MEASURING THE STRENGTHENING OF ORGANIZATIONS
How Much Stronger?
by Phil Bartle, PhD
How to determine the extent to which an organization has developed capacity
Communities and Organizations:
When this methodology was developed, it was intended to identify the elements of community strength, and determine a method for measuring changes in community empowerment. It became apparent, however, that "community capacity" meant "how well the community was organized."
The sixteen elements (with two or three minor modifications in definition) and the participatory method for measuring levels and changes, are essentially the same for measuring organizational capacity as well as community capacity. The analysis and procedures can therefore be used to look at increased (or sometimes decreased) capacity of community based organizations (CBOs), non governmental organizations (NGOs), commercial businesses and enterprises, governmental departments and ministries, and district and local authorities.
The elements that need to be redefined are essentially the same, but are seen differently for communities and for organizations. This does not mean that a community is exactly the same thing as an organization. Far from it. But the strength of a community depends mainly upon how and how well it is organized. Two elements need to be modified: (1) communal services and (2) intervention.
The communal services of a community include its roads, clinics, schools, water supply, sanitation system, markets. The equivalent of an organization is its physical plant (rented or owned), what access do staff and clients have to toilets, water, office space, work space, work equipment, tools, supplies and other physical requirements. They may be for working effectively (or at all) or for comfort.
Animation intervention as such is something specific to communities. This is the mobilizer, social animator, community development officer, social change agent, extension officer, any person or group charged with stimulating change within a community. In organizations, in contrast, these are usually found in the form of outside management consultants, experts, specialists, whose job is to work with the staff of an organization to examine current practices and assist in decision making that will lead to better organizational methods.
Comparing strength of organizations with strength of communities:
Apart from "communal services" (tools), all sixteen elements are the same in communities and in organizations.
The Elements of Organizational Strength:
What are those components, or elements, of capacity, that change as an organization becomes more empowered? Link to: Sixteen Elements of Capacity.
The Measurement Methods:
How can strength, or changing levels of strength, be measured? Link to Participatory Methods of Measuring Empowerment.
Workshop Handouts to Use in Measuring Empowerment:
To accompany the two substantive documents mentioned above, (1) the sixteen elements of empowerment and (2) a participatory method for measuring capacity building, several workshop handouts have also been prepared as part of this module.
Sixteen Elements of Capacity, handout; Participants' Notes to Measuring increased Capacity, Handout; Form for Measuring Change in Power, Handout.
© Copyright 1967, 1987, 2007 Phil Bartle