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Title: NGO management and organisation development in Uganda : perspectives from the field
Author: Girei, Emanuela
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2011
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Capacity development, capacity building and organisation development (OD) are key priorities of international development, and this is especially true in the African context. With regard to the NGO sector, since the 1990s donors and especially international NGOs have invested significant resources in building the capacity of African NGOs. While academic research on NGO management and OD has grown significantly in the last decade, it has often taken a decontextualised stance, largely resting on assumptions about the universality and neutrality of management principles, practices and approaches. Furthermore, there are still few accounts on NGO management and OD from within the African NGO sector. This study intends to contribute to filling this gap, by focusing on OD and management in Ugandan NGOs. It originated in my work as OD advisor with two Ugandan NGOs, between 2007 and 2009. The research thus took shape through an iterative process of hands-on immersion as an OD practitioner, focused on the specific dimensions of the action scene I was involved in, and of reflexive inquiry as a theoretical researcher. This study specifically examines how OD is understood in the NGO sector in Uganda: what needs, demands and aspirations it serves, what challenges it faces and what opportunities it offers. It also investigates how management principles and practices shape the role of NGOs within the development industry. In particular, acknowledging NGOs’ commitment to alternative bottom-up development thinking and practice, it investigates whether and how OD processes and management practices might help NGOs to fulfil their stated role. The findings indicate that OD and management processes were fundamentally shaped by external pressure from various actors, especially donors, pushing both NGOs toward the adoption of specific management systems and tools. However, the research also reveals that the NGOs dealt with such externally driven management requirements in various ways, including acts of opposition and resistance. Overall, the findings suggest that management imperatives and requirements not only significantly affect the OD processes of NGOs, but also shape the role of NGOs in the development process, by narrowing their possibilities for engagement with social change agendas and with bottom-up, transformative practice within the aid industry more generally.
Supervisor: Mann, Pete ; Barry, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Organisation Development ; NGO ; Action Research ; Africa ; Gramsci ; Development industry