Philia - a dialogue on citizenship
advanced search
Home Events Calendar Resources Site Map Contact Us Version Francaise
About Philia Nourishing Ideas Good Conversation Inspiring Action

Organizational Transformation
Inspiring Action > Organizational Transformation

When individuals join together to care for others, organizations are often created to fulfill their social missions. Over time, however, these organizations are shaped by a multitude of influences, and the genuine, caring relationships that were at the root of their creation are often replaced by more professional relationships. Efficient and effective service provision grows in importance, and the activities of doing, which are necessary to accomplish goals, replace those of being, which are necessary to foster relationships.

Furthermore, funders and other external entities that regulate health, safety and labour relations, begin to affect the way people in the organization relate to others. These entities, reflecting the predominant values of society, place less value on activities of being and transmit that tendency to the organizations they fund. Achieving outcomes becomes more important as funders demand accountability. Relationships are supplanted by service delivery. And people's dreams and passions are lost as they increasingly become commodities of a financial transaction.

How then can organizations foster and sustain caring relationships?

One organization which set out to do just that is the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI). In 2001 BACI embarked on a process of organizational transformation, inspired by the principles and values of Philia. Over the past four years BACI has worked to infuse Philia values and concepts throughout the organization, as well as into the wider community. Read more about the accomplishments, challenges and learning from this work in the evalution document, Philia at BACI: An Experiment in Organizational Transformation (PDF, 325kb) by Avril Orloff.

The National Film Board has been inspired by its collaborations with Philia and PLAN to revive its commitment to creating media-based initiatives that serve community. The website associated with the film The Ties That Bind offers a clear and distinct perspective on caring citizenship. Philia concepts are featured on CitizenShift and Parole Citoyenne, interactive websites in English and French that give users a forum to talk about social issues and encourage social change. And the NFB is "embedding" a filmmaker with BACI, part of its stated commitment to hiring and nurturing filmmakers with disabilities.

This Ability
This Ability is a filmmaking program for adults with developmental disabilities, formed as a partnership between the National Film Board and Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion, with support from Philia. Over the course of a year, filmmaker Lorna Boschman worked with a dedicated club of 6 to 8 people in the This Ability Media Club, building relationships and helping them develop the skills to tell their own stories in their own way. Each of the six films tells a personal story the filmmaker wanted to express and share with the world. You can view the films on the NFB's CitizenShift website.

Other organizations have also begun infusing Philia values and concepts into their thinking and actions.

L'institut québécois de la déficience intellectuelle (AQIS-IQDI) renamed its Prix du public (a prize for research on developmental disability) "le prix Philia" (the Philia Prize) to signify their acknowledgement of the Philia vision of full participation and inclusion for people with disabilities, and their intention to infuse Philia values into their organization.

The B.C. Cooperative Association has committed itself to nurturing the engagement, participation and leadership of young people with disabilities, and is collaborating with Philia and PLAN to inspire youth-led initiatives, particularly within the cooperative sector, to naturally welcome and involve young people with disabilities.

Philia is interested in working with all those in all sectors who share our values and principles and want to infuse them into their organizations. Please contact us at for more information or to share your stories of organizational transformation.

Date / Author
Subject Add Your Comment
Oct 07, 2021
09:46 PM
Empowering Growth
Pat Bernes I believe we need to honour people who are considered "the poor, the blind, the disabled, the homeless etc." We need these people as much as they need us. We have the opportunity now to affirm the dignity of life; believe in the potential of life and commit to the development of life. Why do we create send people away to specialized support groups. This creates dependancy and discrimination by focusing on circumstances/needs. We have the opportunity to provide more than "compensation for loss (humanitarian aid) we must validate the potential of life.

Related Items
Read an article about BACI's organizational transformation in Abilities Magazine.
What's New
This page lists all the most recent additions to this website with direct links to those pages.
Philia eZine
Click on the head to subscribe to @philia, our monthly ezine. You can also view current and archived issues here.
print this page
back to top