Skip to Main Content
Maxwell School
Maxwell / Moynihan / Transnational NGO Initiative

Leading and Managing Organizational Change in INGOs

The Transnational NGO Initiative undertakes significant work in the area of Leading and Managing Organizational Change. On the request of some big INGOs, we have helped these organizations to document their change processes including their lessons learned in terms of leadership and management. For example, Save the Children International (SCI) asked us in 2010 to write a case study of their organizational transformation for their internal purposes. SCI allowed us to also develop a publically available teaching case, which you can find here. In 2013-2014, Oxfam asked us to play an ‘external accompaniment’ role in Oxfam’s own internal learning on its ‘Single Management System’ change process. In 2014, we began documenting the change process that CARE is undertaking (‘CARE 2020’), and upon their request, we helped facilitate an exchange of lessons learned between Oxfam and CARE on organizational change. In 2016, after interviewing multiple stakeholders and reviewing several internal documents, we shared our reflections and recommendations on the leadership and management behind CARE's organizational change process thus far. We received a similar request from Amnesty International in 2014 to provide a mid-term assessment of the organization's process of "moving closer to the ground" also referred to as the Global Transition Programme (GTP). We were approached again in 2016 to lead the final, external evaluation of the GTP, which is currently underway and will be completed by April 2017. 

We also offer extensive training modules on leading and managing organizational change in our TNGO Leadership Institute programming [Leadership Institute]  as well as in our customized, organization-specific senior leadership training programs. We have offered customized leadership development training to organizations including Amnesty International, Oxfam International, ActionAid International, Greenpeace International and Population Council. If your NGO is interesting in receiving our help in documenting your change process and learning from your experiences mirrored against these of others, then please contact Tosca Bruno-van Vijfeijken (tmbruno@maxwell.syr.edu; phone +1.315.443.5073). 

The INGO Learning Group on Organizational Change came about in early 2012 when a group of INGOs with offices, among others, in the UK and Europe who were interested in learning from each other about governing, leading and managing organizational change in INGOs got together. Currently, Amnesty International, the Irish INGOs CAFOD, Trocaire and SCIAF, CARE, Islamic Relief, Oxfam, Save the Children, WWF and World Vision are among a few of our members. The informally-constituted INGO Learning Group on Organizational Change wishes to learn from each other in order to better design, manage, implement and evaluate their own change processes. Thus far, members have engaged in candid, ‘safe space’ discussions through teleconferences, face to face meetings and through a virtual meeting and document sharing space. At the end of 2016, we transitioned into a slightly different model, whereby the group will exist as an organic, peer-learning platform, allowing members to engage with peers as needed on topics that their organization finds to be most pressing.