Cooperation in the Social Sector: Structural Principles
Instituto Ciências Sociais Universidade do Minho Braga, Portugal
Six portuguese IPSS (Social Solidarity Private Institutions) made a development partnership, under the European Program Equal in order to get the funds necessary for the certification of their Quality Management Systems. They had the City Hall and a consultancy private company associated to them. Their goals were the following: to test a method of SGQ certification in partnership, having as a referential the Norm ISO 9001:2000; to certify at least a department in each organization; to spread the Quality Management System around every other organization operating in the social sector in that region. The cooperation developed for the improvement of organization management was a complex, ambiguous and paradoxal process.
The research made proposes answer for the following questions: 1) How do organizations in partnership adopt and implement locally a global normative referential to promote the organizational development and the improvement of services to society? 2) How do social solidarity organizations organize, develop and share the individual value project in partnership? 3) How did the participation evolve and what are the rationalities adopted in the monitoring of the conduct by the different leaders of the organizations? 4) What are the structuring principles that organize the conduct of participants?
This analysis assumes a simultaneously comprehensive and structural form, trying to relate processes in different dimensions of the reality construction, articulate technical and social, organizational and normative factors. The organization of the social sector, which mission incorporates social solidarity, reveal few capacities to cooperate between them and collectively improve their individual performance. To the organizational mission of social solidarity corresponds the organizational practice of operational individualism, revealed in the exploitation of uncertainty zones in the execution of latent functions, in the materialization into paradoxes of consequences and into perverted effects.