Summer Research: Organizational Development in Community-Based Organizations

July 19, 2016

Spring flew by and I’m here now in Mae Sot – along the Thai-Myanmar border – working on a pilot study for my dissertation on organizational development in community-based organizations.


The view from one of the organizations

I’m grateful to the Sigur Center for Asian Studies at the Elliot School for International Affairs at The George Washington University (GW) for making this field research possible. I’m also thankful to Dr. Christina Fink at GW for introducing me to the grant, the wonderful people of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Payap University (PYU), and of course the leaders of organizations participating in this study.

I will be writing two more official blog posts to be published by the Sigur Center later in the project and will post links to those posts here but I also wanted to write about my experiences here as well.

The quick and dirty overview of my field research is that I’m here to do a multiple-case study pilot study of four leaders of organizations – two in Mae Sot along the border and two inside Myanmar. The purpose of this study is to see how organizational development in community-based organizations creates a lasting impact in communities in Myanmar.

My interest in this topic came from being involved in developing a Certificate Program in Organizational Development at Payap University in Chiang Mai, Thailand from 2012-2014. Now studying my doctoral degree in Human and Organizational Learning at GW, I became increasingly interested in how – if at all – this certificate was having an impact on the organizations and communities in Myanmar and along the Thai-Myanmar border.

Thus, my research questions were formed to be something like: How do four leaders of these organizations use what was taught in the Organizational Development Certificate Program to serve the purposes of their CBOs and communities? How do the participants in the certificate program perceive the usefulness of the course for their work and lives? And lastly, how, if at all, has the certificate course contributed in any noticeable way to organizational change within these CBOs?


Park area near my guesthouse

It’s been an great experience in cross-cultural planning finding the organizations and leaders to participate in the study as well as the best times and days to meet. I’ve been here in Thailand for nearly three weeks and learning a lot. So thankful for this opportunity. I leave for Myanmar on Friday.


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