Partnership in Times of COVID-19: Government and Civil Society in Austria

Meyer, Michael ORCID: and Millner, Reinhard ORCID: and Pennerstorfer, Astrid ORCID: and Vandor, Peter ORCID: (2021) Partnership in Times of COVID-19: Government and Civil Society in Austria. Nonprofit Policy Forum. ISSN 2154-3348

Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

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How did the relation between Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and government develop during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, once governments had taken restrictive measures to lock down economic and public life? Austria is used as an example of a corporatist welfare state whereby collaboration between government and CSOs occurs particularly in the fields of social services, health-care, and youth. Our analysis focuses on the social service sector and differentiates between several social policy fields. We hereby analyze data from qualitative interviews with CEOs from 30 CSOs, four group discussions with another 30 representatives of CSOs, public agencies and authorities, and from a standardized questionnaire (n = 99 CSOs). We also utilize our own experiences as participant observers in meetings between CSOs and government. Results indicate that CSOs suffered financially partly due to a decrease in income, though mostly due to an increase in cost. In social services in particular, they also faced hardships caused by the need to reorganize operations and human resources, and by the increased demands of customers. Federal government took responsibility for supporting CSOs financially, though such support was hampered by unclear competencies in Austria’s multilayered federal system.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Ahead-of-Print / Just-Accepted
Keywords: government-civil society relations, corporatist nonprofit regime,COVID-19 measures, Austria
Divisions: Departments > Management > Nonprofit Management
Departments > Sozioökonomie > Sozialpolitik
Kompetenzzentren > Nonprofit-Org u Social Entrepreneurship
Version of the Document: Accepted for Publication
Depositing User: Gertraud Novotny
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2021 09:01
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2021 09:01
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