Handbook on Hybrid Organisations
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Handbook on Hybrid Organisations

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.
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Chapter 2: Hybrid organisations: between state and market

Philip Marcel Karré


Hybrid organisations are defined by the mixing of different and inherently contradictory characteristics. Their hybridity makes them contested phenomena. While their proponents claim that they can combine the best of different worlds – in the words of the United Kingdom (UK) periodical The Economist, ‘the security of the public sector and the derring-do of the private sector’ – their adversaries claim that they only combine the worst. Hybridity, the more critical voices warn, leads to ‘inherently confused organisations, buffeted by all sorts of contradictory pressures. This means that their internal operations can be hard to understand and their behaviour may be hard to predict’ (The Economist, 2009). This contradiction and contention is perhaps most severe where state and market meet each other and organisations have to combine the characteristics of the public and the private sector in the provision of public goods and services. It is those public?private hybrids that are looked at in this chapter. In the model developed by Billis (2010b, p. 57) they inhabit ‘zone three’, where the public and the private sector overlap.

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