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 24: Hybrid organisations and human problems: towards a New Organisational Reality

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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