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CARE’s 2020 transformation process: lessons in change leadership and change management

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CARE’s 2020 transformation process: lessons in change leadership and change management

By Tosca Bruno van-Vijfeijken

From 2013 to 2016, the Transnational NGO Initiative team at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University (USA) worked with CARE International to reflect on the first phase of its organizational transformation process, CARE 2020.[1]  The team conducted a wide range of interviews and engaged in periodic reflections with the change management team over a two and a half year period to track the change journey.  CARE International’s leadership asked for their reflections on the process to date to inform the way the next phase of their change unfolded.

CARE has accomplished some items on its ‘2020’ agenda thus far: for example governance reform which allows it to make bolder decision making and separates managing from governing roles, and growth  of its Southern membership. CARE should feel good about this progress. Notwithstanding, people both inside CARE as well as outside observers noted that CARE also struggled to accomplish other important agenda items. In our analysis as Maxwell team, we found the concepts on ‘leadership framing’ by Lee Bolman and Terrance Deal’s to be exceptionally useful in understanding the strengths as well as weaknesses of CARE’s approach to change leadership and management. In their work, Bolman and Deal identify four frames – human resource, structural, political, and symbolic – and the need for leaders to choose their leadership behaviors strategically by integrating these frames:

The Structural frame emphasizes the organization as a machine, a set of structures, management processes, policies and systems. The Human Resource frame emphasizes the need to understand the organization as a ‘family’, with employees who need motivation and job satisfaction in order to be productive. The Political frame sees the organization as a ‘jungle’, emphasizing the importance of power, political arenas, and struggles among factions for access and resources within organizations. The Symbolic frame emphasizes the organization as a ‘stage or temple’, in which perceptions, appearances, rituals and meaning making are important and in which due attention is paid to organizational culture. 

In our assessment, CARE excelled on the structural frame, with its highly sophisticated formal change planning instruments and its initial focus on restructuring country office line management. This managerial approach detracted attention somewhat from the equally important political and symbolic frames. This meant that CARE’s change coalition made insufficient use of power analysis, bargaining (trading your support for that of another), the addition or detraction of stakeholders (player strategy), and conflict management skills to overcome political resistance. Accounting for the fact that CARE’s member pool is fairly unbalanced in political weight and resources did not make leading change easier. Moreover, in the first phase of CARE’s 2020 process, CARE did not fully leverage opportunities for culture change, such as hiring, onboarding, task assignment, promotion and (formal and informal) reward practices that could have been seized upon more to drive culture change. CARE needs to be applauded, however, for the intentional ways in which it built learning into its change management process and it is already applying that learning into phase 2 of CARE 2020.

 


[1] The Transnational NGO Initiative has undertaken case studies and/or evaluations of change leadership and management responses to large organizational change processes in Save the Children, Oxfam, CARE and Amnesty International. For more information, check https://www.maxwell.syr.edu/moynihan/tngo/INGO_Learning_Group_on_Organizational_Change/ [HYPERLINK]

2017 Global NGO Tech Report

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2017 Global NGO Tech Report

See the full report here.

2017 digital ngo capture

Short-term deployments with Peace Corps & UNV

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Short-term deployments with Peace Corps & UNV

One of the latest posts at the Jayne Cravens Blog discusses opportunities for short-term volunteer work through the UN volunteer program. To read the whole story, click this link.

What effective short-term international volunteering looks like

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What effective short-term international volunteering looks like

The TNGO Initiative recently shared a post from the Jayne Cravens Blog about the harm of short-term voluntourism. Today, we offer reasonable alternatives to make real impact with your dollars and time. The Jayne Cravens Blog recently posted an article titled "What effective short-term international volunteering looks like," chronicling options for want to be change-makers. The full article can be found here. However, below we offer short exempts which may be useful.

"...not all pay-to-serve programs are purely voluntourism: there are some terrific programs that require volunteers to pay their own way, such as Bpeace traveling business mentors and Humanist Service Corps (more on pay-to-serve programs I think are worthwhile here). There are also examples like this: students from the College of Engineering at Oregon State University going to Kenya to help a small village create a series of water projects to give them sustainable, ongoing access to clean water; the local Kenyan people benefited from the project because they defined what they wanted, and they worked alongside the students so that they could take on more and more responsibilities themselves."

The harm of orphanage voluntourism (& wildlife voluntourism as well)

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The harm of orphanage voluntourism (& wildlife voluntourism as well)

"Think about it: these organizations are claiming that foreigners, who may or may not be appropriate to be around children, who may or may not have any experience working with children, who may not even speak the local language, should come interact with orphans, and that an ever-changing group of foreign volunteers, coming in for a few days or weeks at a time, can somehow transform the lives of vulnerable children. Or wildlife. The only thing those foreign volunteers need is the ability to pay all of their transportation, accommodation costs, and program fees to the trip organizer. No criminal background check, no verifiable, needed skills – just money and will."

Read the full blog post here.

‘Rage Giving’ Fills Coffers Of Groups Opposing Trump

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‘Rage Giving’ Fills Coffers Of Groups Opposing Trump

Groups like Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services in New Haven, Planned Parenthood, and the American Civil Liberties Unions are reporting an uptick in giving since the election.

David Van Slyke, dean of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, said the challenge for nonprofits is to turn those first-time donors into regular contributors. "When you want to message and communicate with new donors, you want to demonstrate very quickly that you're using the money efficiently and effectively and it's really focused on a goal," said Van Slyke, who studies nonprofits. "And then you come back ... and you say, 'Look, we think we're in a real battle and we think we're making progress.'"

"This kind of resistance to the president will be sustainable for a small group of people," Van Slyke, but the donors he calls "the indifferent middle" may start to drop off when campaigns move from opposing Trump to supporting a particular issue.


Read the full story from the Hartford Courant here.

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