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Regular version of the site

HSE Staff Recognized for their Contribution to the Theory of Research into the Public Sector

Joint work led by David Horton Smith, Leading Research Fellow at the Centre for Studies of Civil Society and the Nonprofit Sector (CSCSNS) (Research and Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, USA), and director of the Centre, Irina Mersiyanova has received the Felice Davidson Perlmutter Award for the best theoretical research work into the non-profit sector.

The Felice Davidson Perlmutter Award is named after a sociologist who made a significant contribution to the theoretical analysis of questions relating to the management and development of organizations in the non-profit sector. The award recognizes American and international research that includes both a systematic analysis of empirical data and an innovative theoretical approach.

Candidates for the award must meet the following criteria: research must be interdisciplinary, include a solid theoretical basis and involve innovative theoretical approaches to research into current problems faced in the non-profit sector.

The research by David Horton Smith and Irina Mersiyanova, entitled ‘S-Theory as a Generalized Explanation of Informal Volunteering’ is based on results of the sociological survey ‘Motivating Volunteer Activity’, which was carried out by the Centre for Studies of Civil Society and the Nonprofit Sector on 2,000 adult Russians across the country, supported by the HSE’s Fundamental Research Programme.

The study produced by David Horton Smith and Irina Mersiyanova is rooted in a complex theory developed by David Horton Smith that makes it possible to explain an individual’s behavior, including their social behavior and engagement with volunteering, by applying a range of indices.

The extensive range of variables used in these indices takes into account the impact on individual behavior of factors such as: socio-demographic features, physical and psychological health, emotional state and character quirks, verbal ability, hobbies, relations with others, the impact of close friends and acquaintances, among others.

The award focuses on the development of innovative theoretical approaches, which is particularly relevant to the highly complex, comparative, and under-studied area of research that is the non-profit sector.

The scale and diversity of empirical studies often lags behind generalizations and theoretical concepts. The fact that members of the Centre have been recognized internationally by this prize is testimony to the fact that the theoretical research work carried out at the Centre is of the highest standards and has great potential.

The official awards ceremony will take place during the ARNOVA conference, one of the most important international events in research into the non-profit sector, which is to be held from November 17 – November 19.