Presentation on theme: "Empowerment Strategies: Theory and Action By Douglas D"— Presentation transcript:
1 Empowerment Strategies: Theory and Action By Douglas D Empowerment Strategies: Theory and Action By Douglas D. Perkins, Program in Community Research & Action Dept. of Human & Organizational Development Peabody College, Vanderbilt University, USA
2 Four Dimensions of Individual-level Social Capital (from Perkins & Long, 2002)
3 Collective efficacy (or empowerment; formal-cognition cell of Figure 1) “trust” in the effectiveness of organized community actionan extremely influential concept in community psychology & beyondrepresents a new approach to social capital by focusing on the cognitive attributions & motivations that lead community members to engage professionals as collaborators rather than as authoritative experts.
4 Empowerment defined:Must mean more than the individual psychological constructs with which it is sometimes compared or confused (e.g., self‑esteem, self‑efficacy, competency, locus of control)"an intentional ongoing process centered in the local community, involving mutual respect, critical reflection, caring, and group participation, through which people lacking an equal share of valued resources gain greater access to and control over those resources" (Cornell Empowerment Group, 1989)or simply a process by which people gain control over their lives, democratic participation in the life of their community (Rappaport, 1987), and a critical understanding of their environment (Zimmerman, 1992).I.E., it is at core a collective construct
5 Empowerment levels, processes & outcomes (based on Perkins & Zimmerman, 1995) communitycollective action to access resourcespluralism, coalitions, community resourcesorganizationcollective decision-making, shared leadershiporganizational development, networks, policy leverageindividualparticipation in community organizationsperceived control, resource mobilization skills
6 Characteristics of Empowering Settings (based on Maton & Salem, 1995) Resource Cultivation:Activating of personal resourcesOpportunity role structure, participatory nichesIncreasing benefits, reducing costs of member participationMentoringBelief System:Group-based belief system, transcending self-concernFocus on strengths of membersFostering of critical awareness among membersGroup Climate:Shared events, celebrationsInspiring leadershipPeer-based social support systemsAppreciating interdependenciesBoundary spanningAppreciating and managing conflictTask Functioning:Inclusive efforts to define community issues, resourcesStructured, clear goals & tasksInclusive, democratic decentralized decision-makingShared leadershipSubgroups for specific tasks or sectors of community
7 Organizations studied for their empowering ways (from Perkins, D. D Organizations studied for their empowering ways (from Perkins, D.D. (1995). Speaking truth to power: Empowerment ideology as social intervention and policy. AJCP, 23, ):self-help groups, educational programsreligious congregations other faith-based community action, service, & advocacy organizationssubstance abuse prevention & health promotion coalitionsenvironmental organizationslarge companiescommunity development organizationsschool-based associationscitizen advisory boards of government agenciesyouth sports & recreation groupscommunity crime prevention groupsresident associations & many other contexts
8 10 recommendations to policy-makers, program planners & empowerment researchers (Perkins, 1995) : 1. Greater attention should be paid to different levels of empowerment... look beyond individualistic conceptions... to collective conceptions... that are commensurate with solving group, organizational & community problems.2. Smaller is better. Beyond the community & organizational level... higher levels of policy-making...result in progressively more ambiguous conceptions of empowerment & diminishing returns... local grassroots efforts may work best.
9 3. The paradox implied in 1 & 2 illustrates a dialectic of empowerment 3. The paradox implied in 1 & 2 illustrates a dialectic of empowerment. Other possible dialectics include (a) emphasizing both personal & collective (and, for some, spiritual) control, (b) the paradoxical requirements of leadership, order, & organization in helping others to help themselves, (c) people's needs for both individual & community identity & (d) for both change & stability (Brown & Perkins, 1992), (e) the personal & organizational benefits of empowerment along with its risks & challenges, (f) a political orientation of both populism & progressivism, & (g) an approach to theory & research that allows for both deductive & inductive logic & both specific & general info... pay more specific attention to what models of empowerment work with what populations in what settings & why.4. The relationship between empowerment cognitions, person-env. transactions, & behaviors must be explored... In particular, because many vague descriptions of "empowering thought patterns," emotions & other intrapsychic constructions have clouded the... concept, greater emphasis on empowering behaviors-- such as citizen participation in the community, workplace, & government-- is needed.
10 5. Researchers need to become more familiar with the policy-making process... & more comfortable disseminating & directly applying their research, not just in a particular organization, but by working with executive, legislative, & judicial bodies & advocacy organizations at all levels, from local to federal & international agencies.6. Follow Coleman's 5 steps to planning effective policy research: "1) identify the parties in policy outcomes & with some power... to affect policy; 2) determine interests of these parties; 3) find what kinds of information are relevant to their interests; 4) determine the best way to obtain this information; 5) determine how to report the results."7. Policy researchers must become more proactive, not only in the planning & evaluation stages, but throughout the process, from agenda formation & policy adoption to policy implementation & review.
11 8. Researchers should play the role more of learner/collaborator than "scientist". ...graduate programs in community psychology & related disciplines should do a better job of training for such a role.9. Learn to disseminate more practical information & to deliver it in (more user-friendly) ways... cultivate information channels within the policy-making bureaucracy. may include choosing multiple target audiences (e.g., legislators, voters, other interest groups), understanding each one's unique orientation, & tailoring the focus & style of presentation accordingly. It requires the ability to present complicated theories & data concisely, in plain but accurate terms (i.e., without overgeneralizing or overstating the case)...10. Both theory & research would be more practical if more psychologists carefully examined & tried to understand the qualitative knowledge about real-world empowerment processes that practitioners bring...The clearest definitions & descriptions of empowerment may come more from voices on the front lines of movements for social change than from the policy or even research literatures...
12 Social Capital at the Organizational Level: The “Learning Organization” A “learning organization” helps staff & volunteers engage in critical analysis of:(a) the organization’s demonstrated goals & values (not just its mission statement),(b) power relationships in decision-making practices,(c) the interdependent role of participant stakeholders & organizations as part of a complex, community-wide (or larger) system, &(d) how to work toward fundamental change of all the above.
13 Organizational learning only happens with opportunities for critical reflection, collaboration, & effective communication.The lit. suggests that “learning organizations:”include all affected staff and clients in program planning, which will enhance individual learning & development, & organization effectiveness.facilitate critical reflection, open communication, & team learning.focus on both an organization’s development & its managers’ & staff’s professional developmentAND (we add):facilitate participants’ development, not only as workers (e.g., skills), but also as citizens (empowerment & participation)encourage participants to respect differences, value justice, fairness, & community, take active roles in society
14 Learning Organizations & Social Capital Learning & other psychological bases of social capital largely untested“Learning organization” processes & outcomes in small non-profit & voluntary organizations & communities not well established or studied as they have been in larger for-profit corporationsValues, norms, beliefs, & aspirations of civic responsibility are learned through child socialization & adult learning in communitiesLearning communities linked to social capital in educational reform & community development
15 Orders of Change & Levels 1st-order change: effects just part of system vs.2nd-order change: systems-level change in the basic goals, structure or processes of the org.Community Change2nd Order1st OrderSystemsIncrementalOrganizational LearningOrganization/CivicRole/TaskIndividual Learning or Development
16 “Learning Communities & Learning Organizations” Pilot Study (Center for Community Studies, Vanderbilt University)focuses on structures, processes, & cultures in community and nonprofit organizations that promote individual, team, & organizational learninghow community organizations create learning opportunities & empowering settingsOrganizational learning practices positively affect group & organizational communication, culture, job satisfaction, & performanceDewey: democracy depends on the creation of a “civil society” by the education & participation of its citizens
17 Decision-Making Practices, Participation, and Learning in Non-Profit Organizations Kimberly Bess, Douglas Perkins, Dan Cooper, Diana JonesOrganizational Change Work Group,Center for Community StudiesPeabody College of Vanderbilt UniversityPrepared for:Prepared for the10th Biennial Conference for theSociety for Community Research & ActionUniversity of Illinois Urbana Champaign**Research funded by Learning Sciences Institute, Vanderbilt University
18 Presentation Focus Study Background Theoretical Framework Working ModelResearch MethodsCase Study ComparisonsLessons, Limitations & Future Directions
19 Study BackgroundPart of a larger two-year exploratory project using mixed methods to study community organizations as contexts for multi-level learningPhase 1: Compilation, from multiple sources, of a comprehensive database of all 2,361 community-based, nonprofit human service, volunteer, and member organizations throughout mid-size southern city.Phase 2: Brief telephone survey of 270 organizations, measuring such organizational characteristics as staff/membership size, use of volunteers, the nature and extent of their activity, organizational type and goalsPhase 3: Case studies of 16 organizations, stratified by organizational type, were selected for in-depth qualitative case studies.Current examination of decision making will focus on data from 2 grassroots neighborhood-based community organizations from qualitative study
20 Exploratory Research Questions What is the relationship between participation, decision making, and individual & organizational learning & empowerment?What is the nature of external influences on how decisions are made in community-based non-profits?What is the impact of organizational learning and of how decisions are made on the organization’s capacity to fulfill their community change goals?
22 Theoretical Framework: Learning Organization Characteristics, Practices, and Foci (based on Marsick, 2000)Learning Organization CharacteristicsLearning Organization Core Practices (Watkins & Marsick, 1993)Foci for enhancing organizational learningSystems thinking capacityProviding strategic leadership for learningCritical reflection: “provide people and systems with the ability to enhance what is an otherwise tacit, experiential learning process”Connecting the organization to its environmentContinuous learning at the systems levelCreating continuous learning opportunitiesGreater participation and accountability by a larger percentage of employeesEncouraging collaboration and team learningCollaboration: “can provide avenues for building joint knowledge”Empowering people toward a collective visionCulture and structure of rapid communication and learningPromoting inquiry and dialogueCommunication: “provides for feedback loops across the system”Knowledge generation and sharingCreating systems to capture and share learning
23 Working Model of Organizational Decision Making External Influences on Organizational Decision-Making in Non-Profit SettingsImpact/ OutcomeForces driving decision-making process:CrisisMaintenanceGrowthExternal environment factors that influence the decision-making process:Funding organization demandsResource environmentUmbrella organization relationshipCommunity Needs/IssuesCommunity Level ChangeMediating FactorsIndividual Level ChangeStated Mission and GoalsInternal Organizational Decision-Making Practices Based on Learning Organization TheoryImpact of decision-making practices on:individual learningorganizational learningEmployee/volunteer moraleEmployee/volunteer ownershipaccountability for outcomesCulture of decision making:Members invited to contribute to the organization’s visionMembers are viewed as resources for decision makingClient’s/community’s views brought into the decision making processMembers given responsibility for decisions related to workDecision-Making Processes and Structures :Process for getting input from members to inform decisionsProcess for building alignment across different levels and work groupsStructures for communicating decisions across the organization
24 Qualitative MethodsTriangulation of Methods: Participant Observation, Interviews, Public DocumentsTriangulation of Sources: Semi-structured Interviews with staff, leaders, volunteers, & board membersInterview data content analyzed using NVIVO by 2 ratersContent categories based on a framework developed by Peterson and Zimmerman (2004) of intra-, inter-, and extra-organizational themes.
25 Decision Making in Grassroots Community Organizations Radcliff Community Org.Community-based HSO serving defined geographic area20 years oldServes rapidly changing, working-class, most ethnically diverse area of cityMulti-level change mission: individuals, families, communityPrograms incl. ESL, housing & job assistance/development, youth/mentoring, WIC/food, clinic, literacy, immigrant svcs.United NeighborsNeighborhood-based, community decides issues to focus onStarted by organizing around urban renewal in ’60’sCurrently focuses on housing and development, education, crimeCommunity level change focus
26 External Influences on Organizational Decision Making United NeighborsCrisis & MaintenanceOngoing Struggle with fundingMaintaining participation from members and partnersNeighborhood problemsCommunity Needs/IssuesDevelopment pressures; affordable housingCrimeLack of amenitiesRadcliff Community Org.Crisis & MaintenanceFinancial Crisis: from $50K to $1.5M budget in 4 years; accounting expertise did not keep up, causing a problem w/ biggest funder# & variety of programs expanded rapidlyFunding Organization DemandsFunding more indiv. svcs.Vanderbilt U. volunteers also more svc.-orientedDiverse community needs & constituencies
27 Organizational Decision-Making Structure, Practices, Culture Radcliff Community Org.Mix of top-down management & participatory3 or 4 paid senior staff (incl. strong Ex. Dir.) make most decisionsOthers w/ some input: volunteers/participants used as collaborators & source of expert knowledgeboard members (mostly residents from neighborhood)volunteer staff (many who live outside of the neighborhood)other outside organizations (funders, university)persons served by programsUnited NeighborsBottom-Up: Neighborhood resident input informs decision of what issues to focus on.Residents volunteer to serve on issue related committees; gather research.Top-Down: Board decides action steps and strategies without much resident (volunteer) inputFormal structure for soliciting resident participation and input in org. decision making; however, not continuous across all levels of org. decision making
28 Outcomes & Impact of Decision Structures, Practices, Culture Radcliff Community Org.Good learning/human capital development opportunities w/in programsSome [limited] participatory mgmt. opportunities for individual learning & empowermentBut big decisions made at top, thus hurting:role clarity for staff, bd., volunteersdiversity of input on big decisionsfiscal planning & responsibilityreputation of org. w/ funders, some neighborhood residentsGravitation toward individual services & away from grassroots community changeUnited NeighborsOpportunities for individual learning and empowerment related to neighborhood / community level changeTop-down decision making in regards to actions/strategies limits:Potential to organize more residentsCivic learning in residentsPotential Collective efficacyActions/Strategies tend to focus on ameliorative community changeMore inclusive participation and organizing could help generate more collective power; transformative change
29 Benefits and Challenges of Rapid Growth Radcliff Community Org.:“What happened to us is we were a little sleepy community organization up to about four years ago, and we went from a probably $50,000 budget to a $1.5 million budget and…I mean we were all just doing everything we could… [but] we didn’t do the things we needed to do to grow effectively. We just service people, which is probably one of my worst traits… I didn’t back up to make sure everybody was on board…so I mean it was a great learning tool for me and it was a great learning tool for my board and it was a great mending and direction setting period for this organization. So it was a good thing.” Executive Director
30 Lessons, Limitations, Future Directions Analysis of organizational decision-making provides insights into learning, power, and org. developmentOrg. learning largely ignored in nonprofit and voluntary organizations but may be key to survival in funding environmentGreat diversity of organizations (size, type/mission, budget, structure, culture, role of volunteers) requires mixed methods:Large samples of orgs to capture diversity (quantitatively)In-depth case study analysis to capture subtle differences in culture/climate, leader style, observed (as opposed to "official") practices
31 New SPECs Action-Research Project Organizational Change Work Group Center for Community Studies Vanderbilt University 2005 SCRA Biennial Conference, UrbanaVanderbilt New SPECs Team (currently):Kimberly Bess, Leslie Collins, Patricia Conway, Scot Evans, Diana McCown, Bob Newbrough, Doug Perkins, Isaac Prilleltensky (P.I.), Courte Voorhees + other student volunteers[for more info:
32 NewSPECs is an action-research project, in consultation & collaboration with human service organizations & the local branch of a national funding agency, whose aim is to create a new intervention paradigm that focuses…Less on:DeficitsReactive interventionExpert decisionsChanging IndividualsAnd More on:StrengthsPrimary PreventionEmpowermentChanging Community Conditions
33 Principles of New SPECs Ownership by workers and community members Participation of workers and community membersHome grown solutionsPractice and reflectionLearning and taking risks togetherGoals of New SPECsDevelop policies & practices in line with SPECInstitutionalize SPEC in the life of the organization & communityCreate new practical knowledge for the org. & research teamChallenges in New SPECsProcess-outcomes tensions:Some uncomfortable w/ so much focus on process; want outcomesOthers jump to action for outcomes w/out a good processMarriage, not “rug sale” [institutionalize SPEC in life of the orgs]Ownership for sustainability; avoid “colonizing” client orgs.“Power before program”OpportunitiesCreate in partnership a new model for health & human servicesHelp people who are currently suffering because the conditions are too overwhelming for them to overcome on their ownEducate health and human service providers across the city, U.S., and internationally on the benefits of a SPEC approachIsaac: are the 2 small bullets here what you meant by…Too much process without outcomes * Too many outcomes without a good processBOB Re: “Create in partnership a new model for health & human services”: THE COLONIZATION ISSUE IN VIEWED TRANSACTIONALLY IS WHETHER THE MODEL IS BROUGHT IN BY THE PROJECT OR WHETHER THE PROJECT AND THE COMMUNITY MUTUALLY DEVELOP THE MODEL. I THINK THAT THERE IS AN IMPLICIT ASSUMPTION OF THE SUPERIORITY OF THE GOALS AND PROCESS OF THE SPEC APPROACH.BOB: IN THE MIDDLE EAST, IT IS SAID THAT THERE ARE ONLY TWO BASIC SOCIAL INTERACTIONS; ARRANGING A MARRIAGE OR SELLING A RUG. I GET THE SENSE THAT THE PROJECT COULD BECOME MORE OF A RUG SALE THAN A MARRIAGE.
34 Our own team structure: part circle (decision-making, reflection), part pyramid (tasks) Principal Investigator (Faculty)Process Consultant (Emeritus Faculty)Research Consultant/ Co-PI (Faculty)Org. Consultant/Research Associates (PhD students)Research Coordinator (M.Ed. student)Research Assistants (M.Ed. students)Research Interns (B.A. students)Org. Intern (Med. student)
35 Methods Data Collection Methods Survey Focus groups Interviews Key staff membersSnowball sampleObservational field notesArchival DataOrganizational records and documents
36 Our own team processes: In add. to frequent mtgs. w/ partner orgs., meet as a team at least 2X weekly:Once for businessOnce for reflection & mutual supportAlso held overnight retreat for reflection & team bldg.Exploring “critical friend” role w/in team, which is also our hoped-for role w/ org. partners as they take and shape the changes for themselves
37 Inter-team Relationships (Meso-system) The main issue is whether the main effect of the Project in the community is the colonization of the neighborhoods. Status differential conferred on the Project Team members. Takes the form of:More educationBetter spokenMore social skillsHas a plan based on theory, experience and ideologyHas resourcesTakes initiativesControls the agendaThis may be much more difficult than planned.
38 With-in Project Team (Micro-system) Issues The main issue is whether the power is distributed internally so that the team is prepared and functions to carry out the Project (status, age/experience, degree/program, gender, methodology/interests differences influence roles, opportunities, intervention approaches, & team process).The team culture is one of equality and open communication, yet the press of business pulls time away from adequate communication and learning. Have a consultant (JRN) to represent these issues and a structure/procedure is evolving.
39 Key team power management questions: How do we harness power in the team?Management style, lot’s of staff participation & responsibilityWho has the power and how do they use it?Project Staff to T-Team, indirectly as much as possibleInternal to T-Team. There is a status differential conferred by (experience, personality, location)When is it used and how does it become salient?Implicit structure operates whenever there is a social interaction. It can be observed in the speaking-up patterns in the meetings.Explicitly, directive power occurs when there is pressure to get something done.
41 SPEC Work & Support Measures Empowerment1a. Regardless of why this may be the case; to what extent does your work give co-workers voice and choice in decision-making processes at the organization?1b. I feel I have enough opportunities in my job to give co-workers voice and choice.1c. I feel I have adequate time to give co-workers voice and choice.1d. I feel I have adequate preparation and skills to give co-workers voice and choice.1e. I have adequate organizational support to give co-workers voice and choice.[1f-i: same items asked re empowering clients and community members]Changing Community ConditionsWhat percentage of work time do you engage in changing community conditions such as pollution, access to health care, lack of transportation, affordable day care, living wage, and others?1a. I feel I have enough opportunities in my job to work on changing the conditions that affect our clients and communities1b. I feel I have adequate time to engage in work to change community conditions1c. I feel I have adequate preparation and skills to engage in community change activities1d. I have adequate organizational support to engage in community change activities
42 Modified Dimensions of Learning Organization Questionnaire (DLOQ) Scales The following questions that were asked on a 6 pt. Likert Scale. They have been scaled together to create new variables.Organizational CohesivenessMy organization builds alignment of visions across different levels and work groups.My organization encourages people to think from a community perspective.My organization considers the impact of decisions on employee morale.My organization works together with the outside community to meet mutual needs.My organization encourages people to get answers from across the organization when solving problems.In my organization, leaders ensure that the organization's actions are consistent with its values.Organizational SkillsIn my organization, leaders generally support requests for learning opportunities and training.In my organization, investment in workers¹ skills and professional development is greater than last year.In my organization, the number of individuals learning new skills is greater than last year.
43 Modified Dimensions of Learning Organizations Questionnaire (DLOQ) Scales Organizational ClimateIn my organization, teams/groups treat members as equals, regardless of rank, culture, or other differences.In my organization, teams/groups revise their thinking as a result of group discussions or information collected.My organization gives people control over the resources they need to accomplish their work.My organization considers the impact of decisions on employee morale.In my organization, leaders mentor and coach those they lead.In my organization, leaders ensure that the organization's actions are consistent with its values.Organizational DisempowermentWhile performing job duties, organizational members are not encouraged to use independent problem-solving skills.I have to follow rules in my organization that conflict with my best professional judgment.I can take little action within my organization unless my superior approves it.I have "freedom within limits" in my organization; I know what is expected of me but I also have freedom to be creative.
44 Modified Dimensions of a Learning Organization Questionnaire (DLOQ) Scales Organizational Learning from Action & PracticeIn my organization, people openly discuss mistakes in order to learn from them.In my organization, people view problems in their work as an opportunity to learn.In my organization, people give open and honest feedback to each other.In my organization, whenever people state their view, they also ask what others think.Change in Organizational Learning from last yearIn my organization, leaders mentor and coach those they lead.In my organization, programs and services are better than last year.In my organization, workers seem more motivated than last year.In my organization, organizational members follow the mission better than last year.In my organization, our responsiveness to community problems is greater than last year.In my organization, client satisfaction is greater than last year.
45 Frequencies - Empowerment and Changing Community Conditions
48 Problems with empowerment: Is empowerment too vague, overused, or misused to provide a meaningful & useful basis for research & intervention?Beware political use & cooptation of "empowerment" (for whom? for what? community control can be oppressive: NIMBYism, Berger & Neuhaus: religious or ethnic minorities in Salt Lake can simply move to New York or San Francisco; Empower America; see Perkins, 1995)Review dilemmas for creating empowering settings:Hierarchical vs. egalitarian organizational structures"Challenges of success": Who is empowered?Can empowerment be initiated from the top down?
49 Discussion Questions: What do you think of the following arguments by Riger (1993)?1. An empowerment orientation raises expectations for real power which are unrealistic & rarely achieved.2. Empowerment's emphasis on autonomy only increases competition within & among groups & thus overshadows more cooperative or communitarian approaches that women's or other groups might take.Additional questions:a. Do you agree that most of psychology (even CP?) is excessively individualistic?b. Do you agree with Riger that even (especially?) empowerment theory & research are individualistic, anti-communal, or anti-feminist?c. Is there a contradiction in Rappaport’s claim that empowerment can be enhancement of collective as well as individual control? (IE, to the extent that one is enhanced, does the other tend to be diminished?)
50 General Discussion Questions: 1. Have you participated in any organizations or institutions that were empowering? What made them so?2. Has your experience as a U. student been empowering or disempowering? What about the rest of your personal, family, & community history? (narrative as empowerment: Rappaport, 1995)3. Over the past two decades, community psychology’s two leading intervention paradigms have been: prevention & empowerment. Which of these two (or what other) is the best paradigm for the field? Why?4. Do religious organizations tend to be empowering or disempowering?5. Collective ritual, in general, plays an important role in community solidarity & cultural identity. What role, if any, does it play in empowerment?