Compensatory capitals in the non-profit sector: Interaction of human, social and organizational capital and the influence of statutory funders

Denise Currie, Martin McCracken, Katharine Venter

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Purpose: This paper provides empirical insights into how the funding environment of non-profit organizations (NPOs) affects the interaction of the sub-components of intellectual capital (human, social and organizational capital) that enables the creation of organizational value.

Methodology: Case studies of two non-profit organisations, using data collected through qualitative interviews and focus groups with a range of organisational stakeholders. Findings: When the triumvirate of capitals are most complementary, NPOs are more able to contend the challenges of the funding environment, but when organizational capital is poor, it is likely social capital will compensate. This is explained by the level of influence from funders and the related independence of the NPO.

Research limitations: The paper presents a theory building exercise, limited to two case studies. Further investigation is required for more generalizable conclusions.

Practical implications: The paper outlines the importance of NPOs adopting a multidimensional approach to improving organizational value that goes beyond investing in human capital, but this needs to be recognised by funders.

Social implications: The role of NPOs in delivering public services is appealing for public policy, but unless funders recognise the need for NPOs to be appropriately funded so the triumvirate of capitals can be addressed, NPOs will be unable to maximise their organizational value or may compromise the social values that inherently exists within the non-profit workforce.

Originality/value: This paper examines how the sub-components of intellectual complement each other, but overall contribution is the theoretical development of how these capitals may compensate for each other’s deficiencies.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018
EventIrish Academy of Management 2018: Does Management Matter? - Cork University Business School, UCC, Cork, Ireland
Duration: 03 Sep 201805 Sep 2018
Conference number: 21


ConferenceIrish Academy of Management 2018
Abbreviated titleIAM
Internet address


  • Non-profit and Voluntary Sector,
  • organizational capital
  • social capital,
  • human capital,
  • Intellectual capital,


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