As its uninspiring title implies, Strategic Management for Voluntary Nonprofit Organizations is targeted at very specific groups of people: senior managers in charities and similar organisations, and students seeking such positions. For them, it could hardly be bettered. It is cogent, authoritative and very readable - superior to most of the management piffle publishers persistently produce.
The author, Roger Courtney, writes plain and simple English, a huge bonus. He eschews management jargon wherever possible. Better still, whenever he uses jargon already in everyday use, he interprets exactly what it means in straightforward language that cannot be misunderstood.
For example, he investigates what is meant by the clumsy phrase "voluntary nonprofit organisations". He shows how no other nomenclature works equally well. Likewise, because the word strategy is frequently used with little care, Courtney devotes several chapters to investigating precisely what is meant by "strategic management". His analysis explores the history and present meaning of the concept of strategy, and would grace any general management textbook.
Strategic Management for Voluntary Nonprofit Organizations is not an original work, in the sense that it advances no radical theses. Its strength lies in its sound and logical critiques of the myriad management theories - both sensible and daft - now flying around the voluntary nonprofit sector. Courtney summarises them all clearly, with comprehensive references, and examines their weaknesses and strengths impartially.
The book moves from theory and analysis to implementation and practice - and demonstrates with case histories how difficult implementation can be.
Charity and voluntary sector managers regularly seek desirable ends but lack the necessary means - to whit, the dosh - to achieve them. This book can provide no panaceas to this problem, but it can and does spotlight the warnings that presage inefficiency and disaster. It is an exemplary textbook.
Winston Fletcher is chairman, The Royal Institution, and a trustee of Barnardo's and of the Open College of the Arts.
Strategic Management for Voluntary Nonprofit Organizations. First edition
Author - Roger Courtney
ISBN - 0 415 25023 4 and 25024 2
Publisher - Routledge
Price - £70.00 and £20.99
Pages - 324