Show simple record

dc.contributor.authorKenkel, David
dc.contributor.authorPrestidge, P.
dc.description.abstractWe argue that the ways community organisations are typically structured, with a Board, Chief Executive (CE) and workers, creates an inherently anti-­‐democratic dynamic. We suggest that the hierarchical concentration of power in the governance board and CE, and neo-­liberal distinctions between governance and management roles, cut against the inclusive aspirations and hopes inherent in community development. The solution is not to ‘integrate’ them into the structure of oppression, but to transform that structure so that they can become ‘beings for themselves’ (Freire, 1972, p. 48). The authors have spent considerable time as NGO employees and managers, and in governance roles. We have been friends for a long time and share a passion for community development’s commitment to small-­‐scale democracy. Our mutual involvement in social justice activities and organisations goes back to the 1970s and to varying degrees we have both remained active. We also experienced the growing ascendancy of the neo-­‐liberal paradigm through the 1980s and 1990s, and now into the 21st century. It is striking for us that we are the last generation who lived for a time as young adults without the shadow of that ascendance colouring our social world. We decided to write this piece after noticing in recent years similar sorts of ‘anti-­‐democratic’ problems happening in a wide range of community development organisations and NGOs. Somewhat tongue in cheek we take the opposite position to Tolstoy’s famous statement that: ‘Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’ (Tolstoy, 2015, p.1). Inverting Tolstoy, we have noticed that happy NGOs are usually happy in their own unique ways, whereas unhappy NGOs are typically unhappy in very similar ways and, we have begun to suspect, for very similar structural reasons. A common feature of these ‘unhappy’ problems is a reduction in the sorts of behaviours and attitudes one might associate with a vigorous and healthy participatory democracy. That is: a sense that everyone can speak freely and that their opinion is valued, a shared sense that everyone owns the work, and robust inclusive discussion that leads to actions aligned with the aspirations of the many not just the few.en_NZ
dc.publisherUnitec ePressen_NZ
dc.rightsWhanake: The Pacific Journal of Community Development is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-­‐NonCommercial 4.0 International License.en_NZ
dc.rightsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 New Zealand*
dc.subjectcommunity organisationsen_NZ
dc.subjectmanagement structureen_NZ
dc.subjectorganisational cultureen_NZ
dc.subjectgovernance and public policyen_NZ
dc.subjectCarver governance modelen_NZ
dc.titleCommunity development and the ‘policy governance’ approach : have we voted out democracy?en_NZ
dc.typeJournal Articleen_NZ
dc.rights.holderUnitec ePressen_NZ
dc.subject.marsden150312 Organisational Planning and Managementen_NZ
dc.subject.marsden120501 Community Planningen_NZ
dc.subject.marsden150303 Corporate Governance and Stakeholder Engagementen_NZ
dc.identifier.bibliographicCitationKenkel, D. & Prestidge P. (2015) Community development and the ‘policy governance’ approach : have we voted out democracy?, Whanake: The Pacific Journal of Community Development, 1(2), 53­‐61. Unitec Institute of Technology. Unitec ePress. Retrieved from:
unitec.institutionUnitec Institute of Technologyen_NZ
unitec.institutionAuckland City Councilen_NZ
unitec.publication.titleWhanake: The Pacific Journal of Community Developmenten_NZ

Files in this item


This item appears in

Show simple record

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 New Zealand
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 New Zealand

© Unitec Institute of Technology, Private Bag 92025, Victoria Street West, Auckland 1142