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David Billis

The background to this chapter is a period in which human problems are seemingly greater in scale and gravity than our ability to resolve them. The consequence is that it is has rarely been more important to increase our understanding of the relationship between human problems and formal organisations. It is a relationship which can be called symbiotic, since for organisations human problems are their lifeblood without which they cannot exist, whereas for those with problems the organisations often offer the hope of a solution. The symbiotic relationship is not a balanced one. At times it seems that problems are always with us, apparently insolvable and overwhelming. It is not difficult to be pessimistic and we can all make our own lists of what is going wrong in the world. Nevertheless, influenced by the work of Karl Popper (discussed in the next section) I take the approach that humankind can continually, if often painfully, develop better theories to respond to problems. It is an optimistic approach which I attempt to follow in the search for an increased understanding of the nature of hybrid organisations and their own problems. The theory of authentic sectors and their associated concepts are presented as contributions in the search.

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David Billis

The foundations of this chapter build on the theory presented in Chapter 24. There, the public, private and third sectors were presented as the three fundamental organised ways of responding to human problems. Each sector comprises an aggregation of formal organisations, those that have a public persona, an accountable structure and the resources to respond systematically to problems. Formal organisations in all three sectors have the same core five elements of their structure. They are: owners, who all have a role in decision-making (with principal owners making the critical decisions); governance, the way owners are appointed (such as shareholding, public elections and private elections); operational priorities, the concepts utilised by owners and their agents to achieve their purposes; and other elements – distinctive human resources and other resources. It is accountability which is the overarching and the linking concept between the elements and principles of formal organisations. In this chapter I shall refer to this linking concept as the major principle.

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Edited by David Billis and Colin Rochester

This content is available to you

Edited by David Billis and Colin Rochester

This content is available to you

David Billis and Colin Rochester

The title of this section of our Introduction is intended to reflect our contention that we are writing in a fascinating period for organisational studies during which the rise of hybrid organisations (HOs) is causing us to reconsider the way we understand the world of organisations. The ‘new kids on the block’ are turning out to be not so young, nor so few in numbers, nor so inconsequential as is sometimes assumed. The growing excitement and fascination of these times is sometimes tempered by a sense of discomfort and uncertainty. Are HOs making a positive contribution to our society? Or are their problems causing too many difficulties? Should we keep well away from them? Before responding to these questions, we first provide the background for and scope of the book, and in so doing note some of the new theories that will most likely provide both excitement and constructive discomfort. We then begin to introduce two crucial issues: the contribution of HOs and their potential problems. Section 1.2 provides a systematic summary of all the chapters, and section 1.3 briefly speculates on the past, present and future of the study of HOs.

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Edited by David Billis and Colin Rochester

Hybrid Organisations – that integrate competing organisational principles – have become a preferred means of tackling the complexity of today's societal problems. One familiar set of examples are organisations that combine significant features from market, public and third sector organisations. Many different groundbreaking approaches to hybridity are contained in this Handbook, which brings together a collection of empirical studies from an international body of scholars. The chapters analyse and theorise the position of hybrid organisations and have important implications for theory, practice and policy in a context of proliferating hybrid forms of organisation.