Organizational Boundaries in Childcare Services System and the Promotion of NPO Networks by Local Public Agencies in an Italian Metropolitan Area

Contributions and working papers
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Paper presented to Concepts of the Third-sector. The European Debate - First European conference EMES-ISTR, April 27-28-29, 2005, Cnam, Paris

Research in organization has recently focused on the issue of cross-boundary processes. In this paper we approached the study of this topic from the perspective of the organizations that work in the field of social services. Discussions have been carried out illustrating three different cases of change in the way the Local Public Agency in Genoa Metropolitan Area manages its relations with some of the non-profit organizations that operate in the field of social childcare. Each of the cases has been discussed from different theoretical standpoints: the Contingency approach, the Transactional view and the Organizational Action Theory. The heuristic contribution of the Organizational Action Theory has been underlined and considerations has been made in order to evaluate if this innovative analytical framework could help researchers to better understand how Local Public Agencies and Non-Profit Organizations relate to one another in the field of social childcare. On the basis of our analyses the heuristic power of the Organizational Action Theory is confirmed and a more wide-ranging adoption of this approach in researching this field is welcomed.