Professor Margaret Harris

Work & Organisational Psychology Department

Work and Organisational Psychology Group
Margaret is an internationally recognised specialist in the organisation and management of charities, voluntary organisations, nonprofits and NGOs.  

She aims to apply theoretical insights to practical problems and to develop theoretical insights from the study of practical challenges.  In 2011 she received the Award for Distinguished Achievement and Leadership in Nonprofit and Voluntary Action Research from ARNOVA (the US Association for Research in Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action). 

Position: Emeritus Professor
Phone: +44(0)121 204 3257
Email: m.e.harris@aston.ac.uk

  • B.Soc.Sci (Hons 1st Class)  Sociology and Politics, Birmingham University
  • M.A. (with distinction)  Public and Social Administration, Brunel University
  • Ph.D.  London University, London School of Economics

Margaret’s research interests focus on the organisation, management and effectiveness of voluntary and community organisations (also known as ‘VCOs’, ‘third sector organisations’, ‘nonprofits’ or ‘NGOs’).  Topics of particular interest include: organisational issues in associations and small community groups; organisational growth and change; the organisation of religious and faith based groups and congregations; management of volunteers; bridge-building between religious and ethnic groups; collaborations and partnerships within the voluntary sector; the history of voluntary studies; social responsibility activities linking businesses and VCOs; boards, committees and governance structures; and the impact of public policy on VCOs.

Selected Recent Publications in Academic Journals:

  • (with Shaw, D.; Scully, J,. Smith, C., and Hieke, G.) 'The Involvement/Exclusion Paradox of Spontaneous Volunteering: New Lessons and Theory from Winter Flood Episodes in England' Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly Published on-line before print, June 2016: 
  • ‘Where did we come from? The Emergence and Early Development of Voluntary Sector Studies in the UK’ Voluntary Sector Review 2016, 7,1  5-25  
  • 'Organizational Challenges of Community Associations: Applying Nonprofit Research to Real-World Problems' Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 2015, 44,4  796-813 
  • (with G. Morgan, L. Baker, and R. Moran) ‘The Public Benefit Requirement for Charities in England and Wales: A Qualitative Study of its Impact’ Charity Law and Practice Review 2013, 15, 107-124
  • 'London’s Olympic Ambassadors: A Legacy for Public Policy Implementation?’ Voluntary Sector Review 2012, 3, 3,  577-584
  • 'Nonprofits and Business: Toward a Subfield of Nonprofit Studies’ Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 2012, 20,10, 1-11
  • (with Ben Cairns)  Local Cross-Sector Partnerships: Tackling the Challenges Collaboratively' Nonprofit Management and Leadership 2011, 21,3,  311-324
  • (with Patricia Young) ‘Building Bridges: The Third Sector responding locally to Diversity’ Voluntary Sector Review 2010 1,1,  41-58

  Other Recent Publications (selected):

  • (with Duncan Shaw, Chris Smith, Graham Heike and Judy Scully) ‘Spontaneous Volunteers: Involving Citizens in the Response and Recovery to Flood and Emergencies: Final Report FD 2666’  London: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), 2015
  • (with Stephen Miller and Colin Shindler) ‘The Attitudes of British Jews Towards Israel’ London: Department of Sociology, City University, 2015 
  • 'Third Sector Organizations in a Contradictory Policy Environment' in D.Billis (ed) Hybrid Organizations and the Third Sector Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010 
  • (with Carole Parkes) 'Corporate Responsibility, Ethics and Strategic HRM' in The Aston Centre for Human Resources ‘Strategic Human Resource Management: Building Research-based Practice’ London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2008
  • 2008 - Emeritus Professor, Aston Business School , Visiting Professor Birkbeck, University of London
  • 1999 – 2007 Aston Business School, Aston University - Professor of Voluntary Sector Organisation, Chair and Co-founder of the Aston Centre for Voluntary Action Research
  • 1987-98 London School of Economics, Department of Social Policy and Administration - Lecturer in Voluntary Sector Organisation. Assistant Director of the Centre for Voluntary Organisation
  • 1981-87  Brunel University, Uxbridge, Institute of Organisation and Social Studies - Research Fellow in PORTVAC (Programme of Research and Training in Voluntary Action)
  • 1977-81  Citizens Advice Bureau - Trainer and Volunteer Advice Worker
  • 1969-77  Greater London Council, Central Policy Studies Unit and Research and Intelligence Unit - Professional Officer
  • 1967-69  Greater London Council, Department of the Clerk to the Council - Administrative Officer 

Editorial Positions held: 

  • International Editor of the Journal of  Nonprofit Management and Leadership (1997-2001) 
  • Review Board for Special Issue of the Journal of Business Research (2001-2002)
  • Editorial Board of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly (2004- 2015)
  • Editor of Special Issue of Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly on ‘Theories and Concepts for the Study of Nonprofits and Voluntary Action’ (2007-2009)
  • Member (by election) of the Editorial Management Board of Voluntary Sector Review (2009-2015)
  • Editorial Board of Canadian Journal of Nonprofit and Social Enterprise Research  (2010 - ) 
Margaret has supervised eight successful doctoral candidates.  She has examined doctoral theses at: Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia; University of Sydney, Australia; Warwick University, England; London School of Economics, England; Stirling University, Scotland; Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland; Birmingham University, England; Rhodes University, South Africa; Sheffield Hallam University, England; Liverpool University, England