RCLA is committed to "engaged scholarship," or conducting research that can be directly applied to resolving social issues.
Our resources bridge theory and practice and provide a way for professors and scholars to incorporate cutting-edge thinking and practices from the work of leadership in public service into courses, seminars, trainings and presentations for emerging and established leaders.
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RCLA has partnered with the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington to produce these Electronic Hallway resources. The Leadership Stories and associated Usage Notes are an especially good fit with courses on leadership, nonprofit and public management, strategic planning, community organizing, and social movements.
Expansion of community capacity is a significant issue facing many nonprofit organizations, especially those working towards social change. Building capacity through internal or external means are distinct aspects of capacity building. That is, an organization that is concerned about insufficient capacity might decide to engage community members within its own organizational structure, outside that structure, or both. This decision may depend on any of a number of factors, including the preferences of those being engaged and the availability of partner organizations.
As many of the organizational self-assessment tools underscore, the extent and quality of capacity is a huge determinant of an organization’s ability to fulfill its mission. These Leadership Stories will enhance classroom examination and understanding of capacity strengths and deficiencies and prescriptions for capacity improvement.
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These Leadership Stories focus on existing organizations that have decided to focus around new or significantly expanded purpose. There are qualities of these groups that set them apart from start-up organizations. Studies of organizations at different points in their life cycle reveal that the very systems that have helped to make an organization strong can keep it from being more nimble or adaptable, even when that is their appropriate course of action.
Teaching these Leadership Stories offers an opportunity to examine these organizations by reviewing how they overcome those organizational and structural constraints and respond to pressing and evolving needs.
These Leadership Stories focus on groups that exemplify an ability to develop strategic responses to social needs.
As much of the literature about organizational life cycles indicates, the age of an organization and its developmental stage do not always advance at the same rate. Organizations can exist for many years yet have few formal structures or processes in place, and organizations that are relatively “new” in years of existence may have already reached a quite developed organizational life stage. Qualities of organizations in early developmental stages may set them apart from those that have already established processes for how to respond to social needs.
These Leadership Stories offer an opportunity to examine how organizations have formulated strategic responses to pressing social needs and how their experience may contrast with approaches of organizations with more established processes.
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The teaching of vibrant and compelling cases guides student examination of management and program options in a fundamentally different way from more typical class lectures, readings and discussions. Cases place students into circumstances that they will face in governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations. The aim is to demonstrate the best possible practice in sorting out complex situations, applying analytical frameworks, tackling vexing problems and seizing new opportunities.
Ethnographical Studies can provide an important additional tool in classroom case evaluation. They provide additional breadth, depth and contexts that will expand still further the way the student understands a neighborhood, culture, organization, community, or community of interests.
These Ethnographies can be used alone, in conjunction with leadership stories, or with other Electronic Hallway cases.
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