Hybridisation in a corporatist third sector regime: paradoxes of ‘responsibilised autonomy’
Delcour, Chloƫ; Waele, Els De; Hustinx, Lesley (2015)


This study explores the generally prevailing diagnosis of ‘hybridisation’ in the third sector under a new mode of governing welfare, with a focus on processes of devolution of public responsibility and ‘responsibilised autonomy’ for third sector organisations (TSOs) and volunteers.
To this end, we conducted semi-structured in-depth interviews with representatives from field-specific umbrella organisations and with officials working in independent governmental agencies. Our analysis generally deals with three themes: devolution of responsibility, accountability, and volunteers
as responsibilised service providers. Our findings reveal four paradoxes or unintended consequences of ‘responsibilised autonomy’: decreased autonomy for TSOs, an administrative deadlock that crowds out grassroots associations and volunteers, an increasing demand for professional support for
volunteering, and a bifurcation between strong and weak volunteers, whereby the latter are ‘re-excluded’ through volunteering.

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