A Case Study on Intra-Organizational Cooperation: Combining Resources to Leverage Impact
In the competitive landscape of the nonprofit community, organizations innovate or fall behind. To set their organizations apart from competitors, effective nonprofit leaders must assess the knowledge stock of their respective organizations, determine core competencies, and develop core programs accordingly. World Learning is no exception. As it struggles to remain one of the key National Programming Agencies for the United States Department of State, World Learning has needed to determine how to outmaneuver competitor agencies to win essential youth programming (YP) bids. Utilizing the case study of World Learning’s YPs, this paper explores the notion that nonprofit executives seeking to differentiate their organizations from competitors should identify core competencies and build bridges across divisions to increase and improve core products.
In 2003-2004, two World Learning divisions teamed their skills and resources to develop one successful YP model. The dynamic combination of SIT Graduate Institute’s experiential learning expertise with Visitor Exchange Programs’ program administration experience resulted in increased YP bids won for the overall organization. Critically examining this one case of systematic World Learning intra-organizational partnership, this paper delves into the mechanisms of the collaboration to ascertain lessons for future World Learning inter-departmental cooperation. In addition, as it is the responsibility of the executive managers to provide a holistic viewpoint of the organization to its stakeholders and convey to employees the importance of collaboration in the development of the organization’s competencies, this paper appraises the attitudes and actions of World Learning’s leader’s throughout the YP collaboration.
The findings of this research will offer the groundwork to pursue greater cross-departmental collaboration within World Learning. Applying the theories of core competence and competitive advantage to the case study of World Learning, this strategic management Capstone offers insight into actions that may improve the existing World Learning partnership as well as a blueprint for future World Learning collaborative efforts. It also promotes understanding about the importance of communication, transparency and strong leadership in each World Learning division. Further focus on World Learning intra-organizational cooperation is recommended to encourage the organization to continue combine its resources where appropriate and leverage its global impact.