Helping People Help Themselves : Toward a Theory of Autonomy-Compatible Help

Show simple item record

collection.link.5
https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/9
collection.name.5
Policy Research Working Papers
dc.contributor.author
Ellerman, David
dc.date.accessioned
2014-08-20T19:37:01Z
dc.date.available
2014-08-20T19:37:01Z
dc.date.issued
2001-10
dc.date.lastModified
2021-04-23T14:03:43Z
dc.description.abstract
If development is seen basically as autonomous self-development, then there is a subtle paradox in the whole notion of development assistance: How can an outside party ("helper") assist those undertaking autonomous activities (the "doers") without overriding, or undercutting their autonomy? This conundrum is the challenge facing a theory of autonomy-compatible development assistance - that is, helping theory. Starting from a simple model of non-distortionary aid, the author explores several themes of a broader helping theory, and shows how these themes arise in the work of "gurus" in different fields - John Dewey in pedagogy and social philosophy, Douglas McGregor in management theory, Carl Rogers in psychotherapy, Soren Kierkegaard in spiritual counseling, Saul Alinsky in community organizing, Paulo Freire in community education, and Albert Hirschman, and E.F. Schumacher in economic development. That such diverse thinkers in such different fields, arrive at very similar conclusions, increases confidence in the common principles. The points of commonality are summarized as follows: 1) Help must start from the present situation of the doers. 2) Helpers must see the situation through the eyes of the doers. 3) Help cannot be imposed on the doers, as that directly violates their autonomy. 4) Nor can doers receive help as a benevolent gift, as that increases dependency. 5) Doers must be in the driver seat. One major application of helping theory is to the problems of knowledge-based development assistance. The standard approach is that the helper, a knowledge-based development agency, has the "answers", and disseminates them to the doers. This corresponds to the standard teacher-centered pedagogy. The alternative under helping theory is the learner-centered approach. The teacher plays the role of midwife, catalyst, and facilitator, building learning capacity in the learner-doers, so that they can learn from any source, including their own experience. Development assistance is further complicated by the local, or tacit nature of much relevant knowledge. A knowledge-based development agency might function better, not simply as a source of knowledge, but as a broker connecting those who face problems with those in similar situations, who have learned to address the problems. Changing to the approach of helping theory, entails changing the helping agency itself, transforming it into an organization that fosters learning internally, as well as externally - as in a university, where professors engage in learning, and foster learning in students, but the organization does not adopt official views on the complex questions of the day. This means fostering competition in the marketplace of ideas within the organization, and taking a more Socratic stance with clients, who will then have to take responsibility for, and have ownership of their decisions.
en
dc.identifier
http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/2001/10/1615019/helping-people-help-toward-theory-autonomy-compatible-help
dc.identifier.uri
http://hdl.handle.net/10986/19514
dc.language
English
dc.language.iso
en_US
dc.publisher
World Bank, Washington, DC
dc.relation.ispartofseries
Policy Research Working Paper;No. 2693
dc.rights
CC BY 3.0 IGO
dc.rights.uri
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/igo/
dc.subject
ACCIDENTS
dc.subject
ADVERSE CONSEQUENCES
dc.subject
AID
dc.subject
AID AGENCIES
dc.subject
CLASSICAL ECONOMICS
dc.subject
COMPREHENSIVE DEVELOPMENT
dc.subject
COMPREHENSIVE DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK
dc.subject
CONSUMER CHOICE
dc.subject
COUNSELING
dc.subject
CROWDING
dc.subject
DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE
dc.subject
DEVELOPMENT ECONOMICS
dc.subject
DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS
dc.subject
DEVELOPMENT POLICY
dc.subject
DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
dc.subject
DONOR AGENCIES
dc.subject
ECONOMIC ANALYSIS
dc.subject
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
dc.subject
ECONOMIC RESOURCES
dc.subject
ECONOMIC THEORY
dc.subject
ECONOMICS LITERATURE
dc.subject
ECONOMISTS
dc.subject
EMPATHY
dc.subject
EXCHANGE RATES
dc.subject
EXTERNAL INCENTIVES
dc.subject
EXTREME POVERTY
dc.subject
EXTRINSIC INCENTIVES
dc.subject
HABITS
dc.subject
INCOME
dc.subject
INCOME EFFECT
dc.subject
INSURANCE
dc.subject
INTERVENTION
dc.subject
LEARNING
dc.subject
MORAL HAZARD
dc.subject
MORAL HAZARD PROBLEMS
dc.subject
MOTIVATION
dc.subject
OPTIMIZATION
dc.subject
PEDAGOGY
dc.subject
POLICY RESEARCH
dc.subject
PSYCHOLOGY
dc.subject
PSYCHOTHERAPY
dc.subject
SUBSTITUTION EFFECT
dc.subject
SUPPLY CURVE
dc.subject
THINKING
dc.title
Helping People Help Themselves : Toward a Theory of Autonomy-Compatible Help
en
okr.crosscuttingsolutionarea
Jobs
okr.date.disclosure
2001-10-31
okr.doctype
Publications & Research :: Policy Research Working Paper
okr.doctype
Publications & Research
okr.docurl
http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/2001/10/1615019/helping-people-help-toward-theory-autonomy-compatible-help
okr.globalpractice
Education
okr.globalpractice
Social Protection and Labor
okr.globalpractice
Governance
okr.googlescholar.linkpresent
yes
okr.identifier.doi
10.1596/1813-9450-2693
okr.identifier.externaldocumentum
000094946_01110204025051
okr.identifier.internaldocumentum
1615019
okr.identifier.report
WPS2693
okr.language.supported
en
okr.pdfurl
http://www-wds.worldbank.org/external/default/WDSContentServer/WDSP/IB/2001/12/11/000094946_01110204025051/Rendered/PDF/multi0page.pdf
en
okr.topic
Health Monitoring and Evaluation
okr.topic
Economic Theory and Research
okr.topic
Education :: Educational Sciences
okr.topic
Public Sector Development :: Decentralization
okr.topic
Health Economics and Finance
okr.topic
Social Protections and Labor :: Labor Policies
okr.topic
Development Economics and Aid Effectiveness
okr.unit
Office of the Senior Vice President, Development Economics (DECVP)
okr.volume
1

Show simple item record



This item appears in the following Collection(s)