOs) in terms of {\textquoteleft}governance arrangements{\textquoteright}, by which we refer to the set of formal and informal relations between actors of government and civil society and which encompasses the institutional context, vested interests and historical paths. This way, a complex picture emerges in which different types of relationships can be at work simultaneously. We use this framework here to examine how service-delivering CSO{\textquoteright}s and governments jointly develop public policy as well as organise the implementation of these policies.

We have collected data from WISE (Work Integration Social Enterprises) through survey research and further qualitative exploration. As part of a larger survey study on civil society, data was collected from 44 WISE. The qualitative study included 21 WISE and their two representative umbrella organisations (using policy documents and extensive interviews with senior management). WISE produce goods and services in order to provide labour that is adjusted to the needs of disadvantaged workers. In Flanders they have a long history, starting as private civil society initiatives that have gradually been institutionalised in a (post)corporatist welfare state. Recent regulatory reform has led to claims that these nonprofits are experiencing (renewed) pressures of marketisation that would lead to the dominance of a commercial logic (selling goods and services) over the social logic (providing adjusted labour). While these claims are usually examined from the perspective of governmental threat, we also look at the actions and strategies of CSO{\textquoteright}s themselves. 

Two issues in particular are examined in this paper. Firstly, the strategies of CSO{\textquoteright}s concerning the implementation of the new regulatory framework regarding the {\textquoteleft}reintegration{\textquoteright} of disadvantaged workers in the {\textquoteleft}mainstream{\textquoteright} labour market, and the selection of workers eligible for employment. While some strategies can be considered innovative (i.e. creating new organisational forms), mostly {\textquoteleft}soft{\textquoteright} strategies are employed (ranging from doing nothing to informal dialogue and {\textquoteleft}soft bending{\textquoteright} of the rules). Secondly, we look at the extent of commercialisation and managerialism in these CSOs, and whether these processes can be attributed to governmental policy or organisational strategies. Here, we see how the interaction of governmental policy (aiming for some level of performance measurement) and the commercial strategies and professionalisation of the CSO{\textquoteright}s creates an increased tension between different institutional logics. While a definitive conclusion concerning marketisation is hard to make based on our data, some levels of marketisation can certainly be observed. 
},
  author       = {Pauly, Raf and Verschuere, Bram and De Rynck, Filip},
  booktitle    = {2018 EGPA Conference},
  keyword      = {public governance,civil society,WISE},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Lausanne},
  title        = {Steering civil society towards the market? A mixed-methods study of the governance arrangement of WISE in Flanders},
  year         = {2018},
}