What are the capacities of an effective social change organisation (SCO)? Some SCOs may value strategic planning capacities, while others financial accountability to donors, improved teamwork, or networking capacities. But do the different capacities that SCOs seek purposefully support meaningful social change? How much of what SCOs deem as ‘worth strengthening’ is based on linear thinking, or unhealthy power interests, or what donors want them to want, or a combination of these?
This article argues that the capacities that different organisations value are conditioned by a mix of individual, organisational and societal worldviews, including deeply held assumptions on the nature of change and one’s roles in affecting change. It posits that the processes SCOs use to attempt to intentionally ‘build’ their capacities should surface these worldviews in order to find more purposeful and systemic relationships between its internal processes, systems and capacities and the complex change that an organisation seeks to support.
This article comes from the IDS Bulletin 41.3 (2010) A Case for Surfacing Theories of Change for Purposeful Organisational Capacity Development