The Strategic Social Map of a Nongovernmental Organization

Article excerpt


Currently, the traditional states-nation, as far as their social commitments are concerned, are giving way to the nongovernmental organizations (NGO). These organizations have a mission, strategy, and goals different from those organizations looking simply for profits. Nevertheless, NGOs are concerned about using management and information systems at least as good as those used by private companies. Organizations try to develop a social strategy taking their social responsibility as starting point. In this paper, the authors describe how to fix the organization mission, its strategy and goals, and also how to make its action map. A strategy proposal will be described, as well as the way on how to put it into practice. The main goals of this paper is to describe the mission, strategy, and goals of the organization; design its strategic social map; fix the limits of the organization's action; apply the theoretical model to a NGO; and design an information model in order to manage the strategic development. (JEL M10)

Basic Concepts and Interrelations

The starting point in order to define a strategic social map of a NGO is the concept of corporate social responsibility. This is a broader strategic action than the simply ordinary activity performed by the company, and it is necessary in order to design the strategic social map, as well as the action map and the information system, which will become the working tool driving to the attainment of the mission, strategy, and goals previously defined.

Corporate social responsibility can be defined as the assumption of rights and obligations due to the economic and social activity performed by organizations. In other words, this is to create and develop values such as protection, sustainability, compromise, and acting responsibly and economically as far as the environment is concerned [Cabanas and Vilanova, 2004]. This is also applicable to the people and society in general, both in the short and the long term, and independently of the distance (here it applies 'thinking locally and globally at the same time'). The final goal has to be the increase of the humanity welfare.

The strategic social map makes the strategic hypotheses explicit in order to show the strategy's structure, form, and architecture. The action and working map shows the activities and tasks to carry out in order to materialize the strategy. Finally, an information system gathers all the formal and informal processes within the organization. This system catches, elaborates, provides, and communicates processed and structured data, necessary to reach the organization's mission, vision, strategy, and goals (taking into account its needs, resources, and policies).

The concepts described until now are the starting point which enables the design of the strategic social map of the chosen organization. It is necessary to notice the crucial importance of the information system because it allows putting together the strategic social map with the action and working map.

Strategic and Action Maps

The next step is to apply the former concepts to an organization located between a purely profit oriented company and the typical non-profit organization. The purpose is to design a basic model that allows the good government of the organization in its basic aspects. Then, this model is developed for applying it to a NGO. It is necessary to take into account that the figures showed in this paper can be analyzed from top to bottom (deductive model) as well as from bottom to top (inductive knowledge model).

As seen in Figure 1, the starting point of the strategic map is a general strategy which can either refer to the organization's set up or to undertake new activities or to target new customers. From this strategic point of view, two different visions might be analyzed: A real vision and a financial vision, both looking for a predefined level of productivity and also results. …