Do You Know?
Governance & Management believes that quality research is the cornerstone of effective practice for nonprofit organisations. This page brings you outcomes of a particular research project. The “Recent Research” page of the Board Matters newsletter always provides more research examples.

How do nonprofit practitioners learn to understand themselves as nonprofit professionals?

“Although the literature has explored the extent and repercussions of nonprofits becoming more business-like and professionalised, little attention has been placed on the process through which this professionalisation occurs.”

The author has used autoethnography based on his experience as the co-founder and manager of a small nonprofit organisation. Autoethnography is a form of qualitative research in which an author uses self-reflection and writing to explore their personal experience and connect this autobiographical story to wider cultural, political, and social meanings and understandings. Topics discussed include how:

  • Nonprofit practitioners learn to understand themselves as nonprofit professionals.
  • The professionalisation process occurs in practice.
  • Nonprofit practitioners learn to see themselves and their practice through the mind-set of professionalisation.
  • Business-like management practices shape the professionalisation process.
  • These practices affect nonprofit practitioners’ subjectivity.

The author argues “that professionalisation is taught to nonprofit practitioners through two intertwined mechanisms: the ‘technologies of performance,’ which include funding, and evaluation and monitoring procedures; and ‘technologies of agency,’ which involve the often subtle socialisation mechanisms into the sector.

“Becoming Business-Like: Governing the Nonprofit Professional”
by Daniel King in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 46(2), 2017.