Case Study Report Cyclisis
Development of case study
CYCLISIS is a small organisation but very active in the field of social exclusion. It is an organisation that managed step by step to gain good reputation through activities that embraces all citizens in question of opportunities for getting involved in non-formal education (a website navigation offer information about it). The interesting issue was that CYCLISIS managed to bring together people from different social strands, natives and refugees in common activities. Due to its small size as organisation, the activities can be organised in cooperation with various peer institutions and settings, in order to allow visibility and the necessary convenience.
Through our investigation we noticed that it was not that easy to find its official constitutional status (Statutes) although principles and vision are described clearly online. This was the reason that we decided to involve also a person from Administration (who also is a member of the Board) to facilitate our desk research with the necessary documents.
The persons selected to get interviewed were 2 (practically 3 as mentioned below): an administrative part-time employee and a language (English/ Greek/ French) teacher. Both were selected due to their availability to talk, their involvement in various activities for the organisation for more than 7 years ago and as both are taking part in either running issues or developing next steps in the trainings provided to the public. The involvement of the two persons were also identified by the President of the organisation who was the founder of CYCLISIS. She was also attended the meeting more as observer ready to explain or clarify if needed. She was fully agreed with what both of the interviewees stated around the issues. Unfortunately the 4th identified person – Financial Manager- was for annual leave so was not possible to participate practically. The interviewer was Angeliki Giannakopolou.
Description of the organisation
CYCLISIS is an independent non-profit institution activated in the field of education, culture and environment, located in the suburbs of Patras. We are an active player in European and Greek national level focusing on the promotion of intercultural awareness through research and practice Our mission is to bring people and institutions from both culture and education sector in communication, together with business sector and local communities representatives. CYCLISIS aims, according to its statute, to contribute, through lifelong learning, to the development of the Community as an advanced knowledge-based society, with sustainable economic development, and greater social cohesion, whilst ensuring adequate environmental protection for future generations.
It aims in particular at enhancing exchanges, cooperation and mobility between education and training systems in the Community as a point of quality.
Furthermore the organisation wishes to contribute to the development of intercultural dialogue and awareness-raising activities of the local community on racism and xenophobia and to promote equality of opportunity and to combat discrimination of all kinds. It is also upon the organisation to train current and / or appointed teachers in the context of lifelong adult education in culture with a view to dealing with routine or burn out situations. Along with the above CYCLISIS strives for the creation of integration opportunities for people with special abilities and mental and physical disabilities in actions of culture and education Networking with local, national and further stakeholders in order to promote intercultural dialogue for a society of equal opportunities is also stated on website and various promotional leaflets etc. Together with our partners we conceive, organize and coordinate projects in the following fields: nonformal adult education and training , educational policy, intercultural dialogue, sustainability and innovation
Structure of Organisation Board:
6 Persons ( 2 men- 4 women). The 1 person keeps the role of an Auditor due to his professional background and he is not involved in regular run decisions only as consultant, annually. Decisions are taken on agreement after discussions ad hoc or periodically (monthly) Employees: The institution employees 3 regular staff plus 3 people contract based (2 people with a migration background)
Status: A non-for profit education and research centre / independent.
Institutional in the migrant society
CYCLISIS is addressed mainly marginalised groups, migrants, refugees, unemployed youth, NEETS, women that have been systemically excluded, Roma people, unaccompanied minors, long term unemployed, trainers of civic education, adult educators, local authorities working in culture and intercultural relations, and others.
The percentage of migrants participates in the course offer, actually depends on every specified course. As an organisation that works especially for and with marginalised groups CYCLISIS tries, whenever and at any percentage it is possible, to have mixed groups of learners from different social backgrounds, meaning unemployed, women , migrants, refugees and youth.
The main obstacle that a migrant, as any other learner may come across, is that of successful outreach, and this is mainly due to the lack of the support of bottom up initiatives by migration centres or local contributors that may have access to larger groups of people from our target group. Other than that CYCLISIS can say that once migrants get hold of the information that they are giving courses or counselling support the migrants have a smooth go. The people with actual physical obstacles are mainly people with special abilities as there may be technical problems of accessibility to the learning material and on that CYCLISIS wants to act more actively in the future. There is not a particular support service inside the organisation but the organisation can provide links with migrant communities, municipalities or housing agencies.
Due to the profile of the learners that may be from young children to unregistered migrants, women that may be subjected to violence and Roma people that may feel targeted as individuals the organisation does not present actual human figures but resonates to illustrations or filters / blares learners faces. The illustrations are either inclusive of multiple cultures and genders or are culture/ gender non-conforming.
The courses that are targeted to people with low language skills are facilitated usually either through an interpreter for the learners language or through the use of a mutually known language (English or French usually). The organisation is in touch with multiple housing agencies for refugees and migrants, migrant organisations and local authorities and include participatory activities into known premises for the target groups before sifting to the premises of the organisation.
Human Resource Management
The institution employees 3 regular staff plus 3 people contract based- 2 people with a migration background. One of them is a researcher and one is contract based mainly working in administration The organisation doesn’t have an HR department. A recent photo of anyone applying for a job position is not obligatory but we conduct either face to Face or videocall interviews with the final choices. The organisation works with European projects and grants for social inclusion and civic society. Intercultural competence is one of the major skills required.
Due to the kind of the activities of the organisation most of the people applying for a staff position have been part of the learning or cultural activities organized. The organisation is really fond of including people from the target groups in each staff and as it is not always possible for the people in said target groups to acquire official certification, knowing each other through participatory activities is key. In this way we can make sure that the organisation works with the target group, for the target group and from the target group.
The organisation is flexible on celebration days. There is not a canteen at the premises but the snacks present are sure to agree with the preferences of the staff and learners. There is not a specified prayer room, due to the limited space of the office, but if needed the general activities room can be given to anyone that wishes to pray.
The legal framework upon employing particularly migrants and people with disabilities can be quite tricky due to the unclear bureaucratic procedure especially concerning insurance. Although when looking for new staff members the migrant organisations are some of the first places we are looking for colleagues to be employed.
The organisation acts primarily antihierarchical thus all of the processes of the institution are codecided by an assembly of all the staff members. The organisation doesn’t have multiple departments.
We cooperate with the Albanian, Romanian, and Latin American migrant associations while there are also Russian, Bulgarian and Afghani that the organisation still hasn’t achieved a close relation with yet. Intercultural relations due to European are previewed as well as communications to local beneficiaries from national grants, and good relations with the general further education community. Cooperating and working with each other is key in order to be sure of a lasting relation.
The organisation makes sure that the educational staff can click with the learner and this means that gender, colour and culture are definitely indicators which play a certain role in working with multiple and diverse backgrounds. It does not go well with the target groups when there is a clear differentiation between even the culture of the educator and learner as it creates an unequal power dynamic and the organisation would dread that.
If needed the teachers will provide special support courses when this is possible. The organisation for this reason has completed an extent training session for trainers due to a KA1 project for especially overcoming barriers to learning and tackling learning difficulties.
The entirety of the training programmes is based on participatory methods that enforce antihierarchical learning and involve the learner in the teaching and training process. Role playing, flipped classroom and world café are some of the methods that we have used a lot with our learners Gender can be particularly challenging and this is the gender of the teacher. There have been instances where some migrant groups could not have a women in a place that they saw as one of authority and this can be quite difficult to tackle. Language is a classic and obvious barrier which can, though be more easily resolved with time. Finally overcoming loss and trauma of the learner might be of instance and this is the reason why the organisation has the ability to support to some extent private counselling.
The staff of the organisation as a close relationship with migrant organisations, women’s initiatives and unemployed people for around 20 years thus having realising, but also constantly studying, the way to communicate to their target group. The communication with the end target group is basically facilitated through already safe spaces like compatible organisations or with the use of anonymity that the website forum can give to an individual by following an ad or presentation on social media.
Personal Impressions of interviewed people
Commitment with mission statement and diversity policy
Up until now our main focus was given mainly to cultural, ethnic, social and employability backgrounds. We recently started also to open up and trying to reach people that also show other kinds of diversity like neurodiversity (this is an important aspect that can be detected in the general population despite all the different backgrounds) and of course accessibility issues. Generally, all these different identities that lead people (without their consent) to social exclusion. The problems addressed are mainly mild cognitive impairments (MCI) and Special educational needs (SEN), i.e dyslexia, dyspraxia, etc.
What should be changed?
Need for more documentation of the procedures – Guides , principles and frameworks to be more widely visible and promoted.
What should not be changed?
As mentioned above, the main interest of all persons involved is to reach anyone’s need effectively. The level of empathy and the necessary reflection is the mentality which we should definitely not change.
The language regarding diversity within the organisation
CYCLISIS gives the impression of an open to change organisation. People working there, feel comfortable to discuss and share their opinions. The relations between people really reflect the nonhierarchical approach, even that there is respect to each other.
The fact of being in this financial instability, makes them more conscious, less confident about future even open and humanistic in their approach.
Significant differences in the way people are looking at and thinking about the diversity in the organisation
The ‘us’ and ‘we’ was always present in the statements of the administrative person – which gives the sense of an overview reflecting the personal into the collective reality of the organisation. The trainer was more concentrated in her personal situation (way of hiring, experience as teacher, etc) although positive issues were mentioned in her relation with the people of the organisation.
Arrangements and power relations
Even that the ‘us’ was constantly stated, there were references on personal background [working class, prejudices and ignorance ,family relations, etc]
The verbs used to describe the intercultural practice were also reflected positive emotions and the familiarity articulated from both of the sides: the migrants and the staff involved in the activities.
Motives and motivations to work on diversity policy in the organisation
Non-hierarchical references were stated. It was also obvious that the persons had a dynamic way of expressing their opinion and were active listeners of their peers. References on democratic ways of decision making were also in their words.
Possible benefits for the learners
- Inclusive attitude. The learners become part of the inclusive mentality of the organisation and the society. They are practicing inclusion themselves as well.
- Wish to offer and sharing. Due to small size of the organisation, the learners are actively participating in all stages, supporting preparation and taking part in the organisation of events voluntary. In that way they put in practice what they have learnt, explaining or providing assistance to new comers.
- Open adult education as an opportunity to everyone.
What is the learners’ perspective?
CYCLISIS is an open , friendly and welcoming setting . People feel comfortable and wish to be there. From the point of the learners “setting the stage” for change is a complex situation: refugees are in Greece without a permanent status. As concerning further financial situation is still an issue for participation
What’s in it for the learners?
A place to be (learning, networking, cultural open expression)
Stage of the organisation
|7. intercultural organisation|
|6. intercultural diversity management|
|5. cross-cultural HRM policy|
|4. inflow of migrant workers|
|3. intercultural service management|
|2. service to migrants|
|1. monocultural organization|
Scroll over then names of the stages to get a definition of them
- My organisation has migrants among its clients.
- In my organization an intercultural training has been done aimed at improving sales to migrants.
- My organisation has a policy aimed at improving sales or services to migrants.
- My organisation employs (a) migrant worker(s).
- My organisation has a policy aimed at the influx of migrant workers.
- In my organisation there has been an intercultural training on how to improve intercultural cooperation or leadership.
- My organisation has an intercultural personnel policy.
- In my organisation, intercultural policy is a natural part of diversity policy.
- In my organisation, intercultural policy is a natural part of general quality policy with regard to sales/service provision and personnel.
CYCLISIS has a strong understanding on what diversity means and what is the value to be open and diverse. There is still a lot of work to be done since the organisation is settled in a monocultural ( societal) environment with a lot of socio economic constraints where is a challenge to introduce such openminded strategies. Step by step this intercultural approach is built due to the main activities funded by EU projects. The persons involved as paid staff or volunteers reflect this organisation mentality in their cooperation with clients coming from migrant associations to which CYCLISIS keep close relations. CYCLISIS is a small horizontal organised organisation with a collectivistic leadership structure. Because it is too small to have a HRM department it is important to develop the missing link of cross-cultural HRM policy. It is important to develop this in away which suits to CYCLISIS as organisation, because now is diversity only in the mindset of the workers. When the workers leave, or change their mind crucial norms and values can be lost as well, that is the weakness of the organisation. It might be good to involve representatives of the migrant organisations in the network in the policy development of CYCLISIS to intensify the link between the organisations. Diversity is mainly reflected in the mindset which is important ground. Persons with migrant background are active representatives of their own associations and they cooperate to gain win win benefits for their association and CYCLISIS as separate structures. Even these associations want to keep their independence and they sign memorandum with CYCLISIS and any otther organisation they cooperate with ad hoc.
CYCLISIS is an organisation with a mission on the field working on solutions according to social exclusion. The organisation manage to bring people from different social stands, natives, and refugees in common activities. The activities are organised in cooperation with various peer institutions and settings, in order to allow visibility and the necessary convenience. The organisation focus on diversity policy. The institution considers itself to be a specialist in the field of diversity, refugees and migrants and acknowledges to have the know-how as an organisation working on diversity policy.
The visibility of the organisation (mission document, vision diversity) is sufficient. Also in terms of the use of communication tools that in terms of language are also aimed at reaching certain client groups.
Change and consequences
What is change here actually?
Change is a constant learning situation: there is willingness for a more effective outreach. A plan of action is recommended. Understanding the new situation of diversity policy, policy according to migration and refugees problems is needed. Using flexible ways to reach them is recommend. A constant reflection and out reaching work is necessary.
What does it mean for the education process?
Understanding the new situation – the needs and expectations of the target group and use flexible ways to motivate them learn. As new situation we consider any contextual or legislative changes occur in the field of migration and integration in Greece in macro or micro (community) level. Depending on the opportunities given in educational terms CYCLISIS is open to apply or even to expand services with the migrants together.
What does it mean for the management?
Listening and active involvement in the processes of daily circumstances . Be present. changing, following the challenges and reacting in favour of the inclusion and education for all- it also means that Management is ready to critically adopt new strategies.
What does it mean for the staff?
Discussion, sharing CYCLISIS provides training activities to all staff members who are sharing their learning to the rest of the staff and learners . Additionally CYCLISIS adopts problem solving strategies in a near peer mentoring framework. Being in cooperation with other organisations we learn from them on how they confront similar challenges and gain knowledge from the most experienced on that.
What does it mean for the learners?
Feel acceptable, feel respectful and feel of sharing in common.
What does it means for the organisation?
Constant reflection and outreach.
Recommendations which need implementation to reach the next stage of diversity policy are:
- An action plan to identify on which level and how to ensure cooperation with migrants in a more sustainable way and not based on circumstances only
- Providing information in native languages of the migrants so to facilitate access and outreach
- Networking in local level with peer and migrant organisations to learn form each other
- Constant training together with members of migrant organisations so to reach together the necessary intercultural empathy
What is the right approach for this way of changing?
Based on the colour model of De Caluwe & Vermaak6, which demonstrates colour thinking as an accessible expression of different change management traditions, we advise in this case a combination of the greenprint and the blueprint approach (a more a more rational and planned approach) for change, constant learning but with plan and action for more sustainable results. This brings people together in learning situations, in a learning process, to solutions that people find together. a more rational and planned approach.
Learning organisation, flexible in its approach and providing guidance and support to everyone involved. CYCLISIS is not in a vague social environment. It reflects the contextual and societal constraints and potentials. To overcome barriers and dominant mindsets, needs internal work with values and strategies to reach out the needs of the real people.
Commitment with Management and Staff
At the time being, the persons were consciously in commitment to continue practically in this direction. Depending the possibilities given.