Building and maintaining capacity in a community service organisation

  • Jean-Luc Revel

    Student thesis: Professional Doctorate - CDU


    Community service organisations perform an increasingly important role due to an expectation by governments that local communities are to achieve a greater level of self-sufficiency in meeting many of their social needs. Ironically, that increasing dependence on community service organisations filling in the gap is occurring at a time when their membership level is decreasing. The result is a reduction their capacity at a time of increased community needs and expectations.

    The community service organisation chosen for this research project is a Rotary club facing a serious loss of human resources capacity. The methodology selected drew from different approaches identified with qualitative research, process consulting, action research, action learning and grounded theory.

    Rotary draws its members from business leaders and professionals who are expected to demonstrate problem-solving skills in their occupations and professions. Such a group of people would be expected to apply their business and professional experience to the operation of their community service organisation. However this is currently not the case and why this is so is an important question to ask on behalf of the club and its members.

    The research aims is to contribute to the available knowledge concerning capacity building in community service organisations and in particular the Rotary club of Alice Springs Mbantua. Importantly, the action component of the research led to members of the Rotary club building experience in the application of a collaborative approach to address problems and implement change. The club and its members have combined their learning experience to develop their individual and collective capability.

    On a personal level, the action and learning associated with the research has improved in my practice in the field of organisation development. As the research journey unfolded and my involvement grew, the reflective process I engaged in caused me to examine my values and attitudes. It has left me better equipped to understand the impact that individual assumptions about truth, reality and knowledge have on addressing organizational issues.
    Date of AwardNov 2009
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorMurray Keith Redman (Supervisor)

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