|Organizational Performance and Change Management - Workshop proceedings - October 1-3, 1997, International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), Philippines (IIRR, 1997)|
The following section discusses the context of current NGDO work and explains the various external impetus for effective organizational performance and change management as shared by Mr. Alan C. Alegre, Development Management Consultant.
INTERNATIONALLY, AMONG THE many factors which have been influencing the definition of the content, processes, scope and arenas of non-government development organization (NGDO) work, the globalization phenomenon has been the most dominant. The end of the cold war and the crisis of socialism have reconfigured everything into a unipolar world dominated by the West, and have contextualized the rise of neoliberalism and capitalism, the major paradigm which underpinned globalization.
Globalization is manifested in the economy, socio-culture, environment and politics.
Globalization is equated with the rise of the neoliberal-capitalist global economy characterized by the transnationalization of capital and its increased mobility, the globalization of the labor market, economic liberalization, privatization and real trade.
On one hand, globalization has brought about the homogenization of cultures into a one-world culture that is dominantly Western. A dominance that is being consolidated more and more by the centralization of cultural resources in the hands of a few big Western communication media and information technology companies. On the other hand, the globalization of communication media has also proven to be advantageous in that its democratizing character has engendered an increasing global social consciousness.
The consumerism of exponentially growing populations and the accompanying unabated economic production fueled by globalization have resulted in the progressive destruction of ecosystems. On a positive note, there has been growing universal recognition of the natural resource crisis as being a borderless phenomenon for which responsibility cannot be demarcated precisely among nations and regions.
The decreasing sovereignty of the nation-state, accompanied by the increasing role of regionalization, has been the most important political development in the era of globalization. More importantly, however, an equivalent trend has been the rising interest in, and role of, the expanding global civil society movement.
In terms of the fund sourcing outlook, flows to Northern NGDOs have continued to come from the gift economy, official aid and the market. Gift economy funds come mainly from personal contributions, official aid from both multilateral and bilateral institutions as well as from tax revenues, and market money from corporate support and NGDO enterprise and investment. Likewise, Southern and Eastern NGDOs have continued to receive funds from the Northern NGDOs as well as from all the other sources contributing to the latter.
Official development assistance (ODA) has been generally decreasing. Personal giving has also been declining. Only the flows from the state have been increasing which could be indicative of the softening stance of the NGDOs towards working with government. The market has also continued to offer some good prospects to alternative sustainable financing. Market funds are considered of the highest quality because of their unrestricted nature.
As far as NGDO-foreign donor relations is concerned, local NGDOs have continued to rely on foreign assistance for bulk of their funds and the funding system has remained short-term and results-oriented, or donor-driven, until now. However, there is growing awareness among progressive-minded donors of the need for NGDOs to overcome their dependence on traditional development financing and become more financially-independent and sustainable. But such realization comes with an increasing demand for accountability. Donors want to see their scarce resources used more efficiently and to have more visible impact on poverty reduction.
In the domestic scene, despite the relative political stability, modest growth in the economy and reduction in poverty incidence, in the last five years, the country's fundamental problems of underdevelopment continue to exist and provide the rationale for NGDO work.
The role and priorities of the Philippine government have been changing consistent with political movements brought about by globalization. This development has translated into the privatization and deregulation of some of the Government's functions, i.e., the transfer of some of its socially-progressive roles to civil society and corporate organizations. It has also resulted in the State placing primacy on its economic, over its social, reform agenda.
The administration of President Corazon Aquino created an NGO-friendly environment that legitimized PO-NGDO development work. Since then, the State has allowed for democratized spaces within which NGDOs can operate. This has affirmed that the State is not monolithic, it is not a closed arena of struggle, and those who want transformation could use this arena for their struggles.
The Local Government Code (LGC), the Philippine Agenda 21 (PA 21) and the Social Reform Agenda (SRA) are examples of major avenues through which NGDOs can engage. Some of the existing mechanisms for direct NGDO participation in governance include: local government units, national policy and planning as well as government line agencies, sectoral representation in Congress and follow-up activities to United Nations Summits and international covenants. However, the huge task of operationalizing the PA 21 and SRA remains on the shoulders of the NGDO community because the government continues to emphasize economic reforms to the neglect of social reforms.
Some strategic NGDO responses to the changing international and domestic context include: engaging in the more mainstream state-led governance, and market-led economic activities; scaling-up through continuous networking and careful alliance/coalition-building; opening up of new arenas and themes for, and enlargement of the scope of, advocacy; enhancing bureaucratic literacy as well as research and alliance building capacity; rethinking social organizing strategies in the light of new spatial arrangements and target groups; and professionalizing NGDO practice.
Some alternative market-based resource generation strategies include: promoting corporate philanthropy and responsibility; undertaking cooperative banking in local communities; enhancing development entrepreneurship through various earned-income strategies such as commercial enterprises and market investments; and internal and external alternative trading and marketing. Among the non-market based alternatives, on the other hand, are namely: sourcing and managing public or government funds, both local and national, and the setting-up and management of endowments.
The professionalization of NGDO practice has become imperative because of external demands and internal pressures for more accountability and better performance. Professionalization could be achieved without eroding the NGDO core spirit.
In conclusion, the very ethos that constitutes the NGDO spirit and drives its movement is empowerment. As long as this remains to be the anchor against which NGDOs constantly reaffirm whatever they are doing, NGDOs should not be afraid to re-invent themselves to make themselves more relevant.
This section tackles the various internal impetus and imperatives for effective organizational performance and change management as shared by Mr. Karel S. San Juan, Development Management Consultant.
THE INTERNAL IMPETUS and imperatives for change management are the "pressures to perform, sustain and learn".
The "pressure to perform" refers to the need for NGDOs to deliver results, and to demonstrate effectiveness, efficiency and impact while doing so. A greater consciousness by an NGDO to achieve a strategic focus in its work could translate to a more well-defined role or niche for it within the development community. Such an outlook is not only and mainly in consideration of an NGDO's accountability to its funders but also because of its commitment to the communities they work with. To deliver results is something they owe their beneficiary-partners who deserve no less.
The "pressure to sustain" means the need for NGDOs to have continuity in leadership/management and sustainability in monetary terms. Three factors bear upon continuity in leadership/management. These include the increasing strains confronted by first line leaders/managers, their sincerity in giving up their positions and developing second liners and the need for the successors to demonstrate their own commitment and willingness to eventually take over leadership/management. Financial sustainability means lessening NGDOs' dependence on external/foreign funding, and generating independent funding for long-term operations.
The "pressure to learn" requires adequate documentation of NGDO efforts and experiences.
The three sets of imperatives are mutually-reinforcing, interdependent and complementary. High performance sustains the organization. But to achieve a high level of performance, learning from past and current experiences is necessary.
There is a need for NGDOs to be more strategic in terms of perspective, i.e., their vision, mission, goals (VMGs). Equally important, however, is translating these VMGs into their operational dimensions by installing organizational and management mechanisms such as program, performance, resource (human and financial), and information, systems and processes.
The four elements of the NGDO performance and change management are as follows:
1. Organizational anchors
These include vision, values, accountabilities to stakeholders and competencies. They keep an organization stable amid the often complex, chaotic and confusion-filled external environment.
2. Organizational design
This defines an organization in terms of its strategies, systems and structures, people and relationships. A well-designed organization exhibits a congruence among these three components. The variables can be the target of change depending on which needs modification in order to better serve the organization.
3. Organizational performance
This can be measured in terms of inputs, outputs and outcomes. The input transformation process says something about an organization's efficiency, the output and outcome generation processes, about its effectivity and impact, respectively.
4. Tensions and polarities in change management
These affect the three previously mentioned elements and, therefore, have to be brought to the awareness and consideration of change managers for them to be able to productively harness these creatively towards organizational development. Examples of dichotomies that managers have to confront when making organizational development choices or decisions are: environmental opportunities and threats, organizational strengths and weaknesses, task and people orientation, individual and team, volunteerism and professionalism, interests of the head office and the field office, standardization and innovation.
NGDOs undergo organizational diagnosis for the following purposes: as a crucial starting point for change management; as a good data gathering mechanism and input for strategic planning; as a donor requirement; and as a response to organizational crisis.
To guide the planning and conduct of the organizational diagnosis process, the following may be useful reflections.
· The need to develop appropriate organizational development (OD) models or frameworks. While there are generic models or frameworks that may be used, there is a need to customize or adapt these to the peculiarities of NGDOs. Many OD models were developed for profit-oriented corporate organizations. These frameworks have to be modified to fit the nature of private, non-profit, service-oriented organizations.
· The need for partnering and mentoring between OD external experts and internal implementors. This was highlighted in consideration of the belief that the OD process has to be owned by the people inside the organization, that the participation or involvement of the NGDO staff themselves is as critical as, if not more critical than, that of the OD consultant.
· The need to secure the commitment of top management and leadership at the start of the OD process. This, to ensure that the organization will allocate the necessary budget and personnel, allows transparency during the whole process, and muster the will to eventually institute the necessary changes.
Change management interventions are at four levels.
1. Strategic level
At the "strategic level of intervention", strategic planning/management is helpful in defining the organizational anchors and formulating the organizational design. While many NGDOs have gone through strategic planning processes, only a few have actually installed the strategic management systems prescribed during the planning exercise. The systems will enable the organization to be constantly sensitive and responsive to internal and external developments.
2. Operations management
"Operations management interventions" are mainly internal systems - and structure - focused. They address the task of organizational design. Factors which contribute to the difficulty of installing and maintaining these systems include: the difficulty to cope with expanded or more complex tasks, lack of time among NGDO managers and leaders to focus on internal management concerns, their lack of management training and expertise as well as the inadequacy of resources to seek external expertise for such purposes.
3. Program and project development and management
"Program as well as project development and management interventions" address weaknesses in organizational performance. Some factors which explain the problems experienced by many NGDOs in measuring their program or project performance include: lack of clarity of what to measure in their performance, lack of system and rigor in planning, and, therefore, poor systems of monitoring and evaluation.
4. Institutional development
"Institutional development interventions" refer to those that develop the capacity of NGDOs to manage their relationships and linkages with other entities in society. It is through these networks and linkages that the NGDOs are able to play societal roles bigger than what they can do on their own.
Any combination(s) of the strategic, operational and program/project interventions may comprise an organizational development strategy or process which may be directed at different targets such as individual, group or team, inter-group, organization-wide and outside organization. These may be of different types: training, consultative, techno-structural, data process/feedback.
The organization's capacity for learning is crucial to its performance and sustainability. Regardless of failure or success, what is important is that organizations learn. To do this, the organizational mindset has to be open to the exploration of new ways of doing things.