|Organizational Performance and Change Management - Workshop proceedings - October 1-3, 1997, International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), Philippines (IIRR, 1997)|
|Organization of the workshop|
IN THE PHILIPPINES, as in many other countries, Non-Government Development Organizations (NGDOs) continue to increase in number. This trend, plus the growing awareness and capacities of partner communities and governments in participatory development activities, are influencing NGDOs in two ways. The first is that NGDOs are forced to explore their niche and enter into partnerships with local and international organizations, including governments. Secondly, this puts pressure on NGDOs to maintain and improve the efficiency and professionalism in their operations.
Unless an NGDO is able to keep up with these two demands called for by the changes in the development community, it is likely to close in the face of competition for resources.
NGDOs are now finding it difficult to maintain credibility to find funds to keep them going. These organizations also experience leadership crisis due to the fast turn-over of its leaders. Given these scenarios, NGDOs must make dramatic improvements in their organizational performance to stay competitive and form partnerships with the other players in the development community. These dramatic improvements in performance are called "stretched goals".
When such goals are set, organizations must create new processes, activities, programs and responsibilities accordingly to cope with change and reach their goals. Core performance indicators are essential to identify the types of changes and adjustments necessary for NGDOs to achieve their stretched goals. Although organizational assessment tools currently exist, most were developed based on the experiences of the business sector. As Stone and Critteden (1993) found in their review of literature on strategic management, there is no criteria for measuring performance or effectiveness within a nonprofit organization. This is largely due to NGDOs focusing on input or process, rather than outcome. The solution is to clearly define the performance criteria for development organizations so that the appropriate organizational assessment tools are developed to help NGDOs manage change without compromising effectiveness.
Organizing the workshop
Motivated by these findings, IIRR in 1996, conducted a correspondence-based consultation on the relevance of, and willingness of Philippine-based NGDOs to participate in a workshop on organizational performance and change management. It got positive responses from the majority of 25 NGDOs and IIRR began planning the workshop. An Organizing Committee was formed to plan the activity and coordinate its outcome. The Philippine-German Development Foundation, Inc. (PhilGerFund), World Vision Development Foundation, Inc. (WVI), Management Advancement Systems Association, Inc. (MASAI) and Caucus of Development NGOs (CODE-NGO) joined IIRR in the Committee as they expressed an interest in moving towards effective organizational performance, change management and representing the NGDO network.
The workshop, funded by the Ford Foundation, was held from 1 - 3 October, 1997 at the IIRR Campus in Silang, Cavite, Philippines.
The participants were senior managers from four operating NGDOs, six technical support NGDOs, three funding agencies and three networks. A directory of participants is in Annex 1.
The general aims of the workshop were to:
· contribute to the growing movement of NGDOs that consciously look at their performance from both an accountability and internal group learning need; and
· help NGDOs adapt with changes in the development community so they can respond better to the needs of the poor and marginalized.
The specific objectives formulated to meet the aims were:
· sharing concrete experiences in assessing organizational performance, introducing and managing changes in the organization;
· identifying critical factors and indicators commonly used in assessing organizational performance;
· sharing and reviewing approaches, methods and tools commonly applied by organizations in assessing their performance and in managing change;
· determining gaps/areas for improvement in organizational performance and change management; and
· identifying possible courses of action to the identified gaps/areas of improvement.
The expectations expressed by the participants were both on the process and content. These were to:
· discuss processes and methods of undertaking change management or adaptive management approaches and experiences of NGDOs in implementing crucial organizational changes;
· gain more knowledge on, and adopt suitable approaches, methods and tools in assessing organizational performance and change management. This relates specifically to techniques used:- to soften the effects of change among personnel; and
- beyond the re-engineering phase.
· learn from the experiences of other organizations about their reaction to current issues affecting the management of development work, such as globalization and sustainability;
· come up with a list of performance criteria, critical factors and indicators commonly used in assessing organizational performance;
· learn about the experiences of other NGDOs in setting organizational performance indicators;
· exchange notes on monitoring and evaluation systems;
· validate whether or not to consider only the factors within, or even those beyond, the control of NGDOs, in assessing organizational performance;
· share about the changing roles of international NGDOs and Philippine NGDOs and what these changes mean to their partnerships; and
· study themes in NGDO performance and change management to develop as full research topics.
Workshop activity flow
The workshop began with an overview of the internal and external impetus for organizational performance and change management to set the stage for deeper and more comprehensive discussions during the small group and plenary discussions.
Each workshop had different types of sessions. This provided a focus for the smaller group workshops and allowed individuals to share their concerns in these workshops.
The first type of discussion was an open forum, intended to clarify the facts of each case. Then, the participants either broke into small groups, or stayed in a larger group for the second type of discussion on specific workshop concerns.
Each workshop was concerned with identifying certain factors. These were:
Critical performance assessment points and indicators
Frameworks, tools and techniques for assessing
Facilitating and hindering factors to change
In all three workshops, issues on using the identified factors were raised. The results of each workshop were presented to the plenary by groups. A summary of each presentation ended each workshop. There was also a summary of the issues, gaps and challenges raised at each workshop. This provided a focus in forming responses and action points. Action points were discussed in plenary.