Work & Organisational Psychology Group
- Professor of Voluntary Sector Organisation.
- Chair of the Centre for Voluntary Action Research
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: boards, committees and governance
structures; the impact of public policy on the management of VCOs; organisational
change in the VCO sector; 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 and across the voluntary/governmental sector
boundaries; and social responsibility activities linking businesses and
The Aston Centre for Voluntary Action Research (ACVAR) was co-founded by Margaret with Ben Cairns in 2000. It
offers an innovative response to the challenges of organisation and
management faced by voluntary and community organisations by conducting
academically rigorous action research that generates new insights into
solving complex practical problems. Since its establishment ACVAR has
developed an impressive body of research concerned with national,
regional and local voluntary and community sector issues. Research findings are shared through a ‘capacity building’ programme as well as through publications of reports and guidance.
Background and Education
- 1999 - Aston Business School, Aston University, Birmingham - Professor of Voluntary Sector Organisation
London School of Economics, Department of Social Policy and
Administration - Lecturer in Voluntary Sector Organisation.
Concurrently Assistant Director of the Centre for Voluntary Organisation
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
Harris (with B. Cairns and R Hutchinson) (2007) Sharing Gods Love
or Meeting Government Goals? Local Churches and Public Policy
Implementation. Policy & Politics, July 2007.
Harris (with H. Schlappa) (forthcoming January 2008) Hoovering up the
Money? Delivering Government Funded Capacity - Building Programmes to
Voluntary and Community Organisations. Social Policy and Society.
Harris (with B. Cairns, R. Hutchison and M. Tricker) (2005) Improving
Performance? The Adoption and Implementation of Quality Systems in UK
Nonprofits. Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 16 (2).
Harris (with B. Cairns and P. Young) (2005) Building the Capacity of
the Voluntary Nonprofit Sector: Challenges of Theory and Practice.
International Journal of Public Administration, 28, pp. 1-17.
Harris (with B. Cairns and R. Hutchison) (2005) Community-Wide Planning
for Faith-Based Service Provision: Practical Policy and Conceptual
Challenges' Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 34 (1),
- Margaret Harris (with B. Cairns and R. Hutchison)
(2004) So many tiers, so many agendas, so many pots of money: The
challenge of regionalisation for voluntary and community organisations.
Social Policy and Administration, 38 (5), pp. 525-540.
Harris (with P. Halfpenny and C. Rochester) (2003) An Expanded Role for
Faith-Based Organisations? Lessons from the UK Jewish Voluntary Sector.
Journal of Social Policy, 32 (1), pp. 93-112.
- Margaret Harris
(with Jane Harris, Romayne Hutchinson and Colin Rochester) (2002)
Merger in the British Voluntary Sector: The Example of HIV/AIDS
Agencies. Social Policy and Administration, 36 (3), pp. 291-305.
Harris (with Colin Rochester) (ed) Voluntary Organisations and Social
Policy in Britain: Perspectives on Change and Choice London: Palgrave,
- Margaret Harris (2001) The Place of Self and
Reflexivity in Third Sector Scholarship: An Exploration. Nonprofit and
Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 30 (4), pp. 747-760.
Harris (with Malcolm Torry) (2000) Managing Religious Organisations: A
Guide to the Literature, Birmingham: Aston Business School.
- Margaret Harris (2000), This Charity Business - Who Cares? Inaugural Lecture, Aston University, Birmingham.
- Margaret Harris (1998), Organising God's Work: Challenges for Churches and Synagogues, Macmillan, London.