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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)
close this folderOverview
close this folderThe internal impetus and imperatives for organizational performance and change management
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentElements of NGDO performance and change management
View the documentOrganizational diagnosis
View the documentChange management interventions
View the documentConclusion


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.

Elements of NGDO performance and change management

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.

Organizational diagnosis

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

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.