Succession in community organisations: Newcomers and the "purple circle"

Document Type

Journal Article


Faculty of Business and Law


School of Management / Small and Medium Enterprise Research Centre




This article was originally published as: Paull, M., & Redmond, J. L. (2011). Succession in community organisations: Newcomers and the "purple circle". Third Sector Review, 17(2), 131-152.


Those associated with community organisations often comment on the difficulty of finding new people to carryon the work of the organisation. This paper makes a number of propositions on the subject of succession in community organisations; they have emerged from research into ageing volunteers, barriers to newcomers and succession management. One of the ways that people hamper succession is the creation of the 'purple circle'. This group can, intentionally or unintentionally, dominate organisations, discourage newcomers and prevent the succession of new people into key roles. This paper explores some of the practices of community organisations and offers ideas from organisational behaviour and human resource management literature that might help organisations to respond more appropriately to matters of succession and the 'purple circle'.

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