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close this bookOrganizational Performance and Change Management - Workshop proceedings - October 1-3, 1997, International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), Philippines (IIRR, 1997)
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Workshop synthesis


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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.