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Integrating Individual and Organizational Well-being

How organizations can contribute to a healthier culture for social change

At a 2017 event hosted by The Wellbeing Project (TWP), Gabriela Gandel, executive director of the social entrepreneur network Impact Hub, expressed the need to address dysfunction and high rates of burnout across the social change sector, through the development of well-being at the organizational level. Her comments resonated with everyone in the room and led TWP to engage with hundreds of people who echoed a desire to learn how social change organizations can develop well-being initiatives.

We continue to hear a strong desire for greater organizational well-being in the social sector, but the need is also plain to see. Institutional dysfunction has been making headlines globally for years, most recently in a series of open letters to the board of Planned Parenthood. The letters outline how financial wrongdoing, abusive and discriminatory behavior, disregard for staff well-being and a culture of silence has resulted in the erosion of accountability toward the organization’s mission and values.

Staff at Amnesty International also reported a toxic work culture, following an investigation into two suicides of staff members in 2018. Staff said that a lack of trust, bullying, abusive power dynamics, favoritism, discrimination and secondary or vicarious trauma from the nature of their work contributed to high levels of stress. The investigation ultimately determined that organizational culture and management failures, coupled with unrealistic workloads, were the predominant cause of severely compromised staff well-being.

Please select this link to read the complete article from Stanford Social Innovation Review.

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