The role of power in nonprofit innovation

Dover, Graham and Lawrence, Thomas B. (2012) The role of power in nonprofit innovation. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 41 (6). pp. 991-1013.


Innovation is a critical issue for nonprofit organizations and the ability to innovate over time represents an important, unresolved challenge. In this article, we examine continuous innovation in nonprofits from a political perspective. We explore the role of power in shaping how and whether nonprofits are able to continuously innovate. More specifically, we examine how different forms of power are tied to different stages in the innovation process and the implications when those forms of power are under- or overdeveloped. We argue that certain characteristics of nonprofits can complicate the power dynamics associated with each stage of the innovation process. We propose that power imbalances in nonprofits can lead to four innovation pathologies: “nothing happens,” “nothing changes,” “nothing scales,” or “nothing adapts.” This article provides a framework to guide future research into nonprofit innovation as well as a practical tool for individuals and organizations who seek to facilitate continuous innovation.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: nonprofit, networks, mission, goals, organizational change, social networks
Subject(s): Strategy; Entrepreneurship & Global business
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2015 08:42
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2018 16:01
Funders: N/A

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