The Training Grounds of Democracy? Social Trends and Nonprofit Governance.

Hough, Alan D., McGregor-Lowndes, Myles, & Ryan, Christine M. (2006) The Training Grounds of Democracy? Social Trends and Nonprofit Governance. [Working Paper]


This paper explores the relevant data regarding director recruitment and engagement. It argues that there are two trends which might result in organisations experiencing such difficulties. First, there is a trend of increasing expectations of nonprofit boards. Legal and social expectations of boards and individual directors have substantially increased, which may make potential directors wary of taking on the responsibility of board service.

Second, it is possible that social trends are reducing the supply of potential directors. For the US, Putnam (2000) has argued that declining civic engagement is due to: pressures of time and money, and in particular the special pressures of two-career families; urban sprawl and increased time spent commuting; increased time spent watching television and related entertainment; and the gradual passing of the World War II-generation, a generation which proved to be exceptionally civically-minded. This paper will explore the available Australian data – limited though it is - relevant to Putnam’s argument.

We argue that the combination of these trends may result in adverse implications for individual organisations and for civil society as a whole. The paper explores some possible approaches to resolving these difficulties.

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ID Code: 4453
Item Type: Working Paper
Refereed: No
Additional URLs:
Keywords: nonprofit organisations, boards of directors, governance, legal responsibilities, demographic trends
ISBN: 11741071178
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ECONOMICS (140000)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 QUT
Deposited On: 25 Aug 2006 00:00
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2011 13:27

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