Interstitial Organizations as Conversational Bridges

Organizational life today is beset by demands for accountability: from health care and banking to humanitarian aid and higher education, there is a clamor to demonstrate and document effectiveness. This progressive rationalization has seen scientific practices of evaluation and managerial concepts of efficiency move into voluntary and charitable domains. The hesitant embrace of performance metrics in the U.S. nonprofit sector is an example of this recombination of practices.

Our maps reflect the presence of civic ideals, managerial concepts, and scientific assessments among 369 organizations actively involved in efforts at measuring social impact.

Density is high at the center of this triangle, in the interstice between the communities of science, management, and associations. Organizations in this position draw on all three discourses, representing an interstitial community.