A Relativist Conceptual Model for Assessing Multiple Stakeholders Perceived Needs

Friday, 20 July 2018

Matthew D. Ankers, BHSc (Hons), RN
College of Nursing and Health Sciences., Flinders University, Bedford Park, Australia


The proposed poster outlines a relativist conceptual model originally established to assess multiple stakeholders affected by Non-Government Organisation (NGO) services with disadvantaged children.


The conceptual model is informed by the findings of a literature review of 36 articles on the topic of NGO interventions with disadvantaged children in developing countries. The conceptual model relativist position is supported by social constructionism theory as outline in work by Patton (2015), Lincoln and Guba (2013) and Crotty (1998), adapted from the lead authors thesis.


The literature review highlighted a distortion between what the NGO perceives as needed for the child and what the child, family or even community perceived as needed or even desired by the child (see articles by Beazley & Miller 2016; Maconachie & Hilson 2016; Pells 2012 for examples). This is especially true for children receiving NGO services as literature regarding their views is either limited or completely missing. This is despite many examples from the literature of children demonstrating self-determining agency (see Beazley 2014 for example), and is a contradiction of the discourse of 'involving' or 'participatory' work of NGO's that includes the child in decision making. This led to the development of the conceptual model where the multiple stakeholders affected by NGO services would be considered as multiple realities with stakes in a shared interest.

The different stakeholder groups included the children, their guardians, graduates of the NGO services, the wider community and the NGO staff, with their shared interest being the children engaged with NGO services. The model adopted a relativist position by treating each defined stakeholder group as distinct, with each distinct group interviewed or surveyed to determine their common social reality (Patton 2015; Lincoln & Guba 2013; Crotty 1998). The interviewed and/or surveys used pre-determined questions regarding perceptions of need that are adjusted for the position of the group, relative to their stake in the shared interest. For example, the children receiving services were questioned regarding their wants and needs comparable to the parents who were questioned regarding their perceptions of the child's needs.

The data from each group is then thematically analyzed to produce common points of shared meaning and then compared between groups to determine where perceived needs align, where they diverge, and where common ground between the groups might be found. The conceptual model also suggests that where the community, family and the child views align, is representative of their shared culture and hence provides cultural input to NGO services.


It is the authors view that this conceptual model can be developed for similar situation where multiple stakeholders have a shared interest, and assist in the assessment of competing priorities towards more holistic and inclusive shared interests.