Abstract: An analysis of the texts of the 1995 Industry Commission Inquiry into Charities, employing neoinstitutional theory, reveals a structure of ideas that provides the third sector with legitimacy; these include the altruistic basis of work in the sector, the value that community organisations place on individual clients, and the independence from government that is needed if they are to successfully advocate for them. These ideas are taken for granted, and for this reason it may not be obvious that they have strategic importance. In 1995 they were deployed in resistance to elements of managerial reform - in particular, to demands for greater accountability. This article discusses an example of this strategic use and seeks to draw them out of their background role in order to make them more visible. It proposes that these ideas have continuing relevance to the shaping of the regulative environment of the sector.
To cite this article: Johnson-Abdelmalik, Jeffrey. The legitimacy of ideas: Institutional foundations of the non-profit community-welfare sector [online]. Third Sector Review, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2011: 5-27.
[cited 29 Apr 17].