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Open Access: ISTR Best Paper Award 2014

Thursday, December 17, 2015   (0 Comments)
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Voluntas Best Article 2014 - openly available online, through April 15, 2016.

Click here to read the 2014 Best Article. 


Voluntas is an internationally recognized journal focused on civil society, the third sector, nonprofit organizations, philanthropy, voluntarism and related issues. The Best Paper Awards, generously funded by our publisher, Springer, are presented biennially.


The committee established to read the journal articles and select the best articles for 2014 and 2015 includes Julie Fisher Melton, USA (Chair); Gonzalo de la Maza, Chile; Katalin Dobrai, Hungary; Jenny Harrow, UK; Jiri Navratil, Czech Republic; Aya Okada, Japan; Ali Simsek, Turkey; Armindo Teodosio, Brazil; and Peter Weber, USA.


The committee has made their selection for 2014 and will select the best 2015 paper next year.

For 2014, the committee has selected:


Integrated Organizational Identity: A Definition of Hybrid Organizations and a Research Agenda

Urs P. Jäger and Andreas Schröer


In assessing the many valuable articles published in 2014 by Voluntas, we, as a committee, based our assessment on theoretical and empirical quality, wide conceptual applicability (to many countries), originality, and policy implications. This article met all of these criteria. Although extremely complex, this article was theoretically sophisticated, and based on a wide range of studies by other scholars. Conceptually, it is applicable to civil society anywhere. The article is highly original, since the authors were able, for the first time, to bring together a diverse and very extensive literature. Finally, the article has strong policy implications, provided that “policy” is not confined to the governmental sector. For example, the authors recommend that “functional solidarity,” which is the defining overall identity of hybrid organizations, should be reflected in mission statements integrating market and civil society values, or impact assessments, or board members representing different sectors.


This article has the additional virtue of providing an overview of the research on hybrid organizations that combine social needs with market activities. More specifically, according to the authors, hybrid organizations “calculate the market value of communal solidarity and trade this solidarity for financial and non-financial rewards.”


Jäger and Schröer’s article also categorizes research on hybrids and lays out a wide research agenda that will be of use to what is already an increasing number of interested scholars. First, they lay out four streams of research on hybrids:

1) Enterprising Nonprofits

2) Socially Responsible Businesses/ Corporate Responsibility

3) Social Enterprise, Social Busines, Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation

4) Hybrid Organizations as Constitutive of the Nonprofit Sector.


Second, they focus on individual, structural and practice-based approaches to organizational identity as a way of conceptualizing hybridity. All of this is complex, but clarified by a table that places these approaches on one axis and market, hybrid or civil society identity on the other.


The committee looks forwarding to reading all of the articles published in 2015, and to selecting the best paper in time for the Stockholm Conference

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