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Actionable Strategic Plan: World Wide Fund of Nature

The current work provides a detailed description of a public non-profit organization called the World Wide Fund of Nature. It is engaged in the conservation and protection of the environment. The organization was established in 1961 in Switzerland, and since then it has spread all over the world. The core mission of the company is prevention of environmental degradation and the development of strategies, which assure the harmonic existence of humanity and nature. Its purpose is to conserve ecological processes through close cooperation with other non-governmental organizations, businesses, and governments. This is realized with the help of different offices, which have their own structure. This paper discusses one of the examples of organizational structure. Several functions of the presented units need to be changed to avoid misunderstandings with other non-governmental institutions, which protect nature. The debate over the future agricultural sustainability strategies arose several years ago with the European Commission. This event determined that WWF should redefine its HR management, financing and budgeting, and leadership. A special plan and a set of recommendations are provided in the current work. They help better explain the guiding principles of the work of the organization, and advice to increase the interaction between the financial and planning units, improve critical analysis of organizational actions performed by leaders, encourage closer communication between leaders and followers, and disclose talents of the stakeholders to bring greater benefits for WWF.

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Overview and Description of the Chosen Organization

World Wide Fund of Nature (WWF) is a public non-profit organization, which aims to protect the species and natural resources (WWF, 2016a). To achieve their goal, the organization forces the establishment and realization of sustainable strategies in different locations all over the world. WWF closely cooperates with governments, communities, business corporations, and various non-governmental organizations (WWF, 2016a). The joint actions enable the introduction of more significant shifts in human relationships with flora, fauna, and natural resources.

The described organization was formed in 1961 by the world’s most prominent conservationists by signing the Morges Manifesto (WWF, 2016a). This document reflected their decision to establish “an international fundraising organization” under the name World Wide Fund of Nature (WWF, 2016a). The organization in cooperation with other establishments was obliged to provide financial assistance to conservative environmental movements all over the world.

Nowadays WWF is represented in more than 100 countries around the world (WWF, 2016a). Such broad representation enables the development and implementation of specific efforts to protect some particular species, and, at the same time, helps to exercise global strategies “to preserve biodiversity and achieve sustainable development across the planet” (WWF, 2016a). Thus, the described organization has different directions of work.

Mission Statement

The mission statement of the described public organization is to stop “degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature” (WWF, 2016a). This mission can be achieved through the realization of three strategies. The first one is reflected in the conservation of the biodiversity of the Earth (WWF, 2016b). The second is represented by the stipulation to decrease wasteful consumption and pollution of the environment. The last is the assurance of the sustainable use of renewable resources.

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Guiding Principles of WWF

The work of WWF is guided by its major principles. They were developed to achieve the organizational mission stated above. These principles are the following:

1. Work as a non-political organization independent from the effect of any institution and force on a global basis.

2. Critical analysis of environmental issues and their roots by applying the most prominent scientific knowledge.

3. Peaceful interaction with other institutions through the elimination of unnecessary debates and confrontations.

4. Aspiration to increase the effectiveness of work by the formation of partnerships with other non-governmental organizations, governments, communities, and businesses.

5. The synergy of “field based projects, policy initiatives, capacity building and education” with the concrete solutions for the environmental conservation (WWF, 2016a)

6. Planning and realization of local programs, involving the representatives of local communities. Careful and respectful attitude to local culture and economic necessities.

7. Cost-effective development and implementation of actions in the combination with the accountable use of donors’ funds.

Donors and Partners of WWF

The work of WWF depends on the financial support of its partners and donors. For example, the European branch of WWF obtained financial support from the following institutions in 2016, including WWF National offices, the Jenifer Altman Foundation, the MAVA Foundation, the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment, the Oak Foundation, and the European Climate Foundation (WWF, 2016b).

WWF is a member of various unions of non-governmental organizations. It is one of the members of Green 10, which is a coalition of non-governmental organizations engaged in the environmental protection in Europe (WWF, 2016b). The other members of this coalition are European Environmental Bureau, Health and Environmental Alliance, Climate Action Network Europe, Greenpeace Europe, Nature Friends International (WWF, 2016b). The described establishment is also the associate of the confederation of the European non-governmental organizations under the name Concord. This platform enables these organizations to join their actions in the protection of the environment through the interventions into the policies of developing countries (WWF, 2016b).

Purpose of the Chosen Organization

The major purpose of the described public organization is the conservation of the ecological processes and natural environment. WWF assures the long-lasting protection of flora, fauna, landscape processes, water, air, soil, natural resources and the overall environment by strengthening the community’s capacity, developing and realizing sustainable projects, and running conservative programs.

Structure of WWF

As mentioned previously, WWF is represented in numerous countries all over the world through the offices. The organizational structure of the Malaysian branch is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. The organizational structure of Malaysian branch (WWF, 2016b).

This chart shows that the organization consists of the following units: people and strategic operation; finance; international audit; planning, development, and monitoring; policy; education; program operations; conservation; marine; global initiatives; marketing, and communication.

Functioning of WWF

The described organization is “the independent foundation registered under Swiss law governed by a Board of Trustees under an International President” (WWF, 2016a). The institution under the name WWF International represents the secretariat of the global organization (WWF, 2016a). This institution is located in four hubs (WWF, 2016a). The secretariat fulfils a significant role of the coordinator of the WWF offices around the world. This is performed by designing organizational policies, setting its priorities, facilitating the formation of partnership relations with other institutions, organizing international campaigns, and providing financial and other assistance.

The local offices of the organization can be divided into two categories, such as national organizations and program offices (WWF, 2016a). The first category is represented by offices, which can raise sufficient funds for their work, i.e. they operate independently from other offices. The second category is represented by offices whose operations are directed by a national organization. Offices of both categories perform conservational activities, including development and realization of practical field projects, performance of scientific researches, improvement social awareness concerning environmental problems, facilitating the development and spread of environmental education, and consultation of governments (WWF, 2016a).

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The necessity of Strategic Change

Clear understanding that WWF requires strategic changes is based on the debate with the European Commission. The misunderstanding between WWF and EC arose on the future policies of sustainable agriculture. These policies enable countries to plan and target agricultural activities in such a manner that they will be able to feed themselves and decrease their dependence on other countries. Furthermore, the use of agricultural resources will be more efficient and overconsumption will be eliminated (European Commission, 2016). The EC’s propositions were directed on issue of food waste (FCRN, 2016). WWF sharply criticized such approach and required the development of relevant and grounded policies directed on addressing constantly increasing world food crisis through improved public awareness and food options (WWF, 2013). This policy should put an end to the food shortages and wastage, water and soil exhaustion (WWF, 2013). The debate was closed by the presentation of the new Common Agricultural Policy 2020 (DG Agriculture and Rural Development, 2016). CE took into account WWF’s critiques. The major objectives of the renewed policy include viable food production, balanced development of territories and sustainable management of resources (DG Agriculture and Rural Development, 2016).

This situation disclosed significant problems in WWF. The described debate contradicts one of the guiding principles of the organization that is reflected in the elimination of unnecessary confrontations. The discussed misunderstanding could be peacefully solved by a closer interaction with CE. This situation shows that the organization should change its strategic directions connected the interactions with other institutions, and reconsider its communication system.

The Plan of Actions

The plan of actions for WWF will concentrate on such elements of organizational performance as human resource management, budgeting and financial planning, and organizational leadership. This choice is based on the understanding that all of these components have direct and indirect effect on the described situation and on the further development of the non-governmental organization.

Such organizational units as people and strategic operations will represent human resource management direction. The major action plan is devoted to the change of employees’ perceptions concerning WWF’s values and working principles, methods of conducting business and interaction with other institutions. This can be achieved through the additional conversations between HR management and workers. Moreover, special trainings aimed to develop the interactional skills can be established. Their program has to be developed with the help of sociologists, psychologists, and managers, and approved by the head of this unit and by the conservative and executional director. These trainings can be conducted within three-month period once a week during the work time. These actions are specified in the below section. They are considered applicable, implementable and realistic. The last statement is based on the understanding that WWF in its structure already has units and employees with the specific knowledge and skills necessary for the realization of these recommendations. At the same time, such changes do not require significant financial resources or time to be implemented.

A second set of recommendations concerns the introduction of amendments connected to budgeting and financial management, particularly by improving the communication between the financial unit and the planning unit, development and monitoring. This recommendation can be realized by the establishment of special meetings for managers of these units where they will discuss the organizational strategies, actions, possible changes in them, and their financing. These meetings can be held once a week or when an issue appears. The introduced change is also considered relevant, implementable and realistic. WWF has the resources (i.e. offices) where these meetings can be organized. Furthermore, these meetings do not require sufficient finances or time.

The last part of the plan requires changes in the leadership strategy. These changes should concern all leaders of all departments of the discussed non-governmental organization. They should perform more precise assessment of actions and possible consequences of their departments and announcements in press. This can be realized during special meetings of leaders, managers of their departments and financial consultants. Such meetings should be performed twice a month or on a special occasion. The realization of this initiative also does not require sufficient time and resources.

Additionally, leaders should support employees and their desire to work in the non-profit organization engaged in the environmental protection. This support can be rendered during daily working process all year long in the form of appreciation of employees’ actions that reflect gratuitous assistance to other people and environment. This recommendation is easy to implement because it does not require sufficient time and resources.

Strategic Recommendations

The strategic recommendations are also connected with the functions noted above, i.e. human resource/personnel management, budgeting and financial management and organizational leadership. Amendment of different aspects of their functions will help address the identified strategic issue.

The first strategic recommendation is reflected in the improvement of human resource management. It is considered one of the most important factors of success of any organization. HR management forms a clear vision of the strategies and principles of work and factors, which are extremely valuable for the employer. The described issue showed that WWF has deficiencies in HR management because its employees did not fully understand the relevance of the peaceful cooperation with the European Commission and the need to avoid all open debates (i.e. debates disclosed by the press). That is why it is recommended to redefine the work of HR managers. The CEO should provide HR managers and employees of various units with clear understanding that WWF cooperates with various international organizations. All activities, financing and success of strategies developed by WWF depend greatly on the relationships with these organizations. Moreover, HR managers should make a greater emphasis on the development of such skills of employees as “curiosity, attentiveness, and the motivation to understand underpinning of others” (Ali, 2013, p. 81). These skills will be rather relevant when addressing the discussed issue and eliminating possible conflicts with other institutions.

The realization of organizational strategies and their effectiveness depend greatly on such factors as budgeting and sound financial management. The discussed issue showed that WWF might not support the initiatives of other organizations, i.e. it could not allocate its financial resources on the support of these initiatives, or change the extent of financing. That is why, the employees of the financial unit should be aware about the organizational directions and the extent of support of other non-governmental institutions. That is why, it is recommended to develop a strong channel of constant interaction between the financial unit, planning unit and communication unit. The realization of this recommendation would enable employees to obtain timely and accurate information (Kotloff & Burd, 2012). At the same time, it would help perform efficient changes in resource planning and spend more funds on other projects. As a result, the described non-governmental organization would achieve greater financial stability.

In this section, the major emphasis is made on providing recommendations to leaders of WWF. It is understood that leaders form a framework of the organizational performance. They are considered “a guiding light” to every employee in reaching organizational goals, realization of the strategies, and alignment with the core principles and mission (Pewitt, Weil, & McClure, 2011, p. 18). The followers “are looking to the leaders to communicate, collaborate, and set the course for the organization” (Pewitt, Weil, & McClure, 2011, p. 18). The open debate between WWF and EC covered by press showed that leaders approved the course of action aimed at confrontation with other organizations engaged in the environmental protection. The employees can be guided by these example and stipulate the formation of debates with other institutions. This can decrease the extent of financial support obtained by WWF and lower the effectiveness of its work. Thus, leaders should perform a precise analysis of the organizational critical announcements and actions, and predict their consequences. It is recommended to pay more attention to the improvement of social intelligence. Social intelligence reflects in a clear understanding of the social relationships and long-lasting aftermath (Yukl & Mahsud, 2010).

The leaders of any non-profit organization are highly influenced by such factor as the competition from other similar organizations to obtain financial assistance (Babatunde & Emem, 2015). This factor has an enormous influence on the organizational performance, as the amount of financing determines the scale of developed strategies and effectiveness of their realization. That is why it is extremely important to assure that every employee in the organization (including individuals who hold the leading positions) provides maximum value to the business (Babatunde & Emem, 2015). That means that they have to direct all their efforts, personal talents, and professional knowledge and skills on the creation and realization of sustainable ideas (Babatunde & Emem, 2015). These ideas should be directed on the high-quality realization of current programs, development of new solutions for the conservation and protection of the environment, and obtaining competitive advantage in getting the financial assistance from other non-governmental organizations. Thus, it is recommended to stipulate the development of personal talents of employees. This can be achieved through providing workers with clear understanding that their contribution to the organizational performance is highly valued and the extent of the provided benefits (financial and non-financial) depends to the value they add to reaching WWF’s goals.

The last recommendation is making an emphasis on the formation of the close interpersonal relationships between leaders and employees. This undermines social and emotional guidance and assistance of workers (Wakabo, 2013). Such assistance is extremely necessary in the non-financial organizations where the work of people is based on their desire to help the global society and protect the environment, instead of gaining personal enrichments. Leaders should support this internal desire during negotiations with their employees.

Conclusions

In conclusion, the current paper provides broad description of non-profit non-governmental public organization under the name World Wide Fund of Nature (WWF). This organization is engaged in the environment conservation and protection. They realize their mission by collecting funds for the development and implementation of global and local projects. The organization has numerous financial donors and closely cooperates with non-governmental institutions, governments and businesses for collecting these funds. WWF was formed in the middle of 20th century. Nowadays it has its offices in 100 countries all over the world. WWF has a set of guiding principles, which have to be strictly followed. They state that the organization should operate independently. The most prominent technologies should be used for the analysis of environmental issues. Local programs should be designated and realized in cooperation with the representatives of local communities. However, one of the major guiding principles is a close cooperation and avoidance of conflicts with other non-governmental organizations, business, governments, etc. This is extremely necessary for the smooth fund raise, development of effective environment conservation and protection programs, and their efficient realization. However, this principle is not always followed. This work disclosed the case of open debate with the European Commission, showing the misunderstanding with the organization and WWF’s critiques. This event shows that WWF has to implement some changes in its HR management, leadership, and financial strategies. The current work depicts precise plan of actions and recommendations to improve the situation. WWF should change its HR management. The core values and principles of work should be better introduced to the employees at all levels. WWF should also create a channel of direct communication between its planning unit and the unit of financial management and budgeting. This can be realized through weekly meetings. The major attention should be paid to the improvement of leadership styles. Leaders should better assess the organizational strategies and their long-lasting aftermath, stipulate the development of employees’ talents, which might add value to WWF, and closely interact and guide their workers.

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Remarks about Future of WWF

The implementation of the proposed recommendations will assure that WWF can build strong relationships with other organizations, businesses and governments. Thus, it will obtain stable financial support and will be able to realize its strategies effectively. The interaction between financial unit and planning unit will assure that funds are properly managed and allocated. The precise consideration of each possible step of WWF and its long-lasting consequences will help avoid conflicts with other institutions. The employees of WWF will introduce new ideas of environmental conservation. Thus, the organization will be able to protect nature more effectively.

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