From Social Engineering to Community Transformation: Amul, Grameen Bank and Mondragon as Exemplar Organizations
Peace & Policy, Vol. 14, 2009
59 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2009
Date Written: October 5, 2009
In this article we argue that the problem-solving paradigm of engineering is limiting and therefore not suitable for social change. Social change requires more than rules, legislations, and procedures. It requires nurturing and building people so that they can transform communities, and thus not simply solve or navigate problems but go on to uproot the causes of problems to create a new and vibrant society. Learning from community psychology, we propose that there are five essentials of community transformation that a social change agent should pay attention to, which are: 1) being a passionate facilitator embedded in the community, 2) defining the problem with the community, 3) using multiple methods and perspectives to measure the problem, 4) conducting collaborative implementation, and 5) being flexible to change when needed. We present case studies from three countries - India (Amul), Bangladesh (Grameen Bank), and Spain (Mondragon) - that support the model, presenting further credence to the community psychology approach to intervention. We found in all three cases that a social change agent is not a catalyst that leaves the chemical reaction unchanged; the change agent is also transformed in the process. We urge social agents of change to disassociate from the problem-solving paradigm of engineering and adopt the community psychology approach, which can help transform both the community and the agent. Implications for leadership, sustainable institution building, organizational development and the lessons for social scientist are discussed.
Keywords: Community Transformation, Change Agent, Grameen Bank, AMUL, Mondragon
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