Wang Ming: the Biggest Challenges for Social Organizations

清华大学公益慈善研究院

中文 English

Editor’s Note

This is a translation of a talk Prof. Wang Ming, from Tsinghua University, gave on the 14th of January in Beijing. The original version was published by the official WeChat account of Tsinghua University’s Institute for Philanthropy. Below is CDB’s translation of their introduction and the talk.

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On January 14, the 8thth annual China Philanthropy Conference was held in Beijing. The theme of this year’s conference was “Philanthropy and Reform and Opening up”, primarily focusing on the last 40 years of achievements associated with philanthropy and Reform and Opening up. Focus was placed on achievements in poverty alleviation, while also forecasting further developments in China’s philanthropy and actively responding to vocal calls from the sector to deepen reform, in order to stimulate the sector’s confidence. Wang Ming, Professor at the Tsinghua University’s School of Public Policy and Management, as well as Dean of the Institute for Philanthropy, Tsinghua University, and Head of the Institute for Social Governance and Development, Tsinghua University, attended and delivered the keynote address of the conference.

 

Good morning, everybody!

It is a great honour to have the opportunity to stand upon this stage and share with everyone our reflections and research regarding philanthropic organizations. I will be using 20 minutes to discuss some of the major and minor trends that have emerged within the context of a flourishing philanthropic movement on the rise, and to discuss the opportunities and challenges we face.

I will focus on the following five issues:

 

1 Multi-force Arrival 

 

I call the development from social organizations to philanthropic ones “Multi-force Arrival” (众势所至). The road we set off on 40 years ago went from economics to politics to culture and then to society. Each of these fields shaped a general trend in development. This general trend had led to the rise and development of philanthropic organizations.

Let us turn our attention to the classification of social organizations in China. They include foundations, social organizations and social services agencies, as well as other organizations, including those exempt from registration. This is the general look of things.

We have witnessed the total number of social organizations increase from 100,000 to 820,000. Although Professor Zheng mentioned that two years on from the enactment of the Charity Law the number of certifications of charitable organizations is not ideal, we have nonetheless already witnessed their emergence.

Especially the development of social organizations has led to a very strong developmental impetus. We saw this vigorous impetus for development first appear 40 years ago, and it resurged with vigor 10 years ago.

 

Engines of Change in the Background

 

There are several extremely important background engines propelling forward the development of social organizations and philanthropic causes. They include governmental reform and the development of the market economy, as well as the transformation of the whole society and participation in philanthropy.

Within this process, philanthropic organizations could be said to be newly risen forces, functioning as historical “locomotives.” Particularly after the enactment of the Charity Law, we can now say that philanthropic organizations have come to constitute a part of social organizations in general. It might just be a small part, however in a certain sense philanthropic organizations are showcasing the future direction for all social organizations, and in doing so they have shaped ten major trends.

These ten major trends reflect the enormous changes in this field. From social organizations to philanthropic organizations, and from the relatively non-mainstream to the mainstream, we have seen trends towards mainstreaming, public welfare, the rule of law, transparency, cooperation, self-discipline, co-governance, symbiosis, trans-border partnerships and systemization.

 

3 Microtrends

 

Within this process, there are actually several microtrends that are very worthy of attention. This is something that I particularly want to emphasize. These trends also represent important challenges facing charitable organizations.

The “microtrends” in question are very useful for every charitable organization. As Mang Ge once said, “the macro-level is something we must accept. The micro-level, however, is where we can make a difference.”

 

What kind of Microtrends?

Recently we have been following the development of charitable organizations and social organizations. We have noticed that, looking at some important trends, cooperation between government and society has been an important process for the future development of social organizations. Within this process social organizations, and particularly charitable organizations, have been extremely effective, but there are still a number of important issues.

We have put forward a very important concept called skill professionalization. We have tracked social and charitable organizations over a long period of time, paying particular attention to the recent flourishing of cooperation between government and society.

Over the past decade, government and community cooperation has shown a momentum of vigorous development, primarily, although not entirely, in the field of consumer services. Many social organizations, and particularly charitable organizations, are actively investing in government and community cooperation in consumer services, reflecting a mainstreaming of this trend.

We use a concept called “skill professionalization” to consider and research some related issues that are worth paying attention to. This concept of skill professionalization is a category of institutional economics, and through this conceptualization, we can think about and research cooperation between charitable organizations and the government, and draw some important conclusions.

This concept itself comes from institutional economics. It is used to study the evolution of institutions, particularly the core competitiveness of organizational evolution. It is also used to study wealth and capital. Its earliest conceptualization was the professionalism of capital, and it has later been used to research core competitiveness in the workforce.

This concept is very meaningful for research into social organizations. We use this concept to analyze an endogenous mechanism of cooperation that has been created when social organizations, and especially charitable organizations, cooperate with the government. We have found that community organizations have produced two relatively extreme situations.

 

4 Skill Professionalization

 

In contrast with the specialization of capital or technical ability, we have put forward the idea of “skill specialization”. It is a concept that is still being improved upon. I published an article in this year’s Volume 1 of the China Non-Profit Review, which focuses on discussion of this concept of skill professionalization.

Revolving around this concept, in the past we have tracked many social organizations in different fields of study, including AIDS prevention, environmental protection and community governance. We have found that this concept can be used to comprehensively and systematically study the internal mechanisms of cooperation between charitable organizations and the government.

I define this concept as a type of organizational ability that social organizations express in their cooperation with the government. More specifically, it is expressed as cooperation with the government; doing deep and meaningful work in a specific field, and over a long period of time; producing outstanding work; having a professionalized staff and volunteer crew; and the stable relationship with partners, including the government, developed through long-term experience and accumulation of social capital.

We give it a four-dimensional view; the first dimension is that aspects of the field are displayed through deep and careful work in that particular field; the second is that within the team there is professional staff, team and volunteers; the third is that there should be an extremely close and stable cooperative relationship with the government; the fourth is that it should show related attributes; in this process it forms attributes such as being non-profit, non-competitive and having a cooperative symbiosis.

We use this concept to go and research cooperation between government and society, and discover that within the process of cooperation between the government and social organizations, in reality two different trends exist. One trend is that, following long-term stable cooperation with the government, a higher professionalisation of skills has developed, and this type of professionalisation of skills also conversely encourages socio-political cooperation and makes these cooperative relations tighter and tighter.

In the end, the government is not able to do without social and charitable organisations, and charitable organisations also cannot do without the government. Another kind of situation is if cooperation between the government and social organisations is relatively relaxed, and professionalisation of skills cannot be developed. If it is like this then a pattern of being ‘united in appearance but divided at heart’ will form between the government and the social organisations.

We put this kind of concept to the test firstly in the field of AIDS prevention and treatment. We compared different kinds of AIDS prevention social organisations in Mainland China and Taiwan. We choose 23 organizations in Taiwan and 48 organisations in the Mainland, and we researched the circumstances of cooperation between social organisations working on AIDS prevention and the government in the last 40 years. We discovered that in Taiwan, overall, the professionalisation of skills in social organisations was stronger, and they formed a model of co-operative symbiosis with the government. In the Mainland areas the professionalisation of skills in AIDS prevention social organisations was lower, and it took shape through a model of policies on charity characterised by arbitrary allocation. Our initial discovery was that different social organisations had different professionalisations of skills.

The professionalisation of skills is a key factor in influencing cooperation between government and social forces and its different models. We want to further research why different social organisations come to form different professionalisations of skills, and we discovered that there are three big historical factors behind the different professionalisations of skills. The first is support from the system and policies; the second is support from the system of training human resources; the third is support from the system and mechanism of examination and evaluation.

Simply speaking, the support of the system and policies is provided by the government, including the corresponding policies where the government encourages social organisations to participate in these fields, and encourages social organisations to cooperate with the government. The system of training human resources can provide persistent support in the field of human talent, and guarantee that there is outstanding talent entering these social organisations. The mechanism of examining and evaluating is relatively more relaxed, it is not about seeking fast returns, but it enables social organisations to form their abilities in a more relaxed environment.

In Taiwan there are some corresponding processes that support the forming of a professionalisation of skills, and corresponding systems and mechanisms. But in comparison to the Mainland, in the sphere of AIDS prevention what we see is exactly the opposite; the support of policy systems is not strong enough, and the support of talent training systems is not strong enough. At the same time, there is also one extremely unfavourable and competition-based examination and evaluation mechanism, and we especially need to stress that this evaluation system is not only carried out by the government, but in reality it also comprises international organisations, and international organisations also require these kinds of ‘seeking instant benefits’ mechanisms.

 

5  Conclusions and Recommendations

 

The greatest challenge for social organizations comes from the lack of professionalization of skills, which manifests itself in the organization’s specialization in certain areas of cooperation with the government, the professional team it has, the social capital accumulated from years of experience, and many other aspects.

The professionalization of skills of social organizations is an important factor affecting the relationship between government and society. When the professionalization of skills is strong, cooperation between government and social organizations can more easily resemble a close relationship of mutual dependence. Whereas when professionalization of skills is weak, the government is more likely to have an advantage and be able to exert arbitrary control.

The cultivation and development of professionalization of skills depends on three historical factors, which include the area of need, education and a system for training and evaluating personnel. In the absence of these factors, social organizations will find it difficult to develop a high level of professionalization of skills.

 

Recommendation: adjust policies with a focus on professionalization of skills

The professionalization of skills of social organizations is the most important factor affecting the cooperation between the government and social organizations. To truly play the role of social organizations and promote the modernization of the national governance system and governance capacity, we must start by cultivating and developing the professionalization of skills and making it an important policy goal to promote and deepen reform of social organizations.

At the same time, we find some important disadvantages in government procurement services, where adjustments and reform of unfavorable policy mechanisms around assessments can help to establish and improve the system of appraising the professionalization of skills. This can then encourage social organizations to develop professionally, establish specialized teams and increase their professionalization of skills, in order to improve the overall ecology of social organizations.

These conclusions and recommendations are most suited to charitable organizations in the context of the current systems and policies. After the introduction of the Charity Law, charities are the most institutionally developed out of all social organizations, and their greatest challenge still lies mainly in the insufficient professionalization of skills.

Before the introduction of the Charity Law, we faced two challenges, an institutional bottleneck and a funding bottleneck. Now that both these bottlenecks are largely overcome, the main challenge we face is the lack of professionalization of skills.

The difference in professionalization of skills is dividing our charities into two types. There are several charities that are able to access resources and opportunities in the midst of collaborative symbiosis, strengthen professionalization of skills and achieve innovation and growth. They can be found among foundations and in environmental protection, AIDS prevention and treatment, and community building, but they are few and far between. The majority of charities are still fluctuating between being social organizations and being charities. The best proof is that there are only five or six thousand recognized charities.

It is difficult for charities to establish professionalization of skills when they are struggling to survive in the midst of cooperation with the government and arbitrary allocation of resources. The formation of this situation is closely related to inadequate systems to support the areas of institutional policy, talent development, and assessment and evaluation. Therefore our recommendation is to make the development of charities’ professionalization of skills a focus, accelerate the reform and improvement of our systems of institutional policy, talent development and assessment and evaluation, in order to vigorously promote the capacity building of charities.

 

Thank you everyone!

王名:社会组织的最大挑战在于“能力专有性”不足

清华大学公益慈善研究院 1/15
1月14日,第八届中国慈善年会在北京召开。本届年会以“慈善与改革开放” 为主题,以慈善与改革开放40周年成果回顾、脱贫攻坚的成就为重点,展望中国慈善事业发展趋势,积极回应行业对深化改革的强烈呼声,振奋行业信心。清华大学公共管理学院教授、清华大学公益慈善研究院院长、清华大学社会组织与社会治理研究所所长王名出席年会并发表主旨演讲。
王名演讲全文
各位早上好!非常荣幸有这样一个机会能够站在这个舞台上来跟大家分享我们关于慈善组织的思考和研究,我用20分钟的时间重点谈一谈随着慈善事业的蓬勃兴起,在组织发展方面形成的大趋势和小趋势,以及我们面临的机遇和挑战。重点谈五个问题:
 1
众势所至
从社会组织到慈善组织,我把它叫“众势所至”。所有的40年走过的这条路是从经济到政治到文化到社会,所有的方面形成了发展的大势。这个大势带动了慈善组织的兴起和发展。我国社会组织的类别。我们的社会组织包括基金会、社会团体、社会服务机构,包括其他组织,包括免于登记注册的组织,这是一个整体的发展势头。可以看到社会组织总量从10几万家到现在82万家,虽然刚才郑教授讲到了《慈善法》颁布两年多来,慈善组织的认定数量不是非常的理想,但是慈善组织已经诞生了。特别是随着社会组织的发展,形成了非常好的发展势头,我们的基金会在过去40年,特别是过去10年间出现的蓬勃发展的势头。
 2
背景推动
在社会组织的发展过程中有一些非常重要的背景推动着社会组织和慈善事业的发展,包括政府的改革、市场经济的发展以及整个社会的转型和公益的参与。在这个过程中,慈善组织可以说是异军突起,成为了历史的“火车头”,特别是《慈善法》颁布以后,我们讲慈善组织是社会组织中间的一部分,可以说只是其中的一小部分,但是在一定意义上慈善组织代表了社会组织的发展方向、趋势,形成了这样一些很重要的发展的十大趋势。从社会组织到慈善组织;从相对非主流进入主流,这是主流化的趋势、公益化的趋势、法治化的趋势、透明化的趋势、合作化的趋势、自律化的趋势、共治化的趋势、共生化的趋势、跨界化的趋势、体系化的趋势。这十大趋势反映了从社会组织到慈善组织,整个领域的巨大的变化。
 3
小趋势
在这个过程中,其实也有一些非常值得关注的小趋势。这是我特别想强调的,也是慈善组织所面临的重要的挑战。所谓小趋势是指对慈善组织来说影响每个慈善组织很有作为的。就如芒格所说:“宏观是我们必须接受的,微观才是我们能有所作为的。”什么样的小趋势?最近一段时间我们一直关注慈善组织、社会组织自身的发展。我们注意到在若干个重要的趋势中,政社合作是形成慈善组织向前发展的重要过程,在这个过程中,社会组织特别是慈善组织发挥了很重要的作用,但是存在着一些很重要的问题。我们提出了一个很重要的概念叫能力专有性,我们长期跟踪社会组织和慈善组织,尤其是关注近年来蓬勃发展的政社合作。在过去十年间,以购买服务为主,当然不限于购买服务,政社合作呈现了蓬勃发展的势头。很多社会组织,特别是慈善组织积极投入到政社合作的购买服务中,体现出主流化趋势。其中也存在一些值得关注的问题,我们用一个概念叫做“能力专有性”来思考和研究这些问题。能力专有性这个概念是制度经济学的范畴,我们通过这样一个概念去思考、去研究慈善组织和政府合作,得出了一些重要的发现。

这个概念本身是来自制度经济学的范畴。它是用于研究制度演化,特别是组织演化过程中核心竞争力的范畴,用于研究资产,最早的概念是资产专有性,后来研究劳动力的核心竞争力。

这个概念用于社会组织的研究是一个很有意义的范畴,我们使用这一概念来分析社会组织在和政府合作,特别是慈善组织再和政府合作的过程中形成的一种内生的合作机制,发现社会组织实际上出现了两种相对极端的情形。

 4
能力专有性
相对于资产专有性或者是技能专有性我们提出了“能力专有性”,这个概念还在继续完善之中,我是在今年第一期的《中国非营利评论》里发了一篇文章重点来谈能力专有性这个概念。围绕这个概念我们过去跟踪了不同领域,在艾滋病防治领域、在环境保护领域、社区治理领域,包括其他的一些领域跟踪了很多慈善组织。我们发现这个概念能够用来综合的、系统的研究慈善组织和政府合作中的内在机制。我把它定义为是社会组织在与政府合作中表现出的一种综合性的组织能力,具体表现为一个组织与政府合作,在某一特定领域深耕细作,长期运营,出色表现,其所拥有的专业化的员工及志愿者队伍,以及长期的经验及社会资本的累计所形成的与包括政府在内的各个合作伙伴之间的稳定的合作关系。给了它一个四维的视角,一是领域方面表现为在特定领域的深耕细作;二是在团队方面有专业的员工、专业的团队、专业的志愿者;三是跟政府之间有非常紧密的稳定的合作关系;四是表现出相关的属性,在这个过程中形成的非营利性、非竞争性和合作共生性等一些属性。我们运用这个概念去研究政社合作,发现在政社合作过程中,其实存在两种不同的倾向。一种倾向是跟政府之间的长期稳定的合作,形成了比较高的能力专有性,这种能力专有性又反过来促进政社合作,使这种合作关系越来越紧密。最后是政府离不开社会组织、慈善组织,慈善组织也离不开政府。另外一种情形是政府和社会组织的合作相对松散,能力专有性得不到培养,这样的话政府和社会组织之间形成了一种相对貌合神离的局面。我们用这样一个概念进行了初步的检验,首先是在艾滋病防治领域。我们比较了大陆和台湾不同类型的防艾社会组织。台湾有23家,大陆选择了48家组织,研究了在过去40年间防艾社会组织和政府合作的情形。发现在台湾总体上社会组织的能力专有性比较强,他们和政府之间形成了合作共生型的合作模式。在大陆地区防艾社会组织能力专有性比较低,形成以任意支配为特征的政策慈善模式,我们的初步发现是不同的社会组织有不同的能力专有性。

能力专有性是影响政社合作及其不同模式的关键因素,我们要进一步研究为什么不同的社会组织会形成不同的能力专有性,我们发现在不同的能力专有性背后存在三大历史因素。一是体制与政策的支持;二是人才培养体系的支持;三是考核评估体系、考核评估机制的支持。

简单的说体制与政策的支持是政府,包括相应的政策鼓励社会组织参与到这样一个领域里面,鼓励社会组织跟政府合作。人才培养体系能够形成人才方面的持续支持,保证有优秀的人才进入这些社会组织。考核评估机制是这样一种机制相对比较宽松,不是采取急功近利的方式,使得社会组织能够在比较宽松的环境中形成能力的养成的过程。

在台湾有一些相应的支持它形成能力专有性的过程和相应的体系,相应的机制。但是在大陆相对来说,在艾滋病防治领域我们看到的情形正好是相反的,政策体系支持不够有力,人才培养体系支持不够有力。同时,又有一个非常不利的竞争性的考核评估机制,特别要强调这个评估机制不仅仅是政府,其实也包括国际机构,国际机构也是要求这样一种急功近利的评估机制。

 5
结论建议
社会组织最大的挑战来自于自身能力专有性的不足,社会组织的能力专有性表现为社会组织在与政府合作中的特定领域中的深耕细作、其所拥有的专业化团队、长期的经验及社会资本的累计等若干方面。社会组织能力专有性是影响政社关系的重要因素,能力专有性越强,社会组织与政府的合作形态更容易呈现相互依赖的紧密关系,相反能力专有性越弱,政府在政社合作就更容易占有优势,形成任意支配型的模式。能力专有性的培育和养成取决于三大历史因素,包括问题需求、教育及人才培养体系与考核评估机制。这些因素都不具备的时候,社会组织就难以培养出较高的能力专有性。建议:以能力专有性为中心调整现行政策社会组织所拥有的能力专有性是影响政府和社会组织合作形态的最重要的因素。而要真正发挥社会组织的作用,推动国家治理体系和治理能力现代化,必须从培育和发展社会组织能力专有性入手,把培育和发展社会组织的能力专有性作为推动社会组织深化改革的重要的政策目标。同时要对现行的政府购买服务,我们发现政府购买服务中有一些重要的不利因素,在评估方面,有一些不利的政策机制需要进行必要的改革调整,建立和完善基于能力专有性的绩效考核评估指标体系,鼓励社会组织朝着专业化方向发展,鼓励社会组织建立专业化的团队,不断提高社会组织的专有性能力,并从能力专有性视角出发,努力改善社会组织的整体生态。这样的结论和建议,在当下的制度和政策背景下,可以说最适合于慈善组织。在《慈善法》颁布实施后的当下,慈善组织是社会组织中目前来看制度建设最完善的领域,在《慈善法》颁布实施的当下慈善组织面临的最大挑战,主要就是能力专有性的不足。

《慈善法》颁布之前,我们面临的挑战是两个,一个是制度瓶颈,另外一个是资金瓶颈,现在这两个瓶颈基本上已经突破了,所以我们现在面临的最主要的挑战是能力专有性的不足。

能力专有性的差异正在将我国的慈善组织分为两类,一类是在合作共生中不断获得资源和机会,其能力专有性日益增强而创新成长的慈善组织有不少,在基金会领域、环境领域、艾滋病防治领域、社区建设都有一些慈善组织,但是这些组织是少数,绝大多数仍然徘徊在社会组织与慈善组织之间,现在认定的慈善组织才五、六千家,这是最好的证明。

在政社合作中艰难求生并处于任意支配的地位,难于形成能力专有性的慈善组织。形成这种局面,与体制政策支持不利、人才培养体系支持不足、考核评估机制支持不当有着密切的关系。因此我们建议:要以培育慈善组织的能力专有性为中心,加快改革和完善现行的体制政策、人才培养体系及考核评估机制,大力推动慈善组织的能力建设。

谢谢大家!

Translated by Serena Chang, Kelly McCarthy, Austin Smith, Vanessa Zhang

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