Hybridity, diversity and the division of labour in the third sector: what can we learn from homelessness organisations in the UK?

Working and briefing paper series: 50

Whilst the boundaries between the different sectors within the welfare mix have always been indistinct, the increasing involvement of third sector organisations (TSOs) in government contracts has arguably accentuated the „blurring‟ of inter-sectoral boundaries over recent decades. It is partly as a consequence of this that the concept of hybridity has come to the fore in third sector studies.

Taking homelessness TSOs as an example, this paper builds upon existing theoretical work on hybridity and presents the welfare pyramid as a theoretical framework within which hybridisation and its implications for TSOs of different types can be conceptualised. It highlights the existence of an organisational division of labour within the homelessness third sector, which seems to have been exacerbated by contracting processes, and draws attention to the need for policy-makers to take into account the varied roles, capacities and limitations of different types of TSOs.

Research contact
Dr Heather Buckingham