As of 2012, U.S. nonprofits were still recovering from the 2007-09 economic recession. The purpose of this case study was to explore the use of adaptive strategy in small to medium-size nonprofit human services organizations and its role in organizational survivability and sustainability, specifically of those who had confronted environmental shifts and financial uncertainty since the 2007 recession. To this end, a qualitative case study was conducted to explore the experiences of leaders and managers of nonprofit organizations (NPOs) that survived and sustained and those of similar sized human service NPOs that did not survive. A literature review facilitated the process of identifying and organizing adaptive strategy into five areas of tactics: partnering, diversifying funding, competing and marketing, innovation, and conforming or not changing strategy. To add, adaptive tactics were classified as diversified or changed if they pulled strategy away from the organization’s core mission. Semi-structured interviews were used to encourage open responses of seven leaders and managers of four small to medium sized human service NPOs from the same provider network. The study resulted in the discovery of adaptive strategy and how specific tactics were key drivers of sustainable and non-sustainable outcomes. Findings demonstrated that the leaders of all four organizations identified and applied capacity within the span of their control prior to exploring other options. Findings also suggested that adaptive strategy and outcomes of sustainment or non-sustainment may come as a result of leadership’s willingness to diversify (or change) strategy.
|Subjects||Management; Finance; Public administration|
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