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Building contingent capacity: shifting power in organisations to become more responsive to the people they serve

Author(s)

KAUR-STUBBS Sukhvinder

Publisher(s):

University of Birmingham. College of Social Sciences

Publication year:

2015

This paper sets out research to understand and work within the emerging landscape in which organisations find that the people they serve acquire greater prominence among their multiple stakeholders and power gradients have to adjust accordingly. Respect for the dignity of people and how organisations respond to their needs, wishes, gifts and aspirations are becoming pivotal. Drawing on a survey and participation of 20 sector leaders at a roundtable hosted by the University of Birmingham and funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust, the research proposes a framework for organisations to review and, if necessary, restate the priority given to people (commonly called users), develop practice that encourages reciprocity in the design and delivery of products and services, and establish processes that are pervious and accountable to people and their networks. At the core of the framework is the concept of contingent capacity. Contingent capacity is purposeful, distributive and empowers workers (staff and volunteers), to listen to and respect people and, inspire their participation. The approach comprises three stages, which include: Purpose and Power – against a backdrop of more assertive citizens and a changing socio-economic environment, reviewing how the organisation continues to respect the dignity of the people it serves and ensures they are able to contribute to decisions that affect them; Reciprocal Engagement – recalibrating practice and culture to give greater priority to people and encourage deep and iterative engagement; and Outcome Plus – ensuring processes optimise value, not just to the organisation but, also, to the people and the wider communities around them. (Edited publisher abstract)


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