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Martin Mehrwald presents paper on innovations in social service organizations at the 15th ISTR Conference


Taking place in Montréal from July 12-15, the 15th international society for third-sector research (ISTR) conference ran under the topic of "Navigating In Turbulent Times: Perspectives and Contributions from the Third Sector". Our colleague Martin Mehrwald had the honour to present and discuss the paper "Formal Innovation Structures and Innovativeness of Social Service Organizations in Times of the Pandemic", co-authored by himself, Michael Meyer, Peter Vandor and Reinhard Millner, to and with the interested audience.

Due to a surge in demand, the emergence of new needs among beneficiary groups and essential health safety measures, Social service organizations (SSOs) needed to substantially broaden their activities or find new ways of providing services to their clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. In their paper, Martin Mehrwald, Peter Vandor, Reinhard Millner and Michael Meyer investigated, how the pandemic influenced innovation in Austrian Civil Society Organizations. Moreover, they analyzed, how formalized innovation management structures have influenced innovation during the pandemic, but also how they have been influenced themselves. Investigating a sample of 8
SSOs in Vienna, Austria, their results show that the pandemic widely influenced innovation in SSOs, including new challenges and a boost for digitization. The role of FIMS has been ambivalent during this time, with our results hinting towards an influence on internal perceptions regarding the relevance of innovation, organizational decision-making and legitimization of innovation in times of crisis.

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