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faith-based organization, nursing home, long-term care, performance, service quality, service access


To date, the common rhetoric and assumptions on the performance of faith-based organizations (FBOs), ironically, appear to be faith based rather than empirically supported: There is a paucity of research evaluating the effectiveness of FBOs that uses sufficiently rigorous methods and multiple measures of organizational performance. This study seeks to inform the debate on the relative effectiveness of FBOs by comparing religiously affiliated and secular nonprofit nursing homes using two distinct but complementary measures of organizational performance: service quality and access for impoverished clients. Using nationally representative panel data on 11,877 church-affiliated and secular nonprofit nursing homes, this study examines the effect of ownership with several regression models. Overall, the findings fail to confirm the assumption that FBOs perform better than secular nonprofit organizations in the context of the nursing home industry. Isomorphic pressures and commercialization trends within the nursing home industry are discussed to help explain these findings.


This is the accepted version of a paper published in TNonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. This paper has been peer-reviewed but does not include the final publisher proof-corrections or journal pagination.

Publisher Attribution

The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Vol.38(3), pp.490-521, 2009, published by SAGE Publishing, All rights reserved.

Amirkhanyan, Hyun Joon Kim, & Lambright. (2009). Faith-Based Assumptions About Performance. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 38(3), 490-521. doi: 10.1177/0899764008320031



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