Self-organisation, adaptability, organisational networks and inter-organisational coordination: empirical evidence from humanitarian organisations in Uganda
Mpeera Ntayi, Joseph
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To coordinate humanitarian organisations with different mandates that flock the scenes of disasters to save lives and respond to varied needs arising from the increased number of victims is not easy. Therefore, the level at which organisations self-organise, network and adapt to the dynamic operational environment may be related to inter-organisational coordination. The authors studied selforganisation, organisational networks and adaptability as important and often overlooked organisational factors hypothesised to be related to inter-organisational coordination in the context of humanitarian organisations. Design/methodology/approach – The study’s sample consisted of 101 humanitarian organisations with 315 respondents. To decrease the problem of common method variance, the authors split the samples within each humanitarian organisation into two subsamples: one subsample was used for the measurement of selforganisation, organisational network and adaptability, while the other was for the measurement of interorganisational coordination. Findings – The partial least square structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM) analysis using SmartPLS 3.2.8 indicated that self-organisation is related to inter-organisational coordination. Organisational network and adaptability were found to be mediators for the relationship between self-organisation and interorganisational coordination and all combined accounted for 57.8% variance in inter-organisational coordination. Research limitations/implications – The study was cross sectional, hence imposing a limitation on changes in perceptions over time. Perhaps, a longitudinal study in future is desirable. Data were collected only from humanitarian organisations that had delivered relief to refugees in the stated camps by 2018. Above all, this study considered self-organisation, adaptability and organisational networks in the explanation of interorganisational coordination, although there are other factors that could still be explored. Practical implications – A potential implication is that humanitarian organisations which need to coordinate with others in emergency situations may need to examine their ability to self-organise, network and adapt. Social implications – Social transformation is a function of active social entities that cannot work in isolation. Hence, for each to be able to make a contribution to meaningful social change, there is need to develop organisational networks with sister organisations so as to secure rare resources that facilitate change efforts coupled with the ability to reorganise themselves and adapt to changing environmental circumstances. Originality/value – The paper examines (1) the extent to which self-organisation, adaptability and organisational networks influence inter-organisational coordination; (2) the mediating role of both adaptability and organisational networks between self-organisation and inter-organisational coordination in the context of humanitarian organisations against the backdrop of complex adaptive system (CAS) theory.
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