PublicAffair Case Study
PublicAffair Case Study
WomenRiver Women for Change is an organization that began in 1976 composedof women and men who came together to the realization of the problemscaused by domestic violence. This group majorly composed ofvolunteers and some staff who were paid to work as volunteers. Thepayments were made possible as a result of a grant they had managedto obtain. This grant also enabled them to secure an office spacewhere they controlled their activities. Safe houses were used toprovide shelter to those women who escaped from domestic violence.They used their homes as safe houses for these women. The initialfunding for the group ran out after one year leading to thedissolution of the group after the departure of some activists fromthe area (Milofsky and Morrison, 1996).
Oneof the actors involved in this case is Barbara Armonk, who was one ofthe founding members of the organization who did not depart from thebody but stayed and decided to resurrect the organization. Togetherwith other members, they decided to formalize the organization. Eventhough she was the executive director, there were limitations withregards to the independent decisions she could make in the respectivemeetings that were held (Milofsky and Morrison, 1996). This led tomeetings that were quite a lengthy proceeding for over four hours.This was a major challenge to her especially during the dispensationof her duties as she could not individually implement managerialdecisions as there were no hierarchical methods used in thedecision-making process.
Analysisof the challenge
Thedemocratic ethos of the organization contributed to some of theproblems that were experienced by Barbara Armonk as the executivedirector. One of the challenges is with regards to mission and goalsof the organization. Most of the members played multiple roles. Allmembers were involved in performing all the jobs in the organization.These included carrying the hotline pager at different times,accompanying women to court and providing counseling to the affectedwomen. There is a lack of an inherent clarity of purpose as mostmembers’ play multiple roles (Milofsky and Morrison, 1996).This hasthe ability of easily misplacing the missions and goals of theorganization for the obstacles encountered on a day-to-day running ofthe organization.
Theother challenge was the lack of professional service providers whocould administer to the victimized women. The groups involvedvolunteers such as students from the local college and middle-classwomen. These groups were not professionally trained, and theyprovided services for sharing of personal experiences. This resultedin an assemblage of different groups whose roles were overlapping.
Theother challenge involved the division of labor. There was a minimalformal division of labor, and everyone participated in thedecision-making process of the organization. This collectiveapproach to running the organization was a major hurdle for the groupas there were multilateral decisions from individual members that hadto be considered before a final decision could be made.
Nextare the financial constraints that affected the daily running of theorganization. With the small amount of money that was available toresurrect the organization, they rented an office space and started aphone hotline service which they popularized around the town. Armonkdevoted most of her time in writing proposals seeking funds for theorganization. Her efforts finally paid and the organization receiveda grant which they used to initiate volunteer training sessions threetimes a year. Armonk was among the five members who were paid to thegroup. This could have also been an indirect challenge with regardsto motivation in that other members of the organization received nosalary and worked voluntarily, even though it is noted that theorganization was collectivist in nature.
Alsonotable is the fact that Armonk was a staunch feminist hence sheapplied a feminine style of leadership as opposed to a formal style.She was more focused with issues related to women disregarding theunderlying cause that initiated these women to be victimized. It isnecessary to understand the cause of the problem so that it can beaddressed appropriately using views from both affected parties.
Thefinal challenge noted is with regards to the succession problemwitnessed when Barbara Armonk quit as the executive director afterseven years at WRWC. Various policy changes accompanied thesuccession. Megan Ford changed some of the policies that wereimplemented by her predecessor. She wanted skilled members who couldperform specific specialized roles as opposed to the general staffmembers performing all the tasks in unison. This drastic changeaffected operations in that all members were previously involved inperforming tasks together without no positional preferences.
Responseto the challenge
Variousresponses could be applied concerning the challenges addressed. Theseinclude focusing on the mission of the organization, planningleadership succession and also embracing data and measurements thatfocus on the activities of the organization.
Theseresponses are feasible and likely to lead to a positive outcome.Focusing on the mission of the organization is essential to thesuccess of the organization. Unless an organization is purely guidedits mission statement, it will be influenced by both internal andexternal stakeholders who have varied interests in the organization.Some grants have the possibility of causing mission creep which mightoverstretch the resources of an organization leading to the loss offocus in pursuing the core functions of the organization. Thus,organization leaders must be fully aware of the mission statement ofthe organization and also learn to say no to funds that might affectthe core purpose of the organization.
Thenext response is the proper planning of leadership succession. Thetransition is a pivotal element especially when it comes to thesuccession of any organization especially in the transition involvingreplacement of a founding member of the organization. It’s adifficult task finding people with similar personality traits similarto that of the founding members hence appropriate planning for thistransition process.
Theother response involves the use of data and measurements to monitorthe daily activities of the organization. These measurements willhelp in the determination of whether the interventions and approachesutilized by the organization are effective. Performance measurementshave immense benefits in that they will act as indicators of successor failure.
Memberswho sit on the boards of non-profit organizations must be activelyengaged in the activities of the organization besides their duty ofproviding strategic guidance to the organization.
Non-profitorganizations should also focus on fundraisings as these provide thesource of income for the daily running of activities of theorganization. Such organizations should also invest in theformulation of the appropriate budgets that will cover all the costsrequired for the functioning of the organization. Non-profitorganizations should also track their operational time foraccountability to the individual funders.
Milofsky,C., & Morrison, N. (1996). The evolving board-executiverelationship at a women’s shelter. NonprofitBoards and Leadership. Cases on Governance, Change, and Board-StaffDynamics,99-118.