32 SES 12 B, Learning Communities and more
Research regarding leadership qualities has focused mostly on the role and characteristics of leaders in the for-profit sector rather than the non-profit sector (Adair , 2002; Bennis & Nanus, 2004). There is a small but growing body of literature into the leadership of non-profit sector, but they are based on mostly US non-profits and they focus on the work of boards rather than individual leaders. Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) bridge donors and beneficiaries and have to constantly react to various situations and clients. The leadership of NGOs face daunting challenges because they work with very limited resources in uncertain and volatile circumstances to help the poorest communities (Hailey & James, 2004). There are very few studies that explore the role of NGO leadership in successful development projects that are implemented in Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe.
The key aim of this study is to explore the role of NGO leadership in a number of successful development projects which are implemented by various local, national, and international NGOs in Bangladesh. There is overwhelming evidence that climate change is a reality and it is distressing the world, especially the least developed countries like Bangladesh. Severe weather events triggered by climate change such as floods, droughts, cyclones, heat waves are becoming more frequent and intense (Huq, Hugé, Boon, & Gain, 2015). The harmful effects of these extreme weather events fall disproportionately on the poorest people of such countries like Bangladesh and add to the different causes of vulnerabilities (Cannon & Mu¨ller-Mahn, 2010). This has compelled the government, foreign donors, NGOs to take a number of measures. A large number of development projects have been undertaken by different NGOs to help the affected communities to cope up with climate change. These projects include agriculture reform projects in haor basin and coastal zone, livelihood diversification in the drought prone areas, coastal ecosystem based projects, and so on. Some of these projects have become successful and have gained widespread recognition in the development community. However, there is little research about the underlying success factors that have made these development projects effective. There is also little research about the role of NGO leadership in a successful development project. How an effective NGO leader contribute to the success of a development project? This study intends to answer this question. It is important to explore the role NGO leadership in the success of a development project, so that the findings can be used to understand how the people that implement much development initiatives are managed, motivated, or lead.
This study will examine a number of development projects that are deemed successful by the implementing NGOs and donors and explore the role of NGO leadership in their success. This study is significant in the context Bangladesh and other countries around the world because there is a lot of research exploring the role and characteristics of leaders in the for-profit sector but very few for the non-profit or NGO sector (Hailey & James, 2004).
This study will endeavour to answer the research question through a detailed study of all the stakeholders involved in a typical development project such as NGO leader and staffs, project beneficiaries, local community members, local elites and politicians, and local government officials. This study will seek to understand the interactions and activities of a NGO leader with all the other stakeholders of a successful development project.
The study will use co-investigation and co-construction of narrative through engaging NGO leaders and all other project stakeholders, which will produce ‘thick description’ of detailed accounts of practice (Geertz, 1988). The overarching approach of this study will be qualitative. It will explore the complex attitudes and practices of a NGO leader to make a development project successful. The resulting data will be situation specific (Stake, 2003), with ‘thick description’ (Geertz, 1988). The study will investigate five successful development projects that are being implemented in different areas of Bangladesh. A sufficient number of case studies will be generated from these five projects. Case studies will be used because it provides in-depth qualitative data (Kvale, 1996). Case studies are appropriate for this research because they acknowledge the local-ness of experience and local knowledge and each project investigated will have a unique identity created by its surroundings. Because each case study is unique and has a complex entity that operates within a number of context (Stake, 2003). Instead of drawing generalizing conclusions from each case studies, themes will be developed from all the case studies. Some of these themes will be common to all the case studies and some will differ largely from one case to another. Case studies will be developed from primary data which will be collected through semi-structured and open-ended interviews. A face-to-face approach to interviewing will be taken because it allows the participants to assess the extent to which they will be able to trust the researcher. The interviews will be conducted in open-ended conversation which will allow participants to talk freely on topics they feel important. Open-ended interviews are particularly useful because it avoids objectifying participants (Fontana & Frey, 1994). Open-ended approach allows research participants to express themselves more freely (Douglas, 1985), and allows them to express their concerns in ways they deem important (Fine, 1984). The researcher will interview NGO leaders and staffs, project beneficiaries, community members, local elites and politicians, and local government officials to answer the research question. A written account of the interview will be returned to the interviewees for feedback, adjustments and further elaboration if they wish.
The focus of this study is to understand the role of NGO leadership in making a development project successful. The main objective of any NGO should be to best utilize their limited resources to make positive changes in livelihoods and reduce poverty and powerlessness. But how this can be achieved? Is it through delivering large scale service delivery projects by focusing their core functions and standardizing their activities? Others suggest NGOs should be involved in diverse activities and focus chiefly on empowering the grass roots. These differences of outlook exist because NGOs and their activities differ largely, and this makes it very complex to generalize different NGOs and their varied activities (Edwards, 1999). As a result, to understand the role of effective NGO leadership that makes a development project successful, we must take a number of things into consideration. Each NGO has a different set of goals and objectives which is congruent with its leadership. The performance of a NGO and its projects stem from the interaction between external factors (i.e. contextual, political, social) and an NGO’s internal influences which is determined by its leadership. The external environment may provide opportunities as it evolves, but taking it depends on the NGO’s internal organizational characteristics. Project evaluation reports often ignore how an NGO deals with these external factors. This study intends to address this gap by exploring how an NGO leader deals with external factors through an NGO’s internal organizational elements (i.e. staff, organizational culture, relationship with local government administration and civil society). Though this study explores the role of NGO leadership in implementing successful development projects that are helping people to adapt to climate change in Bangladesh. The finding will have further relevance because NGOs operate in most countries of the world.
Adair , J. (2002). Effective Strategic Leadership. London: Macmillan. Alam, G. M., Alam, K., Mushtaq, S., & Clarke, M. (2017). Vulnerability to climatic change in riparian char and river-bank households in Bangladesh: Implication for policy, livelihoods and social development. Ecological Indicators, 23–32. Bennis, W., & Nanus, B. (2004). Leaders. New York: HarperCollins. Cannon, T., & Mu¨ller-Mahn, D. (2010). Vulnerability, resilience and development discourses in context of climate change. Natural Hazards, 55(3), 621-635. Douglas, J. (1985). Creative interviewing. Beverley Hills, CA: Sage Publications. Edwards, M. (1999). NGO Performance - What Breeds Success? New Evidence from South Asia. World Development, 361-374. Fine, M. (1984). Coping with rape: Critical perspectives on consciousness. Imagination, Cognition, Personality, 249-269. Fontana, A., & Frey, J. (1994). Interviewing the art of science. In N. Denzin, & Y. S. Lincoln, Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 61–376). housand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Geertz, C. (1988). Works and lives: The anthropologist as author. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press. Hailey, J., & James, R. (2004). “Trees Die From the Top”: International Perspectives on NGO Leadership Development. Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 343-353. Huq, N., Hugé, J., Boon, E., & Gain, A. (2015). Climate Change Impacts in Agricultural Communities in Rural Areas of Coastal Bangladesh: A Tale of Many Stories. Sustainability, 8437-8460. Kvale, S. (1996). InterViews: An Introduction to Qualitative Research Interviewing. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Stake, R. E. (2003). Case studies. In N. Denzin, & Y. S. Lincoln, Strategies of qualitative inquiry (pp. 86-109). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
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