A1 Journal article (refereed)
Järjestödemokratia ja ammatillinen johtaminen suomalaisten sosiaali- ja terveysjärjestöjen myytteinä ja seremonioina (2023)
Organisational democracy and professional management as myths and ceremonies in Finnish social and health associations

Ruuskanen, P., Lind, K., & Peltosalmi, J. (2023). Järjestödemokratia ja ammatillinen johtaminen suomalaisten sosiaali- ja terveysjärjestöjen myytteinä ja seremonioina. Yhteiskuntapolitiikka, 88(2), 133-144. https://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi-fe2023041937711

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Ruuskanen, Petri; Lind, Kimmo; Peltosalmi, Juha

Journal or series: Yhteiskuntapolitiikka

ISSN: 1455-6901

eISSN: 1458-6118

Publication year: 2023

Volume: 88

Issue number: 2

Pages range: 133-144

Publisher: Terveyden ja hyvinvoinnin laitos

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: Finnish

Persistent website address: https://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi-fe2023041937711

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/86698

Additional information: Artikkelit


The article examines the role of social and health associations as civil society organisations (CSOs) in Finnish society. In recent decades the main sources of public funding of social and health associations in Finland have called for a stronger managerial and professional orientation, with a welfare policy guidance focus. CSOs have thus found themselves under isomorphic pressure to adapt to the requirements of rationality and efficiency inherent in business and in the public sector. The article asks: How is the tension between the democratic nature of voluntary associations and their professional management resolved? Both quantitative and qualitative data are applied to answer the research question. According to our results, CSOs’ formal policies and managerial practices have begun to diverge. The decoupling between policies and practices is epitomised in the relation between senior officials and boards of associations. Senior officials have seen the scope of their responsibilities expand with the development of social and health associations’ institutional environment. Organisations have sought legitimacy for their activities from two conflicting directions: civic engagement and managerialism. One of the ways for organizations to cope with institutional change and uncertainty has been to adopt policies from other sectors. In many cases, civic engagement has become a myth and ceremony that is ritually maintained. At the same time, this development is at odds with current legislation on associations, which emphasizes the democratic nature of associations’ activities.

Keywords: non-governmental organisations; social welfare and health care organisations; organisational activities; organisational democracy; leadership (activity); professionalisation; managerialism; institutionalism

Free keywords: social and health associations; resource dependency; managerialism; democracy; sociological neoinstitutionalism; hybridization

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2023

Preliminary JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2023-30-08 at 09:47