How to change the world.
Atlantic International University. USA.
This book is comprised of two essays that have one thing in common, that is improving the standard of living of the people around the globe, irrespective of their geographical location, political, religious, social or economic orientation. The first essay deals with how to introduce change that leads to a better world, where people live in a more meaningful way. The second essay looks at how to reduce poverty in the world. The emphasis is on how to a perspective of reducing poverty that has a global appeal. Whereas the examples and illustrations are diverse, what is of great essence are the principles underlying the global focus on poverty reduction that involves the cross section of the society and humanity.
To all the people who share one thing: poverty; and particularly those in the third world countries.
How to change the world
According to some management guru’s change is a permanent feature in our lives or in the life span of organisations. Change is an inevitable phenomenon. There is no choice in having change. You may choose to have change in your personal life. You may be forced to change in your life patterns. Change may happen to you when you are unconscious. Changes take place in organisations; it may be as a result of premeditated and pre-planned actions. Change may come due to natural phenomenon, for example through a volcanic eruption. All what is acceptable is that change takes place always, either through conscious planning or through evolving conditions. Jackson and McKergaw (2002:3) say, “Change is happening all the time: our job is to identify and amplify useful change.” This quotation shows how permanent change is to us and the world we live; and how it is necessary to initiate change in the world. In this discussion the writer focuses on planned changes in our organisations or communities, changes that affect a large scale of people, change whose impact affects many people and last long, whose effect may take generations while still being felt. The change to be discussed is not due to scientific innovations or through natural experimentation but through social innovation. It is the change that affects our patterns of thinking and our ways of doing things. It is a change that affects the fabrics of our social existence. Some scholars have come to call it social entrepreneurships. By social it means it affects the way people live and the way people do things. According to Wikipedia.com says ” a social entrepreneur is some one who recognises a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organize, create and manage a venture to make social change.”
It seems as if this discussion is drifting in void. To end this void let us put practical examples of social problems which could be solved through social innovations. Examples of social problems are poor accommodation or non-availability of accommodation, existence of diseases in our community, HIV/AIDS pandemic, non-availability of water and other sanitation problems, shortage of food, poor communication system, illiteracy, lack of clothing, poor road systems, poor sporting and recreational facilities. Let us consider an example of a social innovation that could have been used to solve a social problem. The emergence of HIV/AIDS disease means a break down in family structures. In some cases both parents die, and a family is left being headed by the eldest child. The eldest child could be a fifteen year old school boy. How could such wide spread social problem be solved? The creation of a net work to assist child-headed family can be instituted. For example a trust fund could be introduced to assist such families with food, clothes and school fees. That is a social innovation.
What is the aim of social entrepreneurship? The aim according to Wikipedia.com is to meet social and environmental goals. Whereas we have looked at an example of a social problem we can now, give an example of an environmental goal. An environmental goal could be to eradicate or reduce land pollution in a certain community. Let us take an example of a work community where plastics are an end product and below standard plastics are thrown away. What could be down as a solution? The solution could be recycling such a waste product. The local residents could be paid for collecting such waste paper, what could be termed waste paper vending. Such plastics could be sold to other industries that mostly use waste plastics. Another example of environmental management goal could be planting trees in water ways. If water ways are left unattended gullies could develop and valuable soil washed away. These are examples of social goals and social entrepreneurship. Most of the work done by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is viewed as social entrepreneurship.
Probably it could be wise to look at an example of a renowned social entrepreneur. One of them is mother Theresa. She is renowned for championing the cause of children and humanity by her invention. She did all she could do to advance the interest of the poor. Organisations such as the international Red Cross are a product of social entrepreneurship. United Nations and its agencies is a by-product of social entrepreneurship. So far we have looked at examples of social problems and examples of innovative solutions, but we have to look at what is called social innovation. According to the Wikipedia.com, a social innovation refers to,” new strategies, concepts and organisations that meet the social needs of all kinds.” Again the Wikipedia .com sited the following as social problems: “working conditions, education, community development, health, micro-credit and distance learning.” In this particular instance and according to the Wikipedia.com, an example of a social innovation is distance education. So, for example, the new shift in education now called online education is as a result of social innovation. What could the world be without distance and currently on line education? Why was distance education and on line education introduced? It was out of a need to meet the education demands of the financially disadvantaged population of the world.
Probably one more concept we need to dwell on is the one of capital venture. Social Venture capital, according to the Wikipedia.com, means, “capital investment that provides capital to businesses deemed socially and environmentally responsible.” In simple terms it means money and resources that are set aside to be used to solve social and environmental problems. The problem with many people is to think that it is only the duty of rich multi-national companies or billionaires to assist in this respect. No! It should be a challenge and a concern of every citizen and corporate organisation of the world. A lot of individuals could donate whatever they can to assist in the achievement of such noble goals. There are a lot of trust funds that are created, where individuals could contribute. We look forward to the future where every one must be socially responsible. If every citizen of the world could set aside US 1$dollar per month towards averting the impact of global warming, what could the impact be in a year’s time? The idea of social responsibility should permeate within the mind of every one and all of us whether we are the poor, the rich or the CEO of rich multinational companies. With that the world will be a better place, should I borrow Michael Jackson’s own words.
Let’s look further at the impacts and aspects of social entrepreneurship in more detail than before, point by point. The visible impact of social change must transcend over large areas, being it geographic, ethnic or racial. In other words the impact must affect a large cross-section of the population. It must affect a reasonable segment of a targeted group. By the term targeted group, we refer to the people in the same or similar circumstances who need assistance in a certain way. An example could be people between the age of eighteen years and twenty-four who may need to attend undergraduate courses. Among this target group there are many people who need financial assistance to further their studies irrespective of their race, place of origin, place of residence, among other considerations. Unaffordability of education presents a big social problem. Global sponsorship may be an innovation that is large enough in scale to be a social innovation. Almost all reputable universities offer either grants or scholarship as a means of assisting the socially- disadvantaged group. For example AIU has assisted many such needy students over the years. In the same area there is the new innovation of The University of The People. The University of the People based in the United States is an innovation targeted at the said target group. It is the first tuition free university. It was founded under the guidance and assistance of GAID-an arm of the United Nations. The scope of this innovation is international. This fulfils what Briskin (2009) talked about when he/she described the effect that people need to be part of settings where kindness towards other needy people is cultivated; to give others consideration and helpful hand.
The other aspect of social innovation is caring. A social problem is identified. A solution is sought because you care about those affected. Caring and concern are the key concern of social entrepreneurs- others choose to call them philanthropists. These are people who are there to assist others not because they need to gain anything out of it. The underlying motive of care and concern is towards other fellow human beings ‘problems and plights. This should never be a concern of a few richest people. Many people must be involved. Heath (2004: 4) says, “Social reality is construed by many voices...” again there is a need for social entrepreneurship in corporate organisations. This has called for the creation of the Welfare Departments, community development projects and safety, health and environmental management (SHE) departments. As responsible social and human resources practioners, in particular we must be highly motivated and responsible for the social problems our workers face. As a human Resources Manager, I must not assist the workers because it is my duty, but because they are fellow human beings who are vulnerable and who need help. At enterprise level the introduction of a revolving fund; catering for loans, sickness, among other social problems is a social innovation. At Chipinge Banana Company, located in Zimbabwe we introduced many welfare projects. These projects are co-funded by the company and the workers. The workers are the share holders in these projects. What it means is that the workers have a big say in running the projects and in the use of the funds. Therefore, the company becomes more responsive to the needs of the workers. This is currently a unique innovation in our province. And several companies have followed our example. Again the creation of the posts such as Community Liaison Officer, Safety, Health and Environmental Manager; and Safety, Health and Environmental Committees at the workplace is a social response to social problems. As human resources professionals we must champion the causes of social entrepreneurship. Other senior personnel such as the General Managers, Directors, production Managers must get seriously involved at a corporate level.
After discussing caring as a characteristic of social entrepreneurship, let’s shift our attention to shift in government patterns. There is need to shift government patterns. By this we mean the way things are being run. There is need to adopt newer systems of doing things. Bureaucracy is a disease that affects may institutions. There is need to decentralise decision making and operations if institutions have to respond urgently, effectively and efficiently to current challenges in the social field. The motto “That’s what we used to do” must be changed. The world is dynamic and that’s why the way we govern or do things must change. One way in which the world has evolved greatly in the twenty-first century pertains to democracy. In Change your Operational System(2010) the writer says about democracy,” Today’s leading management espouse the need to give employees more autonomy, more opportunities to fully engage in their work, and more choice about how they want to work in order to benefit both the employee and the employer.” The principles of democracy has influence all spheres of our lives. The patriarchal period is over. The period of dictatorship in national governance is over. There is now participative management and governance. In the country there are now elections to choose the leaders we want. There are constitutional procedures for removing despots. A leader must be responsive to the needs of the people. Even in the family the time for the father to dictate every thing is over. The father has to consult. At work the manager has to consult, has to survey and respond accordingly. So to respond to the needs of those people involved we need to consult and involve them. With that, positive and meaningful change takes place. I am a typical fan of AIU’s policy and system of Andragogy. The student is the master choice maker in what he/she wants to study. That has been a shift from the traditional and that underlines a shift in government of education. So, in order to achieve social solutions there is need for flexibility in the way we run and do business, including the ways we respond to social problems. No wonder why the Writer of Change your Operating System says,” Democracy is what creates the optimal conditions for learning, motivation, self-direction and a sense of ownership.” The sense of ownership makes everyone involved in introducing a social change to give everything in terms of effort and dedication. About the power and effect of democracy the writer of Change your Operating system gives the case study of DaVita. The writer says,” DaVita’s management team understood the power of employee voice in creating lasting transformation and a sense of ownership.”
It is not only the shift in governance that is vital, but a shift in behavioural patterns is also necessary in order to have meaningful social change. There is an old adage that says:” You can take a horse to the river but you can not force the horse to drink.” This saying emphasis the need for change in behaviour. It is the horse at the river which should drink the water. The horse must be willing. If it is not willing no drinking can take place. The effort is wasted. So the people involved must have an attitude that is suitable for change, certain willingness. The willingness to change must be based, as well, on motivation. As a leader motivate your subordinates to change. If you are the community leader be as persuasive as possible if you need to achieve a social innovation. You need not to think and behave in a straight line. You do not need to wear a straight jacket. Be ready to change as the weather changes. We have one social challenge the writer talked about at the beginning of this discussion that is the HIV? AIDS pandemic. The answer to curb this problem is in behaviour change .If you used to have unprotected sex; you need to change to use protection such as condoms. The willingness to change and the actual behaviour change is a critically essential in social innovation. Let us look at a particular example. Let us say you are in the business of making charcoal from timber. Your current site means that the smoke goes to the nearest residential area. However it is expensive to relocate the factory. What should a social entrepreneur do? Is he worried about the cost or be worried about serving the affected people? Although it is expensive to relocate, the willingness to change is based on your perception of the problem at hand. A social responsive manager will change the location of the plant. He must not only make the plans to change, or calculate the cost, he must implement the change at all cost. A social entrepreneur must have the guts to change behaviours that he or she feels must be changed to meet the people’s needs. The willingness to change and the actual behaviour changing action is important. Gallan (2010:1) says,” Transformation can only occur through behavioural evolution.” The word evolution implies a slow pace at which changes is cemented until the solution becomes a norm. Once a solution has been implanted, soon it will become a norm and it becomes cost-effective. Gilboa (2010) says that once a changed phenomenon becomes a norm it lasts and it becomes much lower in cost.
Making a social change is not a simple task. It takes time. It needs patience. Change must be made in manageable steps, not in large leaps at a time. For real change to evolve there must be a suitable time frame. Such a concept is also found elsewhere in nature. If you are a builder and you want to build a strong concrete, you do not applied excessive heat so that the concrete dries quickly. If there is, much heat the concrete cracks. Even in normal room temperature a good builder puts water on the concrete so that, the concrete dries slowly. The slower it takes the stronger the concrete becomes. That is what happens in introducing a social change. The social entrepreneur needs to take ample time to time out and implement the change. In due course the change becomes a norm.
A social consultant or a social entrepreneur must possess certain fundamental attributes or dispositions. Such an attitude or disposition must not be purely a borne in thing. Some people are born social entrepreneurs but many others are taught and conditioned to be such. Educational programs such as those undertaken at AIU can assist people to be socially responsible, and responsive to the needs of other fellow human beings. It is a core duty of educators, activist, philosophers, psychologists and writers to disseminate the awareness and consciousness of the necessity to assist to others. Just like how an individual is taught the skills and resilience needed in writing or creative work, people can be trained and conditioned to be social entrepreneurs. One essential thing for a person to assist others is to have a proper vision. Answers.com defines vision as,” unusual competence in discernment or perception, intelligent foresight.”So the ability to focus on what best to do in the future is important. Focus on the problem, focus on how the problem could be solved, focus on the impact of the solution to the beneficiary; and act according to that focus.
The vision can be expressed explicitly through a statement of the vision. Most companies and organisation write down their vision. Vision can also be shown through the organisation’s mission. We have an example of a social program that was put up to find solution to specified social problems. Empowerment prog.org says about their mission, “The mission of The Empowerment Program is to provide education, employment assistance, housing referrals and support services to women who are in disadvantaged positions due to poverty, incarceration, homelessness, HIV/AIDs infection or involvement in criminal justice system”. Here the vision of the linked organisation is clearly spelt. In this mission the scope of social problems that needs solution has been named as abject poverty, criminal justice system among others.
- Quote paper
- Mashell Chapeyama (Author), 2010, How to change the world, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/174283