This article explores the policy and organizational drives towards cooperation and merger within the voluntary sector. We draw together theoretical and empirical literature on the topic and identify six factors which may be hypothesized to be associated with a decision to cooperate in the voluntary sector: adverse macro-economic conditions; the search for an organizational niche; severe resource dependency; a drive for organizational growth; funders' concern about duplication of provision; and perceived crisis. We then present a case study which provides detailed data about the circumstances leading to a decision to merge by several independent voluntary agencies working in the HIV/AIDS field. We analyse the multiplicity of factors which drove the agencies and the complex interrelationships between those factors. Policy pressures, pragmatism and the personal values of key managers are found to be particularly important. Finally, we consider the implications of our study for policy analysis and future research.
- Policy pressures
- Voluntary organizations