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Working in the Context of AusterityChallenges and Struggles$
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Donna Baines and Ian Cunningham

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781529208672

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529208672.001.0001

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Austerity and the Irish Non-Profit Voluntary and Community Sector

Austerity and the Irish Non-Profit Voluntary and Community Sector

(p.217) 11 Austerity and the Irish Non-Profit Voluntary and Community Sector
Working in the Context of Austerity

Pauric O’Rourke

Policy Press

This chapter evaluates whether austerity can be interpreted as a continuation of an established neoliberal ideology or as a not-to-be-wasted opportunity that is unique to a particular era in time. Using the case of the Irish Non-Profit Voluntary and Community Sector (NPVCS), it draws on a qualitative-based empirical study within the sub-sector of Physical and Sensory Disabilities, built around two principal service providers. The chapter argues that government funding and service-level agreements created the conduit for New Public Management (NPM)-orientated thinking and practices to enter the sector and exert downward pressures on how it manages people and work. Coincidentally, this conveniently aligned with austerity ideology and gave new impetus to NPM. The findings show strong evidence of NPM-orientated changes in work and human resources management, propelled by strong isomorphic pressures that had accelerated and intensified during the era of austerity. The study uses the explanatory lens of institutional theory and labour-process theory to explicate how the state–NPVCS relationship became institutionalized through the isomorphism of NPM and how austerity reinforced and expedited this process.

Keywords:   austerity, neoliberal ideology, Irish non-profit sector, disabilities, government funding, service-level agreements, New Public Management, human resources management

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