|Title||Participatory organizational change in community-based health and human services: from tokenism to political engagement|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2009|
|Authors||Bess K.D, Prilleltensky I., Perkins D.D, Collins. L.V.|
|Journal||Am J Community Psychology|
|Keywords||action-research, community-based organizations, Health and human service organizations, non-profit organizations, participation, power, second-order change|
Examines the contextual challenges of participatory organisational change within community-based health and human services to participation.
Efforts at building participatory processes in human wellness initiatives have tended to focus on individual rather than collective processes. The need for an alternative paradigm is proposed, one that addresses more directly issues of community justice and power relationships. These issues are examined through an action research project involving two organisations, where a process is facilitated to shift organisational learning processes from first order ameliorative change, to second order transformative change. A number of participatory tensions are observed and discussed.
Justice issues and power relations are central to participatory adaptive learning processes. This article suggests that some forms of participation are predetermined or imposed on participants, rather than allowing participants to define their own participation. Addressing this will require a willingness and openness to listen, to reframe participation where necessary, to support participants readiness and capacity to participate, and to allow the participatory process itself to generate capacity over time. A focus on ‘small wins’ is important for building this capacity.