Advertisement

A Field Guide to Organizations “In the Wild:” Moving Beyond Restrictive Organization Theory for Associations

  • Jordi Comas
Chapter
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)

Abstract

Too often, organization theory is used to restrict what counts, or doesn’t, as an organization. Scholarship over focuses on contrasting them to formalized bureaucracies. Our approach differs. We begin by noting that we now have a much deeper and richer set of studies of all manner of associations. We use the rich portfolio of studies of community, organizations, and associations to first observe and categorize what associations are doing to organize. With this data in hand, we revisit organization theory for associations. First, we find several important categories including task-oriented, embedded, vertically-linked, democratic, and network forms of associational organization. Second, we use these categories to enhance organizational theory to include the roles of technology, of normative commitments, of institutional pressures, and finally of local history to create enduring contexts for organizational forms.

Keywords

Associations Organizational theory Non-bureaucratic organizations Community of limited liability Division of labor in organizations 

Bibliography

  1. American City Corporation, & Greater Hartford Process. (1972). The greater hartford process. Hartford: Greater Hartford Process, Inc.Google Scholar
  2. Anheier, H. K. (2005). Nonprofit organizations. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Ashkenas, R., Ulrich, D., Jick, T., & Kerr, S. (2002). The boundaryless organization. Facilities, 20(10), 350–350. https://doi.org/10.1108/f.2002.20.10.350.3CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barton, A. H. (1969). Communities in disaster; A sociological analysis of collective stress situations. Garden City, NY: Anchor/Doubleday.Google Scholar
  5. Berger, P. L., & Neuhaus, R. J. (1996). To empower people. From state to civil society (2nd ed.). Washington, D.C.: AEI Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bloomfield, K. (1994). Beyond sobriety: The cultural significance of Alcoholics Anonymous as a social movement. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 23(1), 21–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Calhoun, C. (1992). The infrastructure of modernity. Indirect social relationships, information technology, and social integration. In H. Haferkamp & N. J. Smelser (Eds.), Social change and modernity (pp. 205–236). Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  8. Chen, K. T. (2009). Enabling creative chaos. The organization behind the burning man event. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Clegg, S., & Lounsbury, M. (2008) Weber: Sintering the iron cage translation, domination, and rationality. In P. Adler (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of sociology and organization studies: Classical foundations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Comas, J., Shrivastava, P., & Martin, E. C. (2015). Terrorism as formal organization, network, and social movement. Journal of Management Inquiry, 24(1), 47–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cornforth, C. (2011). Nonprofit governance research: Limitations of the focus on boards and suggestions for new directions. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 0899764011427959.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0899764011427959.
  12. Couto, R. A. (1999). Making democracy work better. Mediating structures, social capital, and the democratic prospect. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  13. de Tocqueville, A. (2004). Democracy in America (A. Goldhammer, Trans.). NY: Library of America.Google Scholar
  14. Deng, D. (n.d.). The challenge of partnership in food security programs in Zambia, Malawi, and Madagascar. In J. Cilliers & R. Gulick (Eds.), The CRS social justice lens. Reflections on justice, solidarity, and peacebuilding in CRS programming (pp. 40–47). http://www.crsprogramquality.org/storage/agriculture/8%20BXW.pdf. Accessed November 13, 2016.
  15. DiMaggio, P., and Powell, W. (1988). The iron cage revisited. In C. Milofsky (Ed.), Community organizations. Studies in resource mobilization and exchange (pp. 77–99). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Dobusch, L., & Schoeneborn, D. (2015). Fluidity, identity, and organizationality: The communicative constitution of anonymous. Journal of Management Studies, 52(8), 1005–1035.  https://doi.org/10.1111/joms.12139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Etzioni, A. (1994). The spirit of community: The reinvention of American society. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  18. Feeney, S. C. (1998). Authority dilemmas in a multi-tiered governance structure. New Haven, CT.: Program on nonprofit Organizations, Yale University, Cases in nonprofit Governance CNG #22.Google Scholar
  19. Ganz, M. (2005). National purpose, local action. Organizational effectiveness of Sierra Club groups and chapters. Project report. Cambridge, MA: Kennedy School of Government.Google Scholar
  20. Green, T., & Woodrow, P. (1994). Insight and action. How to discover and support a life of integrity and commitment to change. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers.Google Scholar
  21. Gould, R. V., & Fernandez, R. M. (1989). Structures of mediation: A formal approach to brokerage in transaction networks. Sociological Methodology, 19, 89–126.  https://doi.org/10.2307/270949.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gouldner, A. W. (1954). Patterns of industrial bureaucracy. Glencoe, I11: Free Press.Google Scholar
  23. Harris, M. (1998). Doing it their way: Organizational challenges for voluntary associations. NVSQ, 27(2), 144–158.Google Scholar
  24. Harris, M. (2014). Organizational challenges of community associations: Applying nonprofit research to real world problems. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hunter, A. (1993). National federations: The role of voluntary organizations in linking macro and micro orders in civil society. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 22(2), 121–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hunter, A. D. (1974). Symbolic communities. The persistence and change of Chicago’s local communities. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  27. Hunter, A. D., &z Suttles, G. (1972). The expanding community of limited liability (Chap. 3). In G. Suttles (Ed.), The social construction of communities (pp. 44–81). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  28. Keck, M. E., & Sikkink, K. (1998). Activists beyond borders. Advocacy networks in international politics. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Kretzmann, J. P., & McKnight, J. (1993). Building communities from the inside out: A path toward finding and mobilizing a community’s assets. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University, Institute for Policy Research, Asset-Based Community Development Institute.Google Scholar
  30. Jeavons, T. H. (1994). When the bottom line is faithfulness: Management of Christian service organizations. Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Janowitz, M. (1967). The Social Dimensions of the Local Community. In The Community Press in an Urban Setting. The Social Elements of Urbanism (2nd Edition, pp. 195–213). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  32. Lee, C. (2015). Do-it-yourself democracy: The rise of the public engagement industry. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  33. LeRoux, K., & Feeney, M. K. (2015). Nonprofit organizations and civil society in the United States. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  34. Lewis, D. (2007). The management of non-governmental development organizations (2nd ed.). Milton Park, UK, and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. Mckee, C., & Bacon, N. (2015). Metropolitan Hartford: Regional challenges and responses. Confronting urban legacy: Rediscovering Hartford and New England’s forgotten cities (pp. 236–257). Lanham: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  36. McKelvey, B. (1997). Perspective—Quasi-natural organization science. Organization Science, 8(4), 351–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. McKnight, J., & Block, P. (2010) The abundant community: Awakening the power of families and neighborhoods. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; Chicago: American Planning Association.Google Scholar
  38. Mead, L. (1991). The once and future church. Reinventing the congregation for a new mission frontier. Bethesda, MD: Alban Institute.Google Scholar
  39. Merton, R. K. (1952). Reader in bureaucracy. Glencoe, I11: Free Press.Google Scholar
  40. Messer, J. G. (1994). Emergent organization as a practical strategy: Executing trustee functions in alcoholics anonymous. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 23(4), 293–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Michels, R. (1949). Political parties. Glencoe, IL: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  42. Milofsky, C. (1988). Structure and process in community self-help organizations. In C. Milofsky (Ed.), Community organizations. Studies in resource mobilization and exchange (pp. 183–216). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Milofsky, C. (1997). Organization from community. A case study of congregational renewal. Program on nonprofit Organizations Working Paper #229. New Haven: Program on nonprofit Organizations, Yale University. Also, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 26(Supplemental), S139–S160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Milofsky, C. (2008a). How doctors act. The medical community as a network organization. In Smallville. Institutionalizing community in twenty-first century America (pp. 108–122). Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England.Google Scholar
  45. Milofsky, C. (2008b). Organizational phoenix. Fighting the incinerator (Chap. 3). In Smallville. Institutionalizing community in twenty-first century America. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England.Google Scholar
  46. Milofsky, C. (2008c). The episcopal diocese as a mediating structure (Chap. 9). In Smallville. Institutionalizing community in twenty-first century America (pp. 161–182). Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England.Google Scholar
  47. Milofsky, C. (2008d). Filling a structural hole. A religious program for delinquents helps the schools and the courts (Chap. 8). In Smallville. Institutionalizing community in twenty-first century America. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England.Google Scholar
  48. Milofsky, C., & Green, B. Q. (2015). Chaining and virtual organization in a slow sociological project: The Brown Ridge School District Health Needs Assessment becomes the Central Susquehanna Affordable Care Act Project. Applied Sociology, 9(2), 170–181.Google Scholar
  49. Neal, D. M., & Phillips, B. D. (1995). Effective emergency management: Reconsidering the bureaucratic approach. Disasters, 19(4), 327–337.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-7717.1995.tb00353.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Neubeck, K. J., & Ratcliff, R. E. (1988). Urban democracy and the power of corporate capital: Struggles over downtown growth and neighborhood stagnation in Hartford, Connecticut. Business Elites and Urban Development, 299–332.Google Scholar
  51. New World Foundation. (1980). Initiatives for community self-help: Efforts to increase recognition and support. New York: New World Foundation.Google Scholar
  52. Pearce, J. (1993). Volunteers. The organizational behavior of unpaid workers. London, New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  53. Piven, F. F., & Cloward, R. A. (1979). Poor people’s movements. Why they succeed, how they fail. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  54. Powell, W. W (1990). Neither market nor hierarchy: Network forms of organization. Research in Organizational Behavior, 12, 295–336.Google Scholar
  55. Putnam, R. D. (1997). Bowling alone: Democracy in America at century’s end. Journal of Democracy, 6(1), 65–79 (January 1995).Google Scholar
  56. Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. New York, London: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  57. Rothschild, J. (2016). Democratic decision-making in local organizations or deliberative democracy at the community level. In Authors’ Conference, Handbook of Local Organizations and Community Movements, Seattle, WA, August 16–19, 2016.Google Scholar
  58. Rothschild, J., & Whitt, J. A. (1986). The cooperative workplace. Potentials and dilemmas of organizational democracy and participation. ASA-Rose monograph series. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  59. Rothschild-Whitt, J. (1979). The collectivist organization: An alternative to rational-bureaucratic models. American Sociological Review, 44, 509–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Ryan, D. (2015). Ghosts of organizations past: Communities of organizations as settings for change. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  61. Sanchez-Jankowski, M. (1991). Islands in the street: Gangs and American urban society. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  62. Schneider, J. A. (2009). Organizational social capital and nonprofits. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 20, 1–19.Google Scholar
  63. Schneider, J. A. (2013). Comparing stewardship across faith-based organizations. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 42, 517–539.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Schneider, J. A., & Milofsky, C. (2012). Religious models of organization. Lessons on microstructure from the Faith and Organizations Project. Paper presented at the ARNOVA Research Conference, Indianapolis, IN, November 17–19.Google Scholar
  65. Scott, R. W. (1995). Institutions and organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.Google Scholar
  66. Shea, J. (2016). Building community resilience: Strategies communities can use to help recover from disasters. Presented at the Authors’ Conference for The Handbook of Community Movements and Local Organizations (2nd ed.), Seattle, WA, August 17–19, 2016.Google Scholar
  67. Sills, D. L. (1968). Voluntary associations. In D. L. Sills (Ed.), International encyclopedia of the social sciences (Vol. 16, pp. 363–379). New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  68. Skocpol, T. (2003). Diminished democracy. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.Google Scholar
  69. Stinchcombe, A. L. (1965). Social structure and organization. In J. March (Ed.), The handbook of organizations. Chicago: Rand McNally.Google Scholar
  70. Stinchcombe, A. L., & Smith, T. W. (1975). The homogenization of the administrative structure of American industries, 1940-1970. Chicago: National Opinion Research Center (unpublished paper).Google Scholar
  71. Sundeen, R. A. (1990). Citizens serving government. The extent and distinctiveness of volunteer participation in local public agencies. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Suttles, G. D. (1968). The social order of the slum. Ethnicity and territory in the inner city. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  73. Suttles, G. D. (1972). The social construction of community. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  74. Taylor, R. C. R. (1979). Free medicine. In J. Case & R. Taylor (Eds.), Coops, communes, and collectives (pp. 17–48). New York: Pantheon Books.Google Scholar
  75. Thompson, J. D. (1967). Organizations in action. New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  76. Titmuss, R. M. (1972). The gift relationship. From human blood to social policy. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  77. Tschirhart, M., & Bielefeld, W. (2012). Managing nonprofit organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Tsoukas, H., & Chia, R. (2002). On organizational becoming: Rethinking organizational change. Organization Science, 13(5), 567–582. https://doi.org/10.1287/orsc.13.5.567.7810CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Venkatesh, S. (2008). Gang leader for a day. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  80. Walsh, S. (n.d.). Leveraging non-governmental organizations for scale and impact: Lessons learned from the Crop Crisis Control Project. Catholic Relief Services Report. http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=CROP+crisis+control+project&ei=UTF-8&fr=moz2. Accessed November 13, 2016.
  81. Warner, W. L., & Lunt, P. S. (1941). The social life of a modern community. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  82. Warren, R. L. (1967). The interorganizational field as a focus for investigation. Administrative Science Quarterly, 12, 396–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Weber, M. (1958). The protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism. New York: Charles Scribner.Google Scholar
  84. Weber, M. (1978). Economy and society: An outline of interpretative sociology. Berkley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  85. Wheeldon, P. D. (1969). The operation of voluntary associations and personal networks in the political processes of an inter-ethnic community. In J. Clyde Mitchell (Ed.), Social networks in urban situations (pp. 128–180). Manchester: University of Manchester Press.Google Scholar
  86. Wilkinson, J. (2010). Personal communities: Responsible individualism or another fall for public (man)? Sociology, 44(3), 453–470.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Wirth, L. (1938). Urbanism as a way of life. American Journal of Sociology, 44, 3–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Wood, M. M. (1989). The governing board’s existential quandary: An empirical analysis of board behavior in the charitable sector. Program on nonprofit Organizations. PONPO Working Paper #143. New Haven, CT: Yale University.Google Scholar
  89. Woodward, J. (1965). Industrial organizations. Theory and practice. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  90. Zald, M. N. (1970). Organizational change: The political economy of the YMCA. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jordi Comas
    • 1
  1. 1.LewisburgUSA

Personalised recommendations