The term “Capacity Building” may be easily misunderstood. It has much wider meaning than is understood in general sense. What it then really means and how useful it is for an organization? Find an answer in the article. I’m presently working on a research project closely related to the title in use. So, I felt like understanding the term ‘Capacity Building’ first before I can conduct further study on which I’m able to suggest appropriate measures for the ‘Capacity Building’ of personnel working in my organization.
With some idea developed through internet sources, I felt the necessity of additional reading on the subject—‘Capacity Building’. This took me to the library of my organization where I consulted one of my colleagues working as ‘Officer in Charge’ of the library. He came up with an instant help and handed me the book under reference (Capacity Building in Non Profit Organization). I thanked him and started vertical reading of the book immediately. The very index and contents inside attracted me. And I could understand that I’ve got the right book indeed.
My initial understanding of the term ‘Capacity Building’–developing organizations skill and performance through mainly developing the professional skills of its human resources– started getting changed as I started going through the book seriously. After reading the book, my initial idea on ‘Capacity Building’ proved to be inadequate. In the subsequent paragraphs, I would try to communicate to readers what ‘Capacity Building’ really means, and how useful it is for an organization. Meaning of ‘Capacity Building’
Capacity building is a holistic term which encompasses seven important and different, but interdependent elements of an organization. These are: three higher level elements i. e. aspirations, strategy, and organizational skills; three foundational elements i. e. human resources, organizational structure, and systems and infrastructures; and the last element, i. e. cultural element. These seven interdependent elements of ‘Capacity Building’ are to be understood in correct perspective before attempting to undertake ‘Capacity Building’ projects of any particular organization. ) Aspirations: This may be defined as ‘the purpose of the existence of any organization’. To be particular, the mission, vision and goals are collectively called the aspirations of an organization.
All other elements of capacity building must directly contribute to the meeting of the aspirations of the organization. 2) Strategy: This is the plan of actions to meet the organizational goals and objectives. 3) Organizational Skills: This is the collective capabilities of an organization including: resources management skills, external relationship development, and performance measurements. ) Human Resources: This is the main stay of any organization. The collective capabilities of the personnel employed in any organization including all other personnel that may be associated with the organization, either on voluntary basis or outsourced in any form. 5) Organizational Structure: It mainly refers to organization’s legal and management structure including organizational design, job descriptions, rules and procedures and internal governance. 6) Systems and Infrastructures: It includes all facilities and assets both physical and technological in nature.
It also includes systems like: planning, decision making and administrative systems. 7) Culture: Organization’s culture binds together all the other elements to have common understanding and orientation towards performance to meet the organizational goals. It also manifests values and practices of an organization including behavioral norms and ethics. Usefulness ‘Capacity Building’ of an organization will need focus on all the seven elements described above. Mere improving the effectiveness of functions of human resources and organizational structure may not serve the intended purpose.
Capacity building cannot be undertaken in rigid isolation. Again attempting to focus on all the elements together may paralyze the functional ability of an organization for an uncertain period. The management, therefore, must focus on to build each of these elements in relation to its impact on the other elements in the organization. A sound, healthy, planned and coherent development of all the seven elements of ‘Capacity Building’ enumerated above can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of any organization.