|Organizational Performance and Change Management - Workshop proceedings - October 1-3, 1997, International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), Philippines (IIRR, 1997)|
THROUGHOUT THE WORKSHOP, issues arose from identifying performance assessment points, using assessment models, frameworks and tools, as well as change management. Two themes, however, appeared to dominate all of these points. What appeared to pose the most dilemmas and challenges and provide the source of most learnings and insightful reflections were questions relating to stakeholdership of development work and to NGDOs being learning organizations.
The issues as far as stakeholdership is concerned were:
· Who among the key players in development work has the greatest stake in the processes of organizational performance assessment and change management?
· Who stands to benefit from, or bear the risk/responsibility/ accountability of, their consequences?
· Who participates and in what form?
· From where should the impetus for undertaking all of these processes emanate?
· Who sets the rules, parameters and standards of, and expectations from, the exercise of these processes?
More specifically, important issues about the stakeholdership of donors were raised. The questions raised were, "What is the evolving role of funding agencies in all of these processes? Shouldn't funding agencies start mainstreaming the funding of these and other processes which are requisites to effective, efficient and relevant delivery of development services by NGDOs, which is what they want, ultimately?"
Still on the issue of donor role, an alternative, albeit non-traditional and rather uncertain, source of funding for organizational performance and change management was pointed out by a representative of the communities: "If the beneficiaries are the reasons for an NGDO's being, then shouldn't they be the ones who should sustain it; that if beneficiaries find an NGDO's services necessary, shouldn't they ensure continuous delivery by paying for such?"
A good proportion of the other issues shared by many participants had something to do with the dilemmas they experienced in trying to be as "characteristically-learning-organization" as possible in undertaking the processes of performance assessment and change management even in the face of their resource and capability limitations.
For instance, if NGDOs are really serious in their intention to continuously learn and improve their performance, it was suggested that they should invest in a Management Information System (MIS) of sorts that would provide feedback on how they are faring. Installing a MIS can address the comparability, measurability and reliability requirements of performance indicators.
But how can NGDOs, who have been known for their inadequacies in research and documentation, money, time and competency-wise, do this? Also, the indicators of performance for the learning organization paradigm do not easily lend themselves to precise quantification because the approach to development engendered by this perspective is largely process-oriented. This was stressed as further complicating the process of performance assessment, both in the indicator development and the evaluation proper stages.
One of the biggest challenges to managing change faced by NGDOs is the task of educating their various constituencies on change itself. This was an issue introduced in relation to NGDOs being learning organizations. It refers to the NGDOs' three-tiered task of introducing and cultivating a change-friendly mindset among their staff that would not risk the erosion of their core organizational values, developing and enhancing their internal competencies for change management, and advocating for funding support for the same among their donor-partners.
TOWARDS THE CONCLUSION of the workshop, the group made a statement about the future direction of the NGDO movement. It included points on accountability-driven organizational performance assessment and change management. NGDOs should take up the challenge of being catalysts and advocates among peers and other constituencies of the subjects.
The following action points were proposed by the assembly, as first efforts towards fulfilling these roles:
Confirmation of the group as an informal network
The attending participants signified their commitments to becoming an informal network whose primary objective was to share resources and exchange services in the pursuit of promoting excellence in performance and rational change management among NGDOs.
This involved the compilation and publication of the six cases presented in the workshop as well as soliciting new cases on organizational performance and change management from interested participants for future sharing.
Compilation of assessment frameworks and tools
It was the impression of many participants that there already exists a wealth of frameworks and tools that can be used for both institutional and program assessments. Along this line, it was decided that the best thing to do was to do an inventory of these tools and compile them into a resource book.
Identification and benchmarking of performance indicators
As above, it was felt that it would be a useless re-invention of the wheel if the group would embark on the identification of performance indicators and the setting of corresponding standards without surveying existing ones first. It was decided, therefore, that the compilation of existing institutional and program indicators would be the first step to achieving this target.
Capability-building on change management
Informally, the participants pledged to pursue activities that would enhance NGDO as well as PO capabilities on change management, whether on their own, or as a subgroup of some of the participating organizations to this workshop, or as the informal network confirmed in this workshop.
Advocacy to funding agencies
In view of the perceived need to engage donors into funding organizational assessment and change management activities, advocacy towards this end was particularly noted to be a major task of the informal network that was set-up.
Below is a listing of the specific commitments made by the participating organizations.
New lead group
· Visayas Cooperative Development Center Incorporated (VICTO)
· Foundation for Philippine Environment (FPE)
· Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP)
· Philippine-German Development Foundation, Inc. (PhilGerFund)
· International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR)
Publication of workshop proceedings and cases presented
· Secretariat and organizing committee
On People's Organisation autonomy:
· Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA)
· Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA)
· Upland NGO Assistance Committee (UNAC)
· Norwegian Filipino Foundation, Incorporated (NORFIL)
· MERCI-Phil Development Foundation, Incorporation (MERCI-Phil)
On performance assessment and change management experiences of indigenous peoples' organizations
On the evolution of the business perspective among development organizations
Setting of performance standards or benchmarking
· Community Organization Training and Research Advocacy Institute (CO-TRAIN)
Compilation of assessment tools
· Management Advancement Systems Association, Inc. (MASAI)
It was decided that the current organizing committee will coordinate offshoot activities from the workshop until the new lead group has its bearings and is ready to take over the informal network management. As for the specific assignments, the first organization listed for each task was assigned as the lead agency for that task.