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Archive for octubre, 2017

oct. 28 2017

Analysing HEIs and educational IOs and NGOs for global development: some tools

GLOBED is an Erasmus+ master on Education Policies for Global Development (link). In their second year students undertake an internship in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), International Organisations (IOs) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) who work in this area. This activity is assessed according to the feedback of on-site mentors as well as to the quality of their journal and their analysis of the organisation. This post takes stock of a few tools that may be helpful for this organisational analysis.

The European Framework for Quality Management is extremely useful to account for the complexity of these organisations. Years ago, HEIs simply provided education, but nowadays many are also engaged in research, knowledge transference and international cooperation. International Organisations have significantly reviewed their mission for the last decades. The array of activities they labelled as “educational planning” when the UN were created has noticeably widened. Finally, the common representation of NGOs as service providers for vulnerable target groups has also been transformed. Currently, not only NGOs undertake ressearch and advocacy, besides service provision, but they have also started a wide-ranging debate on their vision and mission.

Normally I just use this diagram to explore the potential of organisations. It basically suggests some questions as the following ones:

– Which are the core processes ? Does the organisation need to implement any key support, secondary processes to complete the core ones?

– How does the organisation define its institutional strategy (e.g. its mission)?  How do the main stakeholders intervene in defining this strategy? Is leadership a significant factor for the functioning of the organisation’

– To what extent are the strategy and the processes aligned? Does this alignment contribute to improve the results?

Sometimes organisations are involved in such a basic but demanding endeavour as defining their strategy. Strategy is crucial in a rapidly changing context. A quick look at the evolution from MDGs to SDGs simply shows to what extent the context of HEIs, IOs and NGOs working for global development has been transformed. The emergence of new philanthropists has exacerbated the trend.

SWOT analysis is an easy and instrumental tool to think about strategies. Basically, it requires to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of an organisation. Some models also shed light on strategies insofar as they highlight complexity, non-linear changes and contingencies. This one sets a good illustration.

Finally, specific tools to analyse the impact of research are in the making. Recent debates have focused on the impact of HEIs, who were the main agents of research a few decades ago. But clearly IOs and NGOs are launching their own research programmes. So, accounting for the demonstrable effects of research both within and outside the academia has become a new focus of interest.


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