Decision Making: Social and Creative Dimensions


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Its preliminary construction was based on the literature review and, subsequently, it was subjected to the data obtained in the empirical phase of this research. This decision follows the recommendation given by Hoff , who indicates the need of using frameworks for the formulation of hypotheses and for tests in future empirical studies, aiming not only to develop methodological and analytical procedures but also to test their consistency of practice.

As Figure 1 shows, these dimensions occur along the path of social innovation initiatives. The innovativeness dimension is conceived as a social system that is present in the others dimensions. Furthermore, it is considered that innovation is related to the following aspects: in the dimension of actors, the actions performed by individuals; in the dimension of social needs, the interpretation of environments and the search of solutions that are more appropriate to their contexts; in the dimension of process, the way innovative characteristics should be managed; and in the dimension of social improvements and answers, the realization of ideas that generate social value.

Actors can generate a pro-innovation environment and influence the organizational actor's roles in others dimensions, encouraging creativity and offering new approaches for solving social issues and connecting the broader context of the innovation process to its social transformation objective. Although five dimensions of social innovation have been initially identified, such dimensions were subsequently examined to investigate their existence and of other variables that were not identified in the literature review to compose the final version of this proposed model.

The aim of this paper was to propose a deeper theoretical discussion about social innovation, presenting a framework that involves the identification of dimensions of analysis and the proposition of the organizational actor's roles in each dimension, inserted into the process and result approach. To reach that goal, regarding the methodology, the qualitative approach was adopted with the purpose of contributing to the development of the theory that involves social innovation, since this method facilitates the study in depth and in detail Patton, This research was exploratory and descriptive.

At first, the authors tried to identify the dimensions of social innovation and the organizational actor's roles in each of those dimensions, based on a thorough theoretical review that included national and international authors.

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This resulted on the proposition of a preliminary model that allowed for the identification and evaluation of social innovation initiatives. The next step used the strategy of case study for validating the proposed model. This is because, in a qualitative research, it is very important that the context of the phenomenon studied is taken into account Pettigrew, The method of case study was considered to be the most appropriate to achieve the goal set for this research, given its relevance for answering questions that involve "how" and "why" Yin, , by means of a thorough data collection that involved multiple sources of rich contextual information Creswell, Civil society organizations related to ASA have been defined as unities of analysis of the case in this study, and their technical and executive managers have been defined as research subjects.

The representatives of these organizations were contacted through e-mails that requested an interview, according to their availability. The data collection techniques used were bibliographical research; field research consolidated by semi-structured interviews with subjects and non-participant observation by means of visits and experience with organizations during the period of research, that took place between April and June Such data collection instruments were used simultaneously in order to grasp the depth of the issues inherent in the analyzed case, in what refers to the guiding questions of this study.

The data were analyzed according to the phases of Bardin's content analysis process: pre-analysis; material exploration; and data treatment, inference and interpretation. In addition, the data triangulation was made confronting data obtained on the interviews with the documental analysis and non-participant observation so the research would meet validity and reliability criteria.

Before presenting the data's analysis, it seemed reasonable to present the object of this study, which allowed for the creation, execution and dissemination of social innovations in the Brazilian semiarid region. Thus, ASA promotes and disseminates social innovation in the semiarid context, discussing and organizing new options of public policies aimed to expand the access to water to low-income families in the region, as well as actions aimed at food production for self-consumption, with the objective of ensuring safety and food sovereignty.

In the Dimension of Actors, roles related to the categories: involvement with social actors; involvement with other organizational actors; involvement with institutional actors; and cooperation between actors were validated by the empirical case.

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Regarding the mechanisms used for the involvement of organizational actors with other actors, the following roles were observed Figure 2 :. Civil society has its interests represented because the organizational actor has the role of representing social actors on the public sphere, in a democratic perspective, expressing their values and interests and being concerned with the participation of local communities in debates and decisions involving their needs, in the search for consensus on referrals.


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Regarding the role of articulating bottom-up processes, one can notice that the State is no longer the sole agent responsible for the elaboration of public policies focused on the core needs of the population, and the community is a space to participate in the process of planning and implementing actions to meet their demands. The empirical case studied allows to confirm that the role of social and political articulation played by the organizational actor has contributed to the construction of a large project, promoting the articulation between various civil society organizations on behalf of their collective interests.

Another role examined was the role of generating access to public policies and the ability to promote the means of satisfying their own needs. This is because the organizational actor is capable of identifying local needs and building mobilization processes that draw attention to latent demands and consequently attract the interest of governments to solve issues. When it comes to the involvement with institutional actors Figure 3 , the organizational actors play the role of making their choices legitimate; ensuring that contractual relations are fulfilled; and obtaining funding for social innovation initiatives.

The performance of the role of legitimation is related to the access that the organizational actor has to the State institutions. This access is established through a communicative process that operates within the public sphere, in which the actor mediates social needs with the political system. This process allows that the impulses that originate from this articulation are able to reach decision-making entities. It was found that this process can also be observed on the role related to establishing contractual relations and ensuring their fulfillment.

These relations are established through interactions between the collective action and the public sphere.

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It is also present on the role of obtaining funding from the State for social innovation initiatives. The organizational actor has the role of being involved with other actors, through collective actions and partnerships, in the search for new practices of interacting with the public sector institutional actor and with beneficiaries social actors , as well as other organizational actors who develop works that are similar to the case in question.

Regarding the cooperation between social, organizational and institutional actors, the following indicators were identified during the data collection phase Figure 4 :. Social innovation can be introduced by actions performed by many actors. Thus, its process has attracted many partners. One indicator that stands out in the analysis of the roles played by the organizational actor is the identification of who those partners are.

In addition to those partners, many civil society organizations and government institutions cooperate to favor initiatives in the semiarid, adding more resources and strengthening the political space, mainly in the implementation of social innovations. This cooperation acts on the construction of new social relations and new patterns of sociability, based on a set of values of reciprocity and sharing, complementarity and interdependence bonds. This way, trust between partners arises as a category for analyzing the cooperation between them and develops to the extent they absorb such values and fulfill the responsibilities, functions and duties set by the partnership.

Cooperation is, then, a way of generating an interdependent network of social actions, based on trust between actors working together. In some cases, those relationships occur for a determined period of time and take into account the parties' interests in cooperating. These parties should be well aware that cooperation is the path for reaching designed social objectives. Therefore, the purpose of cooperation focuses on generating new forms of social productive actions, which aim to cater social needs.

A challenge that permeates this process is in the involvement between the organizational actors and the institutional actors regarding access to funding.


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The cooperation between the social actors and the organizational actors provide legitimacy for access to such funds. That is because the programs were financed by the Federal Government, most of those interaction happen with that agent and their agencies, which look to achieve an oversight of the usage of such resources in the program, also implying in the imposition of standard methodology, ultimately causing trouble when implementing the projects.

The dimension of social needs Figure 5 made it possible to realize that the task of mapping out the context of the crisis emerges as a key role to be played by the organizational actor, fundamental to set an outline for achieving development, social cohesion and stability from the local context and specific problems. Consequently, this transformation comes with a new paradigm, proposing the reconstruction of the integration model of locations, as response for unanswered social needs, for the purpose of social inclusion and improving the living conditions of actors inserted in their contexts.

The existence and dynamic of unsatisfied needs can help to identify strategies and approaches for helping new and improved ways of satisfying those same needs. That shows the importance of the role of searching for connections between demands and social needs, which happens through a social construction process, in a way that becomes an incentive for social actors to organize themselves and act collectively when facing a determined situation, aiming to access distinct resources - financially, politically and culturally.

By identifying the urgency criterion, it is possible to map out social needs, allowing the organizational actor to set priority actions. This can be a way of acquiring specific answers for local needs, which comes also as a result from mobilization and articulation of actors that seek empowerment and development of their capacities and competences.

The criteria then established made it possible to realize the focus on projects that are directed to civil society, through social innovations and public policies, involving farmers as protagonists for improving their own living conditions, helping them to adjust them according to their social needs. The role of identifying if social needs will provoke radical, incremental or systemic structural changes is related to the role of identifying specific innovations for the context, pertaining to the Dimension of innovativeness.

Figure 6 shows these connections. The region's capacity to acquire specific answers for its social needs is the result of the mobilization and articulation of actors that seek empowerment and development of their own capacities and competences. The organizational actor acts as an element for social transformation, privileging new ways of solidarity and partnerships. The following cases present characteristics of systemic change, which allowed for the adaptation of techniques water collection for consumption and water for production in the context of a crisis.

They also show the applicability of social innovation, because they are cheap, easy to be implemented and provide a quick solution for the problem in question - water storage capacity and how families can have access to it in a decentralized way. In the dimension of processes, the roles to be played by the organizational actor and that refer to strategies developed and adopted for the survival of social innovation are: actors' participation strategies; skills development strategies; and evaluation and dissemination strategies. The strategy of actor participation predicts the mobilization of civil society for implementing programs focused on social needs.

It also tries to create mechanisms that promote the participation of involved actors and generate a system for "social control". The collected data have allowed to realize that mobilization comes from the experiences of many community associations existing in the cities.

The governance structure refers to their ways of relating, creating structures and paradigms that are built and rebuilt from a model that perpetuates the functioning of social innovations. Still regarding governance structure, there was a concern in managing in a shared way and that the positions occupied by organizational actors would be different and directly related to their articulated capacity of arguing, systematizing, organizing and mobilizing other actors in the process of social innovation. The roles of creating new ways of work organization and generating behavioral changes in the social innovation process were related to the models of work, economy and social actions in the dimension of innovativeness Figure 8.

The practice of solidary economy promoted by the organizational actor has the purpose of making social actors the protagonists of their own social and economic development. That way, it is considered to be a self-managing practice that involves the community in the definition of priorities and destination of resources. Moreover, these innovations have awakened an entrepreneurial practice in the communities benefited, as a category of analysis of new forms of work organization and behavioral changes, for allowing social actors to have access to local markets.

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These new forms of work organization provoked a glimpse of a new paradigm that rescues traditional knowledges and bets on the region's potential, stimulating behavioral changes of social actors under the influence of the organizational actor. It is therefore set in the pursuit of socio-technical adequacy.

The role of developing skills Figure 9 involves the concern of the organizational actor to train social actors for acting in the phases of development, implementation and dissemination that compose the social innovation process. According to the collected data, trainings happen mostly through courses that focus on social needs, guiding participants towards the development of the self-managing enterprises in which they participate.

The systematization of these exchanges of experiences occurs through the production and sharing of communication materials that function as a way of strengthening existing practices and disseminating the organizational actor's actions with the other involved actors.

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Regarding the evaluation strategy, the organizational actor plays a relevant role of establishing the evaluation process, based on mechanisms that allow for a quantitative and qualitative analysis of implemented projects Figure This step is identified as the follow-up of implemented projects, which includes the concern with evaluation and transparency of activities arising from the monitoring and evaluation requirements laid down in legislation, as well as the accuracy regarding the use of public resources when they are passed on by companies.

The evaluation process brings the challenge of understanding the complexities inherent to the social innovation process and facing the uncertainties that surround it, and which are related to the following aspects: the support of initiatives; financial dependency; and the resistance of the actors, identified as a complex factor within this social dynamics. This dissemination strategy is associated with the concept of open innovation, in which users and other interested parties are free to copy the idea and adapt it to their reality.

That is because social innovation is characterized for its dissemination related to specific actions, articulated in network and adapted to contexts, having the actor as the main driver and representative of this paradigmatic transition. In this dimension, it was possible to notice that social innovation should be understood not only as a defining criterion for mediating the use of technologies, but also as a tool that reaches those who needs such technologies.


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The social improvement generated as an outcome from that innovation should provide the appropriate answers for the social issues in their specific contexts, as shown in Figure The case studied has shown that the role of stimulating sociopolitical gain is related to the empowerment of the communities involved. This results in a process of developing new ways of work organization and new social practices that wish to turn them into active beings in the search of the satisfaction of their needs.

Other roles were validated during the empirical phase of this study, which were not previously identified during the literature review phase. The first of them was the role of stimulating economic improvements and answers that emphasize the social process of the countryman.

It is important because it takes the countryman into a state of thinking about his own state of misery, on account of the unequal appropriation of space, as well as the concentration of income in the ruling classes. Another one is the role of stimulating cultural improvements and answers, which ensures ethnical and cultural diversity in communities that seek to strengthen and maintain their cultural identity by respecting traditional knowledge and adopting innovating actions that contribute to regional valorization.

Finally, the role of stimulating environmental profits is not exclusively related to ecologic issues. This constitutes as a variable interdependent to economic, cultural and social factors that seek a rapprochement between the environment and development, involving the discussion on the need to promote a sustainable management of the natural resource base.

Decision Making: Social and Creative Dimensions Decision Making: Social and Creative Dimensions
Decision Making: Social and Creative Dimensions Decision Making: Social and Creative Dimensions
Decision Making: Social and Creative Dimensions Decision Making: Social and Creative Dimensions
Decision Making: Social and Creative Dimensions Decision Making: Social and Creative Dimensions
Decision Making: Social and Creative Dimensions Decision Making: Social and Creative Dimensions
Decision Making: Social and Creative Dimensions Decision Making: Social and Creative Dimensions
Decision Making: Social and Creative Dimensions Decision Making: Social and Creative Dimensions
Decision Making: Social and Creative Dimensions Decision Making: Social and Creative Dimensions
Decision Making: Social and Creative Dimensions

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