Effectiveness As Defined By Whom
What is effectiveness?
As Herman and Renz have pointed out (2004, 1997), the concept of organizational effectiveness arises from a theoretical perspective which posits that formal organizations are created to achieve one or more consciously identified goals. Measures of effectiveness, therefore, seek to ascertain how well these goals have been achieved. There are several problems with this “goal attainment” model of effectiveness, however:
- Goals are often vague and difficult to measure, e. g. “It is the goal of Any Town Art Gallery to enliven and enrich the human spirit through the visual arts.”
- There are sometimes several goals which might be mutually contradictory such that achieving one might inhibit achieving another, e. g. “It is the purpose of the Liver and Spleen Society to support patients with, find a cure for, and educate the public in the prevention of, diseases of the liver and spleen.”
- No organization can exist without human and financial resources to support it. These resources exist outside the organization. If people will not join it as staff or volunteers and if they will not contribute to, or pay for, the organization’s services it will cease to exist. However, these and other critical “stakeholders” may have different ideas as to what the organization’s goals should be and, especially, how it should go about achieving them.
Because of these difficulties with the goal achievement model of organizational effectiveness, various theorists over the years have advanced alternatives to it (see Baruch and Ramallho, 2006 and Shilbury and Moore, 2006). For example, Yuchtman and Seashore (1967) suggested that, because of the importance of external stakeholders in determining organizational survival and growth, the best indicators of effectiveness should be those showing how successful the organization is in attracting external resources in the larger system of which it is a part (the “systems resource model”). Others have asserted that, because of the difficulties of the goal attainment model with its emphasis on the “ends” of the organization, it is more useful to identify and measure a variety of management practices (“means”) which, if followed, lead to successful organizations. This is known as the “internal process approach” to organizational effectiveness (Steers, 1977). [Source: Vic Murray; Read More]
What if effectiveness was defined by people, not nonprofits?
A crucial part of establishing an organization’s effectiveness is accountability to those whom they ultimately serve. Unfortunately, evaluating those who receive service in Haiti has not been a pressing matter for the world. Customer satisfaction is needed in every industry. What are people saying about an organization? Are they getting the services the organization claim to be providing? Are the staffs qualify to assist with the need? How dedicated are the staff? Only those on the grounds will know how they are servicing people who need help and only those who are on the receiving end will be able to tell you their truth.
Two question any nonprofits need to ask themselves are: Whose voice matters? And How are they (their organization) being evaluated?