Many professionals prefer to work in nonprofit organizations, rather than in either for-profit or bureaucratic organizations. This preference suggests that nonprofits may be successful in reducing the tension between professional principles and institutional requirements. Professionals in for-profit organizations must submit to the control of a manager who is motivated to overrule them whenever their decisions come into conflict with the goal of profit maximization. Bureaucratic organizations stress predictability of results and adherence to rules as the overriding criteria of evaluation and control. This paper argues that nonprofits are on the whole superior from the point of view of professional ideology and practice. Thus, given a commitment to the values of professionalism, the preference for the nonprofit form becomes understandable, even without the usual assumptions about income-maximizing behavior.

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