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Precarious Organizations Theme Development

By: Carolyn Pletsch

Precarious organizations within this context refer to two categories of organizations; 1) Not for Profit Organizations engaged for the most part in community benefit activities and 2) small and medium sized business.  These organizations and the people who depend on them for livelihoods and services are at risk.  Organizational risk varies up to and including dissolution, where as human risk would include such issues as loss of livelihood and stress.

Although much of the Centre’s work involves the private sector, in this theme area, research has involved not-for-profit organizations for the most part.  NPOs do important work. They are an integral part of the Canadian social infrastructure and Canada’s civil society, yet their resource requirements consistently fail to be met.  In fact, this is happening at an alarming rate as illustrated by Imagine Canada’s latest Sector Monitor  (Feb, 2012), which reported that approximately 25% of responding charities believed that they were at risk and as many as 50% had difficulty in carrying out their mission.

Not surprisingly tenuous financial positions and the situations embodied in these alarming statistics contribute to the stress levels of the employees who work in these organizations.  More important to many Canadians is however the potential loss of livelihood implicit in this now familiar story, the impact of which can be staggering to the individuals who fall victim to the axe.  These jobs are difficult to replace with equivalent work.

 The Centre continues to do research in both of these areas having done papers and presentations entitled “Rural Women’s Organizations” A Diminished Presence.  This paper discussed the slow but inevitable decline and disappearance of many RWOs as well as the impact of these “deaths “ on the people who serve.