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Networking and Development

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Networking is an application of system theory. The beauty of systems theory and its application in networking is represented by the rainbow. While there are only three primary colors (red, yellow, blue) there is a multiplication of colors when these link, interact, and overlap. I used this comparison in my reflection on the 25th anniversary of EDSA Revolution last month. Visit my other blog edsa lives on

Sharma (as cited in Philippine Journal of Public Administration Vol. XXXIV No. 1 January 1990) noted that the systems approach emphasizes wholeness first, then moves to the consideration of parts, including interaction among them, and between them and the whole. The systems theory, with its emphasis on holism, offers the promise of being an effective guide to management practice. The systems theory focuses on communication patterns and the transactions and relationships among parts.

As pointed out by Hartman (1970), the relationship among parts and the whole are of prime interest when considering the structure of a social system, This relationship is relatively stable. Sometimes, the relationship between systems is referred to as network. Ann Hartman (1970), as cited in Johnson (1995), noted that the systems theory is useful to social workers for it gives a means for conceptualizing linkages and relationships among seemingly different entities: individuals, families, small groups, agencies, communities, and societies. It notes similarities and differences among different classifications of systems. It aids social workers in considering both private troubles and public issues within the nurturing system and the sustaining system of a situation they are assessing.

Networking Enhances Development

The overlapping of various systems makes relationship complex. Since the systems theory gives prime importance to relationship, such overlap contributes to the dynamism of networking. Defined as development and maintenance of communication and ways of working together among people of diverse interests and orientations (Johnson, 1995), networking is a form of coordination. Thus, it is important to social administration. As part of the administrative function, Aldaba (1990) states, networking is necessary for the formation of a broad consensus and the promotion of collective action so that social transformation and genuine development can occur.

As viewed through the systems theory, networking is both a relationship among systems and a sub – system in itself. In this sense, it affects the development of each system while it is also being affected by other sub systems that compose the whole. In like manner, networks and member NGOs work as a system operating collaboratively in order to address the pressing issues and concerns related to development of people. Each NGO, therefore, works as a “component unit” and, as such, affects each other, so that a modification of one NGO will stimulate corresponding change on other NGOs and the network, in general.

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