Essay: Community Leaders Be Inclusive

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¶ … community leaders be inclusive, prevent elitist modes of thinking, foster participation and harness social capital?

There are many forms of development ranging from economic to social, needs to be comprehended as a political process where people demand for their rights and pool resources they require to live by. By definition, the community leaders should be involved. This consists of process of working out with the stakeholders, foster participation, recognizing their interests and values and prevents the elitist mode of thinking. This paper will aim to stress the importance of negotiation and dialogue for attaining the community development projects. They should get planned, monitored and implemented.

Definition of a stakeholder

By definition of Byron (1999), a stakeholder is defined as 'A person, organization and group which have rights to entitlement to an organization's resources, output and are affected by their output'. This definition corroborates the definition of Freeman as well: 'An organization consists of stakeholders who are group or individuals who are influenced or can get influenced by the attainment of the company's aims and objectives'. The stakeholders are therefore, groups or individuals who can affect or get affected by a project. The community leaders can foster participation and harness social capital for the stakeholders.

The importance of tending to stakeholders is stressed in literature all over (Freeman 1984; Eade & Williams, 1995; Hoff, 1998; Bryson 1999). The authors deem that stakeholders are needed as their support is required to work out and make coalitions and to ensure that organizations, plans, policies and programs operate in the long run. The stakeholders are needed to be kept up-to-date. In any case otherwise, organizations and countries are torn apart. The community leaders can however work out with stakeholders and foster participation within the workforce.

When all of the stakeholders are kept in the loop, then friendly relationships and communication is developed along with trust. According to social capital theory, by cooperating people are able to attain more goals. Thus, harnessing social capital is vital here. Stakeholder plays a pivotal role in harnessing social capital and social capacity. By working together, social trust is developed (Putnam, 1993). For collaboration, trust is needed which leads to cooperation (Cox, 1995). When elitist modes of thinking are removed, challenges are exposed and mindset of participants is also revealed. The community leaders can get involved and work out the differences existing.

Human empowerment

The bottom up methods is quite socially inclusive, foster participation and promotes leadership along with owning and being accountable to problems and their solutions. This builds empowerment and develops capacity which motivates the community to work together. Thus, there is no need of a consultant. This also ensures sustainability. The community leaders can keep the workforce driven.

The importance of stakeholders

On the basis of stakeholder's anticipations and expectations, the community development is measured (Sautter, 1999). The needs and demands of the stakeholders are met and being responded to in order to achieve satisfaction. The expectations can conflict sometimes, but negating them can, however disrupt the flow of community development work. Thus, with multiple stakeholders in a project, there can be a multitude of interests aligned which may conflict. They have their own priorities and expectations. The community leaders should work out these differences with the stakeholders. The stakeholders represent a community. If a particular project isn't attaining the interest of all the stakeholders, the project is a failure (Sauttar, 1999).

Engaging stakeholder

In the beginning, a management activity should be initiated, which is a negotiation process among stakeholders and maintained during the course of the project. They should be carried out under the arrangements of organization and institutions (Sanderson & Kindon, 2004).

The community development projects foster participation, engage people, companies, NGO's as well as governments to work together. The success becomes two fold when stakeholders participate, coordinate and cooperate. The community leaders should be participating in such a process (Kleemeier, 2000; Eguren, 2008).

According to Newman 2008 and Eguren 2008, the stakeholders are afflicted with some issues. The managers need to take all of the stakeholders in consideration and assess the situation. Their job is to allocate resources and time in sorting them out. Equal and undivided attention is needed in case of community development for the meeting the interests of all the stakeholders. According to Sauttar, even if one stakeholder is dissatisfied, then the project can end up in smoke. The community leaders should make inroads with the various stakeholders.

According to (Weisbord & Janoff, 2000), the stakeholders are to be accommodated and identified with a singular aim of seeing each other on same page on a single agenda. The single agenda is sustainability. The process is highly complex and requires building on consensus.

This means realizing the demands and needs of major stakeholders as well as respecting their differences and opinions. Therefore, in order to get a project completed, successful negotiation is needed between stakeholders. Apart from that effective management is also required to go through a project. The staff needs to be equally responsible and committed. The community development workers should foster participation and recognize the demand of the situation.

The stakeholders are needed to be kept in the loop. Educating them, assessing their needs and consulting with them are also of primary importance. The project's goals must be aligned with those of stakeholder's. According to Weisbord and Janoff (2000), the community development organizations must be able to foster participation and collaboration the stakeholders. This can involve building social capital, systematic thinking, building trust, developing processes, mutual understanding, cultural sensitivity and creating terrific stakeholder networks.

The planners should be accustomed to new priorities, diverse communication and different opinions in a nonjudgmental way. They have no say in this matter. There are more than one theory and multiple solutions (Newman, 2008). The community leaders can keep the stakeholders in sync and speed.

The bottom up approach for stakeholders

The bottom up approach takes in consideration a broad range of stakeholders in context who are engaged in the development process. Every stakeholder has his own thinking, missions, interests, procedures, deploying power in a given project.

The bottom up practice takes in the multiple subjects in consideration. This improves the bottom up practice. In case of top down approach, the stakeholders aren't taken in consideration. All of them aren't allowed in the loop. For instance, according to (Simpson et al. 2003), the government governed the participation of the community in case of project. The concerned individuals were left out of the loop and felt isolated. The community's needs weren't being addressed. Thus, the failure of the top down approach was apparent enough. The potential beneficiaries were kept of the loop and project. The stakeholders pressed for an approach best suited for them. Thus, the bottom up approach was created. The elitist mode of thinking was eliminated once and for all. This fosters participation from all fronts. Thus, the community leaders can work alongside the stakeholders and finish a project on a high note.

Limitations of the bottom up approach

The bottom up process is often jeopardized when NGO's along with their financer's conflict with the stakeholders in terms of interests and demands. The major players are within the development process in a system, which was essentially a top down process.

With the top down structure, the bottom down approach comes in jeopardy too. The projects are planned at a higher level (Simpson et al., 2003). The development structure has been designed from top down traditionally; the top down concepts still persists in most cases. The community development often comes under crossfire to meet the demands of the donors first. They are western minded individuals focusing on top down approach. They are required to maintain accountability. But according to Simpson et al. (2003), the communities and organizations may not exactly have the same aims in mind in comparison to the donors.

A mediation process

The community development is a negotiation session between stakeholders with various interests aligned. In a particular community, real and perceived conflicts mays exist between various stakeholders. There are apparent tensions between the stakeholders to steer the project. The focus is the deprived people. All of the stakeholders have their own interests, ideas, concepts, missions, processes, deploying manpower, values, participation and power mechanism; these factors are important to fathoming the end result of a particular project.

It is very important to keep them in the planning process as well as the entire duration of the process. Apart from that, it must be ensured that the process is kept well within stakeholder's aspirations (Simpson et al., 2003). The interactions between stakeholders are problematic and uncomfortable to say the least. New methods and ways can be tried and adopted for that matter (Quarles van Ufford,1993). The bottom up approach simply keeps the stakeholders in the loop and keeps their aspirations in check. The community leaders can tend to the needs of the stakeholders and foster participation while harnessing social capital at the same time. The elitist mode of thinking is simply… [END OF PREVIEW]

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