A case study (from a not-for-profit perspective) of a pathway to achieving higher levels of engagement and commitment between government and the community

DProf thesis

Taylor, N. 2017. A case study (from a not-for-profit perspective) of a pathway to achieving higher levels of engagement and commitment between government and the community. DProf thesis Middlesex University Institute for Work Based Learning
TypeDProf thesis
Doctorate by public works thesis
TitleA case study (from a not-for-profit perspective) of a pathway to achieving higher levels of engagement and commitment between government and the community
AuthorsTaylor, N.

Government thinking, in terms of public policy development and related services and programme delivery, is evolving from the command and control end of the continuum towards a more inclusive, shared ownership format. Consequently, if community organisations generally, and Not-For-Profits (NFPs) specifically, intend to play a significant role as governments move in this direction, they will need to ensure they are appropriately prepared. This preparation involves understanding the pitfalls, developing sufficient capability to play the role and being able to assure quality management. This context statement, with a concentration on reflection and review, considers my 25 years as a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of an NFP. In particular, it notes my 20-year role in guiding and supporting the organisation for which I worked to play a significant role as the Victorian (State) Government has moved progressively from ‘command and control’ to ‘devolved’ for the provision of emergency services in the state. The creation of Life Saving Victoria (LSV) via a merger and its subsequent evolution has delivered an organisation that is quite unique in the lifesaving and emergency services fields, in terms of its method of operation. Through this context statement, my aim is to share my experiences and learnings with like-minded administrators. This includes those in NFPs who are seeking to develop their own organisations’ operations, as well as current LSV stakeholders who may be interested in my interpretation of the organisational context for LSV’s initiatives and actions during my time as CEO. Put simply, my contribution is to provide a perspective on devolved government – a perspective from the point of view of an NFP. In seeking to make this perspective both relevant and relatable, I have endeavoured to illustrate both organisational and personal learnings that have been determined through a considered and structured (although at times spontaneous) contemplative endeavour.
To frame and assure my contribution, I have prepared a critically reflective, narrative-style account of my work with Life Saving Victoria. To support the preparation of this account, I reviewed and then used elements of thinking borrowed from academic approaches such as action research, action learning, work-based learning and reflective practice, together with business techniques such as project management, management by objectives and quality assurance.
To present my work, I have divided this statement into four sections. The first provides background elements and situational context as well as noting my personal influences and shaping forces. In the second, I review and reflect on the events and actions that actually took place throughout the journey. For the third section, I look to locate my work within the existing body of knowledge relating to the operation of NFPs in the context of devolved government. From the work embodied in sections two and three, I came to recognise that my work was comprehensively trans-disciplinary. For me, as I had not previously chosen to characterise or describe my work (other than that I was the CEO of LSV), it became clear that, as a consequence of being a leader in an NFP, I needed to be across and be involved with many different areas of knowledge and practice. Through the research and reflection embodied in this context statement, I have been able to identify core areas of knowledge (viz NFP management, governance – inter and intra organisational – and the development of public policy) as well as the overlaps of these areas that are required in the field, by leaders seeking to enable their NFP to make a broader contribution. In section four, I consider alternative courses of action, concerns and considerations for both my own organisation’s future (LSV) and those individuals and organisations that might be considering playing a significant role in the concept of devolved government. As a means of further learning from my experience, I have developed an emerging, transitional model to represent the pathway that could be considered by any NFP that is seriously considering developing closer ties with government. As a final point (and to reiterate a point made earlier), although much has been written on this subject (i.e. devolved government), it has mostly been from a government perspective; this thesis, quite specifically, addresses the subject from an NFP/community organisation’s point of view.

Research GroupWork and Learning Research Centre
Department nameInstitute for Work Based Learning
Institution nameMiddlesex University
Publication dates
Print10 Apr 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited10 Apr 2017
Accepted16 Mar 2017
Output statusPublished
Accepted author manuscript
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