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The University of Southampton
Sociology, Social Policy and CriminologyPart of Economic, Social and Political Science

Between the personal and the professional: values at the frontline of charity work image Seminar

27 January 2011
Building 58, room 4019

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Sociology & Social Policy Office on +44 (0)23 8059 7218 or email .

Event details

Sociology and Social Policy Seminar Series

In the UK mixed economy of welfare the third sector has come to play an important role. Charities are seen as normatively based with a workforce promoting moral commitments. Such charity workers are not merely expected to carry out tasks in mechanical ways but are assumed to bring compassion to the job. For organisations, personal moral values are an important basis for motivation and a prerequisite for success. For the individual, charity-work provides an opportunity to practice moral values, to put into action a commitment to care. It can also be a route towards personal fulfillment and moral selving. Moral values are essential in linking the individual and the organisation, but can also be a source of conflict. Organisations must achieve certain outcomes to secure funding which becomes particularly pronounced during financial hardship and increased competition. This gives rise to goal ambiguity, moral dilemmas and anxiety, illustrating in brief what these conflicts may comprise. The presentation will outline a theoretical frame and provide empirical material from an ongoing project aimed at exploring the interface between moral values as expressed rhetorically, and how these values are enacted, maintained, or abandoned. It will also consider methodological approaches to investigate how individuals experience and manage discrepancies between moral rhetoric and practice. Exploring these issues will help us understand what value-based charity-work means in practice. The relationships between moral values, the organisation and the individual in charities are much underresearched and of particular interest now when many charities undergo changes described as coercive isomorphism.

Speaker information

Malin Arvidson,Research Fellow

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