Travailler efficacement à travers les différentes cultures organisationnelles
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Travailler efficacement à travers les différentes cultures organisationnelles

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Introduction to Community Development

Community
Development
Strategies

Working Effectively Across Different Organizational Cultures

Introduction

Conflict within collaboratives is often inevitable, due to different organizational values, cultures, levels of experience and degree of expertise among organizations. These differences make it difficult to work in harmony. Despite common concerns, organizations have their own “take” on the problem, and their own set of assumptions and preferred solutions. They may also have different expectations around decision making processes, information flow, time commitments, and how power, authority and responsibility is shared. Collaborating organizations don’t need to have the same culture in order to be successful, but they do need to understand and accommodate differences among them.

Working Effectively Across Different Organizational Cultures

Questions that might be useful to ask before committing to the collaborative are:

• Do partners have similar mandates? Do they overlap? Is there duplication?
• Is there a conflict of interest among any of the participating organizations or with the aims of the collaborative? For example, is there likely to competition for funds?
• How are decisions to be made?
• How will the work load be shared?
• What constraints does each of the partners have in terms of costs, political concerns and approval processes?
• What are the expectations in terms of time commitment; both in terms of the amount of time required for effective participation and whether there needs to be strict adherence to time frames; e.g. meetings stopping and staring on time, critical deadlines for task completion.
• Is there an expectation that some work will be handled by volunteers? How are they to be recruited? Who is responsible for their training and supervision?
• Are participating organizations or individuals expected to perform some work on their own time?

Working Effectively Across Different Organizational Cultures

Questions that might be useful to ask before committing to the collaborative are:

If you responded “no” to any of the questions below, a coalition might not be an appropriate structure to accomplish your goals. See Resources for a printable copy.

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Working Effectively Across Different Organizational Cultures

Tool: Collaboration Framework

The following Collaboration Framework [1] compares the purpose, structure and process of different levels of collaboration. See Resources for a printable copy.


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Working Effectively Across Different Organizational Cultures

Tool: Tips for Improving Coalition Functioning

The following is a list of strengths and weaknesses that happen at each level of a coalition and tips to help you address them. See Resources for a printable copy.

Working Effectively Across Different Organizational Cultures
Individuals

Individual Members
Strengths:
• members are confident in each others’ skills
• diversity of ideas/perspectives
• creativity
• humour
• openness to feedback, new ideas and criticism willing to give and take re: time/profile/work/ information/expertise

Weaknesses:
• personal agendas; people who are in it:
- to enhance image
- to gain access to resources
- to sabotage efforts
- to push a certain idea
- make them feel good
• Passive aggressive personalities;
• different levels of passion -real or perceived
• undermine decision-process
• personality conflicts
• · control issues
• lack of flexibility
• lack of understanding of concepts
• tension between professionals and volunteers

Tips:
• look at potential coalition members to evaluate suitability; look for commitment towards outcomes and motivation and believe in the objectives of the coalition
• terms of reference should include
• process for conflict resolution; use/increase skills in conflict management
• get to know others on coalition
• elect chair with good facilitation skills to manage disruptive members
• provide skills training; orientation to members
• create a “space” for community volunteers; differentiate role from professional members; provide time on agenda for their input and feedback.

Group Process

Group Process
Strengths:
• trust
• respect
• shared power
• shared ownership
• teamwork
• team “check-ins”
• defined roles
• understand investments and benefits
• mutual care and concern
• have fun
• wealth of resources within the group’ members willing to share resources

Weaknesses:
• varying expectations
• use of jargon, systems that some nonprofessional members do not understand or are not comfortable with
• lack of understanding of stages of group development
• role confusion
• unequal resources of members
• lack of respect for others’ viewpoints
• lack of investment
• lack of commitment to take on tasks, to work towards outcomes
• lack of accountability
• distrust
• power imbalances
• racism/sexism
• resistance to change

Tips:
• set terms of reference or agreement that defines roles, investments, benefits
• take time to build good group process
• set “ground rules” for how group members relate to each other
• share ideas, life, “check-ins”, build in activities that show care and concern
• let people offer what they can instead of expecting a certain level of participation
• recognize value of coalition regularly/annually through evaluation and celebration of accomplishments
• address issues openly; re-identify goal and objectives, members roles; clarify values, principles, ground rules; if insufficient “common ground”, evaluate whether the group has what it takes

Leadership

Leadership
Strengths:
• understanding of leadership and role of facilitator/chair

Weaknesses:
• negative leadership style (e.g. controlling, not allowing input)

Tips:
• develop understanding of leadership and role of facilitator/chair
• ensure all have input
• work to consensus
• have annual elections for leadership positions
Decision-Making

Decision-Making Process
Strengths:
• everyone has input
• work towards consensus

Weaknesses:
• hasty or inequitable decision-making

Tips:
• chair has good facilitation skills
• actively seek input from all members (silence is not the same as approval)
• allow time for discussion; explore reasons for differences of opinion
Relationship

Relationship With Member Organizations’ Senior Management
Strengths:
• -

Weaknesses:
• direction given by outside manager who doesn’t know what goes on inside the coalition
• members not being able to make decisions have to take it back to own supervisor/board

Tips:
• need to obtain “buy-in” from senior management of member organizations
• request delegation of authority to staff representative on coalition
• members sign agreement that states investment, decision-making process, etc.
Achieving Objectives

Achieving Objectives
Strengths:
• accomplishment creating positive change in community
• good reputation
• involvement of target group
• access to resources
• community buy-in
• clear focus/purpose

Weaknesses:
• lack of direction
• different agendas
• lack of resources
• lack of follow-up
• lack of evaluation

Tips:
• Lack of direction: develop strategic plan involving target population
• Different agendas - diffuse and change/increase number of members with similar commitment to group goal
• Lack of resources:
¬ Go to agency CEO’s to request resources
¬ Members identify own resources to see what they can contribution
¬ Review potential membership and their resources
• Lack of follow-up: find out why may be the person lacks skills/knowledge/ experience: mentor with someone who is learning; if due to forgetting/disorganized, provide check list to follow
• Lack of Evaluation - create evaluation plan
Recruitment of New Members

Recruitment of New Members
Strengths:
• new members join coalition to bring in new ideas, perspectives and resources

Weaknesses:
• need to find new members due loss of members or to obtain needed skills, experience, access to resources, etc.

Tips:
• identify potential benefits of membership
• plan outreach/ communications strategy
• make use of existing members contacts
Introduction to Community Development

End of Unit:
Community Development Strategies
- Working Effectively Across Different Organizational Cultures
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