Understanding social sector organisations

The course will help students to gain familiarity with various forms of organisations and critically assess the need for different forms.

Why do social sector organisations1 exist? How are they different from other organisations (or corporates as we know them)? What are the challenges they face? What is their impact and relevance? How have they changed over years? These are some of the questions that confront students aspiring to work in the social sector space. Students of MA Development, working in this domain, engage with one or more of kinds of development organisations both during the programme and when they start working.

SSOs usually work outside the state and market but, in many situations, also work as the
implementing arms of state and market agencies. They participate in development action by organising and implementing initiatives across a spectrum of development concerns largely with a people-centric orientation. They have also become influential actors in public policy space. These entities are diverse in terms of their nature of work, funding sources,
geographies, communities and end users they engage with. There are many legal forms of
these organisations (and sometimes, unregistered but widely accepted collectives as in the
case of SHGs and producer groups). The organisational forms have emerged in specific socio-political contexts and their evolution is governed by legal frameworks and structures in which they operate. The choice of legal form enables or restricts an organisation’s scope of work and scale of its operations.

It is therefore imperative for students aspiring in this sector to develop an analytical
perspective on different kinds of organisations, this course (along with the other courses) is intended to bridge this gap and prepare students to work in these spaces.

The course will cover selected organisational forms in- depth and help analyse their role in addressing societal challenges. The course will also guide students to engage with current debates on changing orientation and working of development organisations, and their relevance in the current context. This course is not meant to be a how to’ guide on legal and statutory requirements of organisations.