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Expansive opportunity makers but selective opportunity takers? Positional agility and tactical social skill in English third sector social service

Body, Alison, Kendall, Jeremy (2020) Expansive opportunity makers but selective opportunity takers? Positional agility and tactical social skill in English third sector social service. Journal of Civil Society, 16 (1). pp. 15-34. ISSN 1744-8689. (doi:10.1080/17448689.2020.1719626) (KAR id:77607)

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17448689.2020.1719626

Abstract

In a challenging climate of austerity policies, relationships between Third Sector Organisations (TSOs) and the State are often contentious, with great sophistication required to secure a reasonable degree of stability and continuity in services and relationships. This paper draws on data gathered through semi structured interviews with 23 CEOs of TSOs focused on children’s preventative services to explicate and exemplify the skills embodied in TSOs which allow them to navigate these complex situations relatively successfully. We draw on the concept of ‘social skill’ as developed in strategic action fields theory to frame an analysis of this data. We consider how TSOs have collectively helped shape the political and economic conditions under which they operate, and present a range of skilful tactics we associate with the concept of ‘positional agility’ which differentiate those organisations which are especially accomplished in navigating relationships and resources.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/17448689.2020.1719626
Uncontrolled keywords: Commissioning, social skill, third sector
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare > HV40 Charities
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Alison Body
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2019 10:42 UTC
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2020 12:58 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/77607 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Body, Alison: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0421-5159
Kendall, Jeremy: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1139-0844
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