The Three P’s in Nonprofit Human Service Mergers: Strategic Response to Coping with a Crisis

Michal Almog-Bar, Itay Greenspan, Hillel Schmid, Ayelet Oreg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


COVID-19 has heralded a health and socioeconomic crisis that has made it difficult for nonprofit human service organizations (NPHSOs) to play their social roles and achieve their goals. This article examines how the merger of NPHSOs can serve as a strategy for coping with an organizational crisis caused by external extreme events such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The study focused on eight mergers of Israeli NPHSOs. Using in-depth interviews and a survey methodology of senior managers and board members who have participated in the merger process, we explore the motives, challenges, and key processes characterizing these mergers. The findings are organized around three stages in the merging process–the Three P’s in human service mergers: Pre-merger, when the motives and barriers were examined; Process, where decision-making mechanisms, issues of belonging and identity, and coping with conflicts and trust-building were examined; and Post-merger, where attitudes toward the outcomes of the merger and its success in various organizational areas were assessed. The findings also point to a lack of proper preparation and orientation for the merger, ego struggles between managers and workers, and the need for socializing the employees to the merger. We conclude by discussing the importance of planning for and attending to the human capital in the merged NPHSOs, the need to build a shared sense of belonging, and the value of shaping a new and shared organizational culture. Implications to theory, practice, and policy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-322
Number of pages18
JournalHuman Service Organizations Management, Leadership and Governance
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • COVID-19
  • nonprofit human service mergers
  • organizational culture
  • pre-, process, and post-merger
  • response to a crisis
  • success and failure


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