The Case Study Highlights
‘In the Shadow of the City’ published in 1991 by Harvard Business School
highlight issues faced by leaders of social change and resolutions of it is dealt with in the project by a coordinator and the donors. The community development project involves many domains for considerations such as the culture and norms of the community. Similarly, the development requires a new perspective in living a life and participating “change” the city must adapt. The case brings forward the study of the development of three slum neighborhoods located on the fringes of Addis’s primary market. There are few highlighted summaries we must look into to bring up the critical study of the case.
Firstly, collecting donations for a large project that involves physical and mental activity by massive people require vast funding. Now the people who donate may not necessarily isolate themselves from the project. The organizations involved in the Integrated Holistic Approach Urban Development Project (IHAUDP) in Addis’s Ababa a capital city of Ethiopia, British government’s Overseas Development Administration (ODA), the UK based charities such a water Aid and Help the Aged, Bob Geldof’s Band-Aid and Reed Charity.
Secondly, we must refer to the political tension in the region, Ethiopia has been under the rule of aristocrat for many years, and new government offices are introduced. It means the decentralization of the political decisions may lead to the development of the weak areas of the country. The social-economical pressure, such as massive corruption among senior officials, increasing the prices of essential commodities, and it leads us to understand the fundamental economic problem of scarcity of resources. That means, even though there is labour resource available, other resources such as raw material which must be costly because of famine during the last years. Production is lower because of poverty, and people are becoming weaker because there are no jobs available in the factories. This is rather a vicious cycle of small production and poverty in the country. The economic problem is connected with social issues such as hygiene. When we talk about the community as a whole, we have to understand their norms as well. The social security system was invisible from the region. It lacked a basic understanding of health, housing, and community. The community gives little to no value to vaccination to children to prevent them from catching viruses. They live in unsanitary, condemned houses and their mothers are uneducated, alone, and cannot earn enough for family. Again, the vicious cycle is ongoing.
One may point out the norm, such as having latrine besides kitchen lack the primary health education. The community seems to be in dire need of awareness of basic living standards. In the story of Tesfaye in the case, an example might help us highlight the intensity of the issue.
Finally, we have to understand how the previous projects have been in the city, and were they successful? One successful project was in Kebele 41. Jember Teferra was a project officer. The approach was basically to develop the community through a bottom-top approach. It means they are going to address the issues of the city, and development would be considering their problems. It involved the community in specifying their needs and planning how the funds would be used in the project.
In short, the new project is being planned, and Alec Reed is donating significant funding of the project along with other donors. Jember has prepared documentation and submitted a 1000000-pound proposal for a project to develop three kebeles over two years. The plan includes replacing housing and developing communities through various projects.
Discussion and Identify problems
There are few problems in organizing, planning, and funding the project. The case underlines the major donor Alec Reed, and He is an excellent businessman in the UK having 200 agencies. He describes himself demanding at work. Jember Teferra having done graduation in community development. To work on her master’s thesis, she reached out to Alec Reed to work on the project. The working relationship raised many questions on both sides. Here are a few identifiable problems from the case. The probable solution based on concepts will be given later after identifying the issues.
Firstly, communication errors between working partners. In the first meeting, Jember said that she wants to raise enough money for the poor. The answer to it by Alec was that he does not believe in Jember to pull off five time’s bigger projects. In these two dialogues, it can be observed the communication error between parties.
Secondly, the problem of expectation of the process of the project. Alec sees it as a project which one can carry out very quickly in a given period. It neglects the probable problems such as political issues and social norms prevention community development. He sees it as a business project which must be done in a said time using the defined budget. In the first meeting, Alec said that this is a business project and must be carried out efficiently.
Thirdly, another problem is to identify who is leading the project. Alec has funded it and needs the weekly account of the progress of the project. The problem is project need focus and if it is regulated strictly based on development such as several houses made or community projects carried out. It misses the point where building houses will be burdensome at the time due to socio-economic problems. In case Jember is leading a project, she has to be accountable to all the stakeholders of the project. After having spent 500000 pounds to date, she must deliver at least some parts of expectations.
Finally, the approach to solving a problem seems one-sided. Jember wants the Bottom-top approach, whereas Alec appears to have a Top-Bottom approach, which is common in Business projects. The problem with the current strategy is, Jember is too focused on the issues of the community, including small matters. Jember’s perception of the disagreement underlines her focus that is, the purpose of the population want, being involved in the planning, which is the core of the holistic approach. Similarly, Alec’s perception of disagreement was that he had not seen any development in the area where 500000 pounds is spent. We can purpose a few possible solutions based on the three concepts.
1. Leading social change organizations
The people who have the vision of changing the society and bringing change in the area, they are social change leader to have thought of doing so. However, they become a leader when they implement and execute what they have thought of. To bring the change in the society, they have to understand the area, their history, and social norms and limitedness of their awareness of the dire need of replacement. Some studies highlight the areas which social change leaders must work on to get the most from the collaborative work.There are five areas in which Jember has to work on. Firstly, advancing a relational leadership perspective to explore connectedness. There are two ways of approaching the role of relationships; the first one is known as ‘the entity approach to leadership. It examines the relationship-oriented behavioral styles such as consideration, and relationship-oriented leadership behaviors based on high-quality, trusting work relationships’. The theories focus on relationship-based leadership, which can be strengthened among different stakeholders. The second is ‘the constructionist approach’ which perceives leadership as the outcome of human social constructions emerging from the rich connections and the interdependencies of organizations and their members.
The study of 40 organizations in the US shows the five leadership practices which bring diverse stakeholder together in a collaborative work environment. The five methods are ‘prompting cognitive shifts; naming and shaping identity; engaging dialogue about difference; creating equitable governance mechanisms, and weaving multiple worlds together through interpersonal relationships’. It is also important to minimize power inequalities and recognition of the strategic value of ‘difference’. Alec Reed and Jember would have to name and shape identity to shift the cognitive network of how they see it as a project. It includes how particular issues are understood among these two major stakeholders. It also involves having an excellent conversation between stakeholders to make communication clear.
The cognitive shift means changing the mental model. It means to change the audience’s view of the process of the organizational work. The method of building bridges includes listening to other parties and improving interpersonal relations. Alec Reed may need to understand the concept of ‘from another problem to our problem’. As we have identified in the problems section, he sees it as a business to solve the problem. It means that their challenge of how they are living, one can provide them with housing, and thinking that work is done then it is a problem. The building approach of any leader of social change is first to understand that their problem is our problem. It is then that one knows the struggles they are going through.
Similarly, the concept of naming and shaping identity is a significant process of social change. Identity is a core element to bring stakeholders such as gender or race. In the case study, Alec Reed and Jember will have to understand the need for creating a similar identity. Such as they both somehow relate to the culture of Ethiopia, which means they can increase interpersonal relations. Celebrating identity may foster the community to connect to donors and the project managers. It includes activities, including festivals and sports that may help them relate to community development as a whole.
It is essential to bring forward a similar solution where different perspectives are taken seriously. The problem with the holistic approach seems that only two people are involved. The dialogue misses the needs and interest of community which need development. In the meetings, there was no person of society in the meeting present. If the person would have been and was given a chance to speak of interests and needs required, the donors would have understood the struggles Jember is facing. The heated conversation would have instead been an interactive session of progress.
The problem of different perspectives lies at ensuring different voices in the circle. It means no single person can alone represent various members of the ethnicity and community. Other members must come forward to showcase their issues to stakeholders, and relevant measures can be taken. It also includes recognizing the hard work of people involved in social change, including technicians to garbage pickers. Alec cannot see the job done in the area worth 500000 pounds. Whatever the work is done. He must address and recognize the value of it. It only improves and encourages the people who spent days and nights working on the projects. (Ospina & Foldy, 2010.) If I was to ask and mediate between Jember and Alec. I would suggest bringing forward the community member who is poor and old. He/she is going to tell the socio-economic problems, including political. It will change the perspective of Alec. And through dialogue, Jember would understand that she must speed up the work despite the struggles. It will endure development in the community as well.
Multiple stakeholders and collaboration.
The second concept of multiple stakeholders led to an understanding of the recognition of different people directly or indirectly involved in the project. The research article penned down the term ‘Intergroup leadership’ to highlight the importance of the varying race, ethnicity, age, political party, and sexual orientation in today’s increasingly pluralistic, multicultural world. The intergroup leader confronts the challenges f diversity and brings various groups together in a positive relation. The social change leader must be an intergroup leader because the community development requires people from different backgrounds to come together and work on a singular mission of growth.
The different groups involved in the community development project such as different donors, construction workers, the people who would acquire the houses, and the managers must be encouraged to contact each other. This approach improves intergroup relations and improve positive regard for outgroups and decrease prejudice and stereotyping. It brings equal-status groups, common goals, intergroup cooperation, and recognizing the leader of the project. There are economic, legal, and ethical responsibilities in the community development each have their weight. If I have to put the priority list of the problems one must consider in solving the issues, It would be ethnical responsibilities. It means it will be ethical to bring forward the community members in the meetings and have a different perspective of change and development. (Pittinsky, Simon, 2007).
The construct of leadership identity – from traits to trust.
It focuses on defining the leadership identity, simply put it means to bring up the sense of themselves as to how they see themselves. The individual has to work under personal brands that transcend their organization. The leader is not outside of the whole process of the development but a part of the core team. The leader has to be authentic and engaged in every process of the project.
In the case of the project of Integrated Holistic approach, Jember seems to be an active person in charge of the project. She knows the smallest to most significant problems faced by different groups. However, she has not developed a personal brand to gain the trust of the donors. Which means she has to work on her identity that the world must see her. She works on the project, if she had done it under her name donors such as Alec Reed would have trusted her work.
The Trust as a trait vs Trust as an emergent state.
Traits are defined as a characteristic that is not influenced by the external environment and remains stable over time. It shows that this trait in an individual is static and not changing. However, another concept indicates that it is a new state which means that trust develops over time depending on contextual factors including cognitive, motivation, and affective states.
On the other side is another concept that is trusted as a process. This concept is different from others as it does emerge, but through the series of operations. For example, Alec may not trust Jember on the work done. It shows that he is hesitant over the job or the accountability of the money spent. It wants an immediate result. After the second meeting, Alec seems to trust Jember and continued to listen to her complaints and highlighted his own needs.
Conclusion and Recommendation
In conclusion, the case study has problems considering leadership, communication, and perception of others. The agenda of the stakeholders was different. The solution revolved around connection as the base of the leadership quality. Alec Reed and Jember would have to have a dialogue of differences with understanding and include the community members in the meeting to have a holistic understanding of the context of the project’s development. Learning from the case study, we may consider two recommendations that would help Jember and Alec to have communication without any hindrance.
Firstly, I would recommend to both the major stakeholders of the project to organize a meeting with community members. The reason for that is, as we have discussed above in identifying the problem of perception, to understand each other’s perspective they would have to
include the members of the community. Alec would be able to understand the struggles of the people such as a community member may mention that they have sewerage problems in their area. For that, the housing may not be the immediate solution. They would have to dig in the basements and setup the pipelines for sewerage to work properly. Alec would be able to understand problems atthe micro-level. For Jember, she may need to understand that being extremely involved in every other individual’s problem would not help everyone at the macro level. Rather than paying attention to each problem, she may perceive that working at a given deadline would help the community to build a sense of work at the organizational level.
Secondly, the accounts show that the proposal of budget and actual expenditure needed for physical upgrading. There seems to be a ‘huge’ difference between the proposals and actual needed of expenses. Jember would need to hire expert accountants to calculate the budget accurately. The reason for that is, the proposal suggested expected expenses on physical upgrading 2,766,408 Pounds whereas the actual expenses were 14,076,203 Pounds. The proposal would have pressurized the stakeholders at large to collect enough donations, whereas it shouldn’t be the case considering actual expenses. Therefore, it is recommended to hire experts.
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Pittinsky, T. L., & Simon, S. 2007. “Intergroup Leadership.” The Leadership Quarterly, 18(6): 586–605
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