Improving performance? The adoption and implementation of quality systems in U.K. nonprofits

Ben Cairns, Margaret Harris, Romayne Hutchison, Mike Tricker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There are increasing and multiple pressures on nonprofit organizations to demonstrate excellence in performance. Although there is a growing literature on the various approaches to performance improvement taken by nonprofits, little is known about the processes involved in the adoption and implementation of specific approaches. This article is about the adoption and use of one approach to performance improvement, quality systems, in the U.K. nonprofit sector. We report findings about factors that encourage nonprofits to adopt quality systems. We also analyze the distinctive challenges of implementing quality approaches in a nonprofit sector context and suggest critical success factors. The article concludes with a discussion of the organizational and policy implications of applying the management concepts of quality and performance to the nonprofit sector.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-151
Number of pages17
JournalNonprofit Management and Leadership
Issue number2
Early online date12 Dec 2005
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • pressures nonprofit organizations excellence in performance
  • performance improvement
  • quality systems
  • UK nonprofit sector


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