Social intervention in changing times - Business goals and social commitment - Books and Journals - VLEX 787489209

Social intervention in changing times

Author:José Camilo Dávila - Carlos Dávila - Lina Grisales - David Schnarch
Pages:93-137
 
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·  ·
SOCIAL INTERVENTION
IN CHANGING TIMES
E   F S (FS) reasoning as it evolved an
organisational model aimed at fullling social objectives, and introduced changes
in management structure allowing for improved governance. is chapter ex-
amines FS’ overall performance during the - period under review. What
strategies did FS employ to develop its organisational model and implement social
intervention? In what ways and by what means did FS seek to inuence social
change? How did evolving knowledge and experience, let alone withdrawal of
the Jesuit Order from FS in , inuence changes in social intervention aims?
And how did Colombia’s changing economic, social, and political climate – which
directly impacted FS revenue and operations – contribute to changes in social
intervention?
-: Business as a driver of social change
Turning FS into a foundation that runs business rms – as opposed to a company
that runs a foundation – date from . is transformation was undertaken in
order to overcome long-standing and widely recognised organisational tensions
 is section is based on Dávila, Dávila and Schnarch ().
 For a timeline illustrating FS’ developments, see Appendix .
·  ·
      
and ambiguities that invariably arose between FS’ business and social enterprises,
exacerbated during the period of highest growth from  to . Once FS was
chartered in September , replacing Fundación Grupo Social (FGS), ocers
also changed. Jesuit Alberto Jiménez replaced Adán Londoño as Social Director;
and General Manager Gustavo Tobón, a graduate of Javeriana University, replaced
Ignacio de Guzmán, also from Javeriana. In December , the Jesuit Order
named Hernán Umaña as Social Director, and in January  the Management
Council replaced Tobón, naming Álvaro Dávila as General Manager. Umaña and
Dávila were charged with the two-fold task of restoring FS’ unity, and overcom-
ing short-term nancial pressures. Spending by social enterprises had exceeded
return from business units, and FS was in debt.
Steps initiated in 1986
e year  witnessed a kind of FS organisational rebirth, the start of signicant
change aimed at restoring unity and identity: a) FS became a single organisation,
its two social and business operating arms melded; b) FS was the head, and busi-
ness units subordinate; c) social objectives representing FS’ overarching aim were
no longer relegated to social enterprises, and became increasingly professional.
ese restructuring measures were undertaken concurrently through the early
nineties; as noted earlier, they featured stronger governance, by means of the proc-
lamation and dissemination of the DAX document; wholesale changes in business
units, led by new board members and top management; and reforms made in
capital structure. Additional measures taken at this time will now be described.
Transforming social enterprises
FS’ four largest social enterprises in  were Projuventud, serving youth workers;
Fundación Colmena para la Vivienda Popular, a low-income housing developer;
Cenpro and Servir, each running social services. ese enterprises were nominally
operated as business rms, but did not require a return on investment; main-
taining their respective administrative infrastructure became increasingly costly.
Some considered that as much as  percent of operating outlays were absorbed by
administrative costs. According to the  Annual Report: “ere was sucient
reason to conclude that the model for undertaking social work via these rms
 Interview with director , No ,  July , p. .
 Interview with senior manager , No ,  February , p. .
 Interview with senior manager , No ,  July , p. .
·  ·
      
was seriously decient, to the detriment of [FS’] social action” (Fundación Social,
: ). Specically, decoupling and closing social enterprises meant transferring
ve social programmes to FS, to be run directly. A core team of ve members
drawn from each rm was charged with programme management, headed as of
May  by a Coordinator – the former Assistant Social Director. Emphasis was
placed on activities underway at units concerned with youth workers, low-income
housing and, less importantly, Cenpro.
Reforming financial conditions
Fresh funds were obtained in  following the sale of  percent of Corporación
Colmena to four co-operative groups, and  percent of Seguros Colmena, an
insurance rm, to the Jesuit Order. Obtaining approval for these deals entailed
a cumbersome process of negotiation with management at each of the rms in-
volved, and within FS itself. Certain investments and unproductive assets were
also liquidated at this time. From  to  nancial return dropped sharply,
but signicant recovery began in  (see Appendix ). ese changes paved the
way for positive outcomes, including salutary nances and strengthening FS’ net
worth, a process that lasted until  (Fundación Social, : ).
Organisational Culture Project
How could FS’ organisational values be merged with those set forth in the axi-
ology? e question was raised in . Given its clerical origin, FS had in the
past addressed the issue of values, but largely from a missionary, paternalistic
standpoint. e new project involved a deliberate eort at organisational cul-
ture, aimed at promoting the use of values from a management perspective. e
methodology employed was to examine “what ought to be”, as expressed in values,
and identify implications for implementation regardless of how viable they might
prove. Next, paths that might lead to success were explored from a management
standpoint, based on eciency, reasoning, and eectiveness.
 Transferred were urban settlements, alternative production methods, social training, formal edu-
cation, and grassroots communications. FS also took on wellbeing of the Marías, axiology, and sta
development for FS and business unit sta (Fundación Social, , pp. -; Interview with senior
manager , No ,  July , p. ).
 Interview with senior manager , No ,  July , p. .
 Interview with senior manager , No ,  February , p. .
 Interview with senior manager , No ,  February , p. .
 Interview with senior manager , No ,  February , p. .

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