Competition, adaptation and resistance: (re)forming health organisations in New Zealand’s third sector

Susan Owen and Robin Kearns

in Landscapes of voluntarism

Published by Policy Press

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9781861346322
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302650 | DOI:
Competition, adaptation and resistance: (re)forming health organisations in New Zealand’s third sector

Show Summary Details


In New Zealand, during the 1980s and 1990s, the neoliberal ideological drivers of policy resulted in the creation of the purchaser-provider split and the rise of the culture of contracting. These developments had implications for the shape of third sector health organisations at the time. This chapter explores the emergence of organisational adaptation and resistance as two responses to changes in the policy environment among third sector health providers. It discusses the relationship between the New Zealand government and the third sector during the 1990s, to further understand the implications of this ‘hurricane’ for third sector health organisations. It argues that organisational characteristics change with the life cycle of the organisation and the involvement of key individuals, both internally and externally. The functions of third sector organisations have been romanticised both in academic literature and by the state, and these ideals are challenged by the mechanisms of a neoliberalising state. This chapter focuses on New Zealand's third sector health organisations and how they represent a changed landscape of provision. It also focuses on the culture of contracting which fundamentally changed the relations between the third sector and state, and on the voices of some of those most closely involved in the sector itself, organising the narratives around the themes of competition, adaptation, and resistance.

Keywords: New Zealand; third sector; policy; neoliberalism; health organisations; competition; adaptation; resistance

Chapter.  8463 words. 

Subjects: Organizations

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.