Addressing social-business tensions in hybridized nonprofit organizations: the contribution of strategic human resource management

Anja Belte*, Hans-Gerd Ridder, Alina M. Baluch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nonprofit hybridization represents the adaptive response to a turbulent external and internal environment leading to tensions between contradictory goals (e.g. social and business goals). Although research has provided insights into the strategies for addressing the tensions stemming from hybridization, it has paid less attention to how strategic human resource management (SHRM) may play a role in managing these social-business tensions. Given the increasing complexity nonprofit organizations (NPOs) face, this hybrid context presents a valuable opportunity to examine the concept of SHRM “fit” in terms of different stakeholder demands, diverse and competing goals and resulting tensions. This article aims to conceptualize and contextualize SHRM fit in hybridized NPOs to gain a better understanding of how organizations can orientate their systems and practices to manage competing demands stemming from hybridization. Hereby, we use SHRM fit to illustrate the opportunities for and limitations on practice within a hybrid context. Bringing the nonprofit and hybrid literature together, we develop a typology of nonprofit hybridization that distinguishes NPOs according to their financial and social orientation and specify the tensions and management approaches that dominate these types. Drawing on the concept of SHRM fit, we advance a framework and propositions on how the management approaches in each of the types result in different configurations of vertical and horizontal fit that address social-business tensions. Hereby we extend current debates in the hybridization literature on tensions between opposing goals and research on SHRM approaches in NPOs and contribute to a theoretically-informed understanding of the implications of tension management approaches in variants of hybrid organizations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100987
Number of pages16
JournalHuman Resource Management Review
Issue number4
Early online date1 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023


  • Strategic human resource management
  • Nonprofit hybridization
  • Social-business tensions
  • Vertical fit
  • Horizontal fit


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