A just society needs just organisations
Throughout history, power imbalances have shaped, and reinforced, beliefs and behaviours, which benefit a few at the expense of many. With more and more people calling for an end to human rights violations, environmental destruction and other forms of exploitation and abuse, we’re approaching a critical juncture. Society must do better.
Organisations, a cornerstone of society, are increasingly trying to respond but struggle to navigate a complex web of sensitive integrity issues. Practices in key areas, like safeguarding, diversity, anti-corruption, and sustainability, often evolve in different teams and tend to remain separated, even up to board level. With this piecemeal approach, many organisations fail to see where they cause harm and how they could improve.
Whole-system power analysis
We believe a much more effective integrated approach is possible. We see this as crucial for achieving organisational integrity.
Integrity practice can be transformed with the use of power analysis. Understanding how systemic power structures like colonialism, patriarchy and racism interconnect helps us recognise the devastating behaviours they underpin, including prejudice, bullying, discrimination and saviourism. We can better see how seemingly separate aspects of integrity interconnect.
With a strategic, whole-system approach, we aim to unlock the full potential of power analysis. Power-sensitive organisations can understand how power manifests throughout, in strategies, behaviours and activities. So they can nurture positive power, while preventing its harmful manifestations.
Cultivating integrity practice
We set up P&I to to enable holistic and evolving integrity practice. Through shared learning and the co-creation of power-sensitive and whole-system ways of working, we will help cultivate an effective cooperative environment. We think this synergy-led approach can not only help organisations strengthen their integrity practice, but ultimately also their impact.
We start our journey with the nonprofit sector, where integrity is fundamental. Supporting wide collaboration is critical right now, while ways of working on organisational integrity are still fairly new.
We recognise the vital role of leadership in organisational integrity, so a key area of our work will be engaging boards and senior managers to explore power-sensitive leadership and strategies.
“I think Power & Integrity’s proposal to develop a charity-wide approach to addressing power dynamics and integrity is very timely and much needed.”
We’re seeking participants for our discovery phase
This critical work cannot happen without wide, meaningful participation from others in the nonprofit sector.
We’re looking for:
- sector-level organisations, to explore ways of developing sector-wide coherence and synergy
- UK-based nonprofits seeking to take part in our future Power Labs
- Funding partnerships to support this much-needed, groundbreaking work.
To learn more about contributing to the PI initiative, please get in touch.
Adapting well-established work by nonprofits on power and inequality, we are exploring how societal power structures underpin negative organisational culture and behaviours such as saviourism, sexism, racism, bullying, and corruption.
Power analysis identifies the for multiple aspects of integrity, essentially providing the lens for the whole-system approach to organisational integrity.
A power-sensitive approach also provides valuable insights into how best to address negative power manifestations and – importantly – how to nurture positive power.
We are exploring how organisations can embody integrity. We mean this in both senses of the word: honest, responsible, accountable, and principled; and whole and unbroken.
Organisational integrity requires a holistic and strategic mindset, combined with integrity practice at individual, organisational and sector levels.
Using a whole-system approach, we will support organisations to integrate integrity practice that strengthens oversight, strategy, risk management and operations. This will help them be more proactive, more efficient, and much less likely to cause harm.
Integrating power-sensitive integrity practice requires continuous learning and diverse perspectives to shape a shared understanding. So we will help build an enabling environment with the nonprofit sector to work collectively on power and integrity.
We will also work to increase coherence between donor requirements around integrity and contribute to wider sector-level work on legitimacy, decolonisation and power.
By learning collectively and reducing duplication, the sector can establish a strong foundation from which organisations can strengthen their integrity practice and, ultimately, their impact.