The Third Sector Research Centre is holding small lunchtime seminars in London. These will give people a chance to discuss some of our latest findings with researchers.
Seminars will take place between 2 - 3.30pm
Venue: NCVO, Regents Wharf, 8 All Saints Street, London N1 9RL. See map and directions.
Seminars are free, but places will be limited. Please register via the link below.
For more information contact Naomi: firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 7520 2421
16 May 2013, 2 - 3.30pm
Doing Emotion, Doing Policy: the emotional role of “grassroots” community activists in policy making
Making public policy is often described as an applied science by both the academy and practitioners themselves. However, this narrative of objectivity, impartiality and a particular sort of integrity-as-disinterest is at odds with folk descriptions of policy making from civil servants, NGO policy workers and activists. Emotion in particular emerges as something that really matters to the course of public administration. If policy serves a symbolic, cultural role as well as an administrative function, it makes sense to consider how “emotional knowledge” is brought to bear on making decisions.
This seminar draws on an ethnographic study of a series of anti-poverty policy forums in Scotland. These forums explored participants understanding of “emotion” and its proper role in policy making. Participants identified as “grassroots” were described as having a particular affinity with the realm of the “emotional”. This seminar explores the special expectations that participants have of activists and community organisation representatives around behaviour and language associated with “the emotional”. It also explores their understanding of the relationship between emotion, authenticity and legitimate decision-making. The seminar will consider how this understanding of grassroots emotionality could help reconceptualise emotional practice and power in policy making, and suggest some key challenges for both researchers and practitioners.
19 June 2013, 2 - 3.30pm
Does sector matter when delivering employment services?
Exploring ‘isomorphic’ pressures that drive convergence of approach and delivery
Recent research by TSRC into the Work Programme looked at the role of third sector organisations in delivering services, in supply chains led by Prime contractors. We explored a number controversies surrounding the sector’s role – that it was being squeezed out of provision, that TSOs were more affected by low and unpredictable 'flows' of customers, and that they were being treated unfairly by Primes and seeing excessive risks passed down to them. We also wanted to explore whether TSOs were more or less likely to engage in 'gaming' behaviour, specifically the creaming and parking of customers. We interviewed subcontractors from all three sectors involved in the work programme. What we found was a more nuanced picture. Pressures operate on most subcontractors regardless of sector. Organisations’ experience of the work programme is determined more by their position in the supply chain - mainly whether they are delivering an 'end to end' service or a specialist intervention.
We also identified a range of powerful 'isomorphic' pressures operating on subcontractors, which push them to converge around particular approaches and deliver in particular ways. These pressures come from the overall system of the Programme and the management practices of individual Prime contractors. They are heightened by the 'commercial' nature of the programme, the reduced resources available, and the adverse economic conditions. This seminar looks at how isomorphic pressures operate on subcontractors. It discusses the intensity of pressures on organisations, and the evidence for convergence of approach. It also considers how individuals within organisations and observers of welfare to work make sense of these pressures and outcomes.
This seminar will also take place on 18 June in Birmingham