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Coordination and mobilization


Transnational Action through NGO Networks (Part #6)


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12. There are natural limits to the extent to which non- governmental action can be coordinated with present methods. Assemblies at which more than 6-10 bodies are represented can reach action-oriented consensus only with difficulty, since above this number of organizations, adequate dialogue and participation becomes increasingly impracticable and without it no satisfactory consensus can be achieved.

Action:

  • the technique of using small organizational ad hoc task forces to handle very specific problems should be developed. Formation of task forces should be facilitated by designing participative programme information systems

13. Transnational organizations are faced with a two-fold problem of coordination between geographical areas and of functional coordination across disciplines or modes of action. In part these may be sidestepped by regionalization and specialization, but the fundamental problem of interrelating differing fields of interest remains and must be solved in order to handle multidisciplinary, global problems adequately.

Action:

  • see 7.

14. The interlocking complexity of the non-governmental sector may be considered a major insurance against undetected manipulation of social processus by elite groups, provided that such bodies have sufficient freedom of action to fulfill this responsibility.

Action:

  • techniques of analyzing organizational networks should be developed to determine their degree of flexibility and freedom.

15. The degree of fragmentation of the non-governmental sector in part reflects the need for sufficient organizational frameworks through which active individuals can meaningfully participate in the social process with a sense of freedom of action and opportunity for personally significant contri- butions.

Action:

  • the conflict between coordination and mobilization for development programmes and the inhibiting effect of such directive action on the social development of those mobilized should be examined.

16. The network of organizations permits all the decentralization necessary to satisfy the need for autonomous organizational development and individual initiative. If supported by an adequate information system, it also provides for very rapid centralization, canalization and focusing of resources, the moment any complex problem (or natural disaster) emerges which requires the talents of a particular configuration of bodies. The centralization is only binding on the organizations concerned with the problem in question, and for the period during which they have common cause.

Action:

  • design of rapid response, participative information systems.

17. The network of organizations is not 'coordinated' or 'directed' by any body or group of bodies. Organizations adjust and continually redefine their own programmes as a result of interaction or in response to other bodies in the network. This is a process of 'auto-coordination' which is as successful as the information system upon which it depends: the network is 'self-directing' and 'self-adapting'.

Action:

  • research into the functioning of organizational networks with respect to the problems of coordination, autonomy and the preservation of adequate variety in the absence of any prime controller or any single permanent objective.

18. Any attempt by a particular organization to mobilize all other organizations in unquestioning support of its own programs reduces the overall ability of the network of organizations to respond to unforeseen problems.

Action:

  • mobilization against problems should be converted from the old directive style ('do it our way') to the participative style ('how can we help you to do it your way').

19. Efforts by any one organization to coordinate other bodies or to force them into any position of dependence for needed resources, information, or recognition needs to be carefully assessed for patterns of structural violence carried over with elitist-imperialist thinking habits.

Action:

  • techniques should be developed to map and analyze patterns of inter-organizational relationship and dependence to detect evidence of structural violence

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