Since the beginning of the crisis, growing uncertainties are involving the NGOs operating in the welfare systems and many of them react creating new forms of strategical partnership and collaboration, trying not to lose or give up some distinctive features: territorialisation, internal dialogue, membership, identity and culture. These concerns led two Social Firms operating in northern Italy to ask the supervision of our research group in deepening their reciprocal collaboration up to a possible merger. The researchers suggested to adopt an experimental approach aimed at testing or deepening the desired forms of collaboration. Evaluational action-research (EAR) has been introduced as a specific reflexive mirror, in order to make the members able to analyse their practice, making use in the meantime of their own priority criteria. This allowed the latter to clarify concerns and feelings in structured contexts, to better distinguish uncertainty and ambiguity, to focus strengths and weaknesses, to reduce the risk of making judgements based on preconceived ideas. Furthermore it allowed to valorize and enhance the available capabilities and the usable knowledge in dealing with the emerging issues. The paper discusses in which way it has been possible to deal with fears, tensions, emotions and rational instances, overcoming the twofold risk of neglect them or, conversely, to give space to uncontrollable conflicts, frustration and helplessness. Furthermore, it briefly discusses some theoretical insights on action-research and how it helps in getting theoretical and usable knowledge on the way social systems work.

How do NGOs may deal with new challenges by increasing usable knowledge? An experience of evaluational action-research to testing new forms of collaboration

TOMEI, GABRIELE;VILLA, MATTEO
2014

Abstract

Since the beginning of the crisis, growing uncertainties are involving the NGOs operating in the welfare systems and many of them react creating new forms of strategical partnership and collaboration, trying not to lose or give up some distinctive features: territorialisation, internal dialogue, membership, identity and culture. These concerns led two Social Firms operating in northern Italy to ask the supervision of our research group in deepening their reciprocal collaboration up to a possible merger. The researchers suggested to adopt an experimental approach aimed at testing or deepening the desired forms of collaboration. Evaluational action-research (EAR) has been introduced as a specific reflexive mirror, in order to make the members able to analyse their practice, making use in the meantime of their own priority criteria. This allowed the latter to clarify concerns and feelings in structured contexts, to better distinguish uncertainty and ambiguity, to focus strengths and weaknesses, to reduce the risk of making judgements based on preconceived ideas. Furthermore it allowed to valorize and enhance the available capabilities and the usable knowledge in dealing with the emerging issues. The paper discusses in which way it has been possible to deal with fears, tensions, emotions and rational instances, overcoming the twofold risk of neglect them or, conversely, to give space to uncontrollable conflicts, frustration and helplessness. Furthermore, it briefly discusses some theoretical insights on action-research and how it helps in getting theoretical and usable knowledge on the way social systems work.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11568/538070
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