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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Citizenshift : investigating an organization that seeks to empower its membership through the provision of services Smith, Brian Wade


The rationale for pursuing this research and writing this thesis was to explore the possibilities for organizations that provide services to people with disabilities. Moreover, this thesis looks to inform a shift from a 'needs-based' or 'care-taking' model of service provision, to an empowering 'relationship-based' model. Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN) is studied as a case of an organization in the process of making this shift. From PLAN'S experience we learn that an empowerment modehrests on, what its leaders might call, a "Syllogism of Citizenship". This syllogism holds that 'If, relationship equals contribution; and, contribution equals citizenship; then, relationship equals citizenship.' PLAN shows us that this simple syllogism has powerful heuristic value when applied to organizational structure and when designing supportive and empowering services for people who are vulnerable to being isolated. The purpose of this research is to investigate, through a case study of one organization, the opportunities and barriers that can confront a co-operative membership-based organization which seeks to empower people toward full citizenship in the process of providing services to people with disabilities, and the strategies and structures that may be effective in response.

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