The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune: exploring resilience in the third sector

Noel Hyndman*, Irvine Lapsley, Mariannunziata Liguori

*Corresponding author for this work

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This Special Issue is based on a selection of papers initially presented at the conference on ‘Resilience and the Third Sector’ (Institute of Public Sector Accounting Research, University of Edinburgh, November 2022). The third sector is pervasive in most societies and makes a distinctive and widely-recognised contribution to the public good by building social capital, frequently affording a foundation for social cohesiveness. However, it is a fragile sector that is significantly affected by crises (the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune). These have the potential to curtail the capacity of third-sector organisations (TSOs) to deliver societal benefits, and, in the most-extreme cases, even threaten their survival. Given this, the resilience of TSOs (albeit this term has multiple layers and manifold meanings) is critical. This paper explores a range of connotations linked to third-sector resilience, and explores contemporary evidence (including the papers in this Special Issue) as to how the sector identifies, manages and learns from crises. In addition, it provides a brief outline research agenda as a basis for encouraging researchers to focus on resilience in TSOs and enhance knowledge. It is argued that more rigorous, evidence-based research of this nature has the potential to positively influence practice in the sector, as well as policy formulation by government and others who steer TSOs.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalFinancial Accountability & Management
Early online date03 Jun 2024
Publication statusEarly online date - 03 Jun 2024


  • third sector, resilience, crisis, charity, credit union


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