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7.1.2 Organisational self-assessment

Objectives

An organisational self-assessment strengthens any organisation that is implementing this process: it includes working on the organisation’s identity by analysing its internal strengths and weaknesses and by identifying opportunities and constraints linked to the environment. The results help to establish a realistic picture of existing capacities, and the organisation is able to learn and to adapt more easily to a changing environment. At the same time, this assessment facilitates the planning and implementation of any project or activity. Representatives who know about and can agree on a corporate identity are able to act more coherently and efficiently in any field, including that of the disability sector.

In the field of development and cooperation, joint projects are usually implemented by two or more organisations working both together and independently of each other. Sometimes a shared identity may result from this cooperation, which can create ambivalence and insecurity within and outside the organisations concerned. Knowing one’s own identity and being aware of one’s capacities and deficiencies facilitates any cooperation and the planning of a joint project, as the mutual expectations are more realistic. A synthesis of an organisational self-assessment and a stakeholder analysis gives the persons and organisations concerned a realistic impression of their potential as a disability movement. On this basis, they will be able to develop a strategy for joint activities that is adapted to their specific national context.

Key questions

An organisational self-assessment is an internal analysis of an organisation carried out by key representatives. Such assessments vary considerably in terms of intensity and extent, depending on the time and resources available. Either the representatives carry the assessment out themselves, or they are accompanied by an external facilitator. The following questions and issues need to be discussed (see stakeholder analysis tools):

  • Who are the key persons within the organisation? (leadership)
  • What is their motivation and what is their vision? (team work, internal coherence, “corporate identity”)
  • What is the relationship between these key persons?
  • How does this influence the performance and the activities of the organisation?
  • What is the influence of each key person on a specific project or activity?
  • Who is responsible for what?      
  • What is the history and evolution of the organisation, the project and the partnership?

More information

James, Rick (1998): De-mystifying Organisational Development; Practical Capacity Building Experiences from African NGOs, INTRAC.

Gubbels, Peter and Catheryn Koss (2000): From the Roots up: Strengthening Organizational Development through Guided Self-assessment. World Neighbours. Available via: www.wn.org

www.capacity.org: Practice reports provide helpful hints on how to organise work.

International NGO Training and Research Centre: http://www.intrac.org/

International Development Research Centre: http://www.crdi.org/

www.eldis.org: “The Gateway to Development Information” offers numerous resources and manuals for download

QSTG (2000): Self-assessment Workbook: Measuring Success.

CIIR (2005): Capacity Building for Local NGOs. A guidance manual for good practice.

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