Publication Date

2006

Abstract

This research is an ethnography of the organizational culture of four education-oriented local non-government organizations (LNGOs) in Ganje, Azerbaijan. To get a sense of the distinct features of the organizational culture of these LNGOs, qualitative research methods consisting of participant observation, formal interviews, SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis, focus group discussions, and analysis of organizational literature were undertaken. Bolman and Deal's Four Frames model (structural, human resource, political, and symbolic) lends a perspective on the organizational culture of the LNGOs in terms of 1) organizational mission 2) rules, roles and relationships of members 3) service delivery 4) relations with government and international non-government organizations and 5) organizational identity and self-belief. Central to the discussion is the nature of civil society development in post-Soviet Azerbaijan and the Newly Independent States (NIS) of the former Soviet Union (FSU), with both analysis from several sector specific reports and commentary from interviews with LNGO leaders, staff, and service recipients. Research findings show that NGOs lack the capacity for advocacy on a large scale and hence have a weak impact on civil society development due to underdeveloped support structures, intersectoral competition, weak relationships with constituents, and lack of a positive public image. Other organizational issues include legal recognition, organizational structure, and donor dependency. The research findings point to ways for improved organizational effectiveness of the Ganje LNGOs' efforts in education reform and civil society development through sustainable funding sources, clear goals and mission, cooperation with other NGOs, and transparent, participatory management systems.

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