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Range of Types of Transnational Organizations


The Nature of Organization in Transnational Networks (Part #2)


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The purpose of this section is to review some of the dimensions that complicate transnational organization and the isolation of neatly-characterized actors. In the next section attention is concentrated on conventionally defined actors, but the suggestion is that many statements applicable to them are also applicable to styles of organization thigh are somewhat arbitrarily distinguished from them.

1. Styles of organization. There are many factors that determine the manner in which different functions are associated with particular styles in a wide range of possibilities of organization. An attempt at isolating some different styles is presented in Table 1. One example of how a need satisfied by a conventional organization may also be satisfied by a functional equivalent in the Table is the case of a "subscribership" . In one setting it might be necessary to have interaction between members via an organization, whereas in another the need for such interaction may be satisfied by a journal to which the individuals can subscribe.

Another example is the case of an agreement that would-be considered a hyper-formal organization. In one setting a written or verbal agreement may satisfactorily regulate relations between members, whereas in another an equivalent agreement may have to be administered by a secretariat - i.e., an organization. Where formal agreement is not possible, an organization may even perform the necessary mediating or negotiating functions between members. A final example is the case of a meeting, and particularly large regular meetings, in a series. In terms of activity, this may be more significant than a small normally constituted organization.

The first-consequence of concentrating attention on conventional organizations is that functional equivalents, particularly in other cultures, are excluded from the analysis, thus introducing a cultural bias and jeopardising the success of comparative analysis. The second consequence is that even within a particular culture an "organizational analysis" will exclude many styles of organization performing functions that mesh with those of the organizations isolated, thus rendering the analysis incomplete. A complicating-feature is that a conventional organization may, for example, perform functions for a "membership" but at the same time may produce a periodical which serves as the focal point for a "subscribership" which is not coterminous with the membership.

A further complicating feature derives from the dynamics of a social system in that the growth or decay of a particular organization form may be accompanied by transference of functions to another organization form, for example, due to changes in technology. The ability to accomplish this transference may be hindered by inertial features such as vested interests identifying with a particular pattern of organization.

Table I: Tentative Qualification of Different Styles of Organization (Networks)
H = High; M = Medium; L = Low

.

Involvement

Formality

Ephemerality

Activity as Members

Conventional Membership

L/H

H

L

M

Ad Hoc

H

M

H

H

Meeting in a Series

H

H

M

M

On-Off Meeting

H

H

H

H

Demonstration

H

L

H

H

Be- In

H

L

H

L

Movements

H

L

L

M

Campaign

H

M

M

H

Invisible College

M

L

L

L

Primary Groups

L/H

L

L

H

Belief-ship

L

L

L

L

Spectator -ship

H

L

H

L

Subscribership

L

L

M

L

Listenership

M

L

H

L

Consumership (Material Goods)

M

L

M/H

M/H

Employeeship

H

H

L

H

information Systems

H

M

L

M

Agreement

H

H

L

L

 

2. Governmental / Nongovernmental dimension. The concept of a "nongovernmental" organization is an extremely difficult one to handle satisfactorily. The definition at the international level derives from a compromise wording in the early days of the United Nations but is based on a concept of "governmental" not on any clear understanding of what is "nongovernmental", whether profit-making or nonprofit. The current crisis in INGO-UN relations is in part due to the. fact that the Western concept of a nongovernmental organization is not questioned. The grey area between governmental and nongovernmental is illustrated in Table 2.

Table II: Governmental-Nongovernmental Dimension

a

Administration of an intergovernmental agreement Ministerial level organization Joint military command Technical agency

b

Corps diplomatique Inter-Parliamentary Union Ententes cordiales Bilderberg Group

c

International Air Transport Association International Secretariat for Volunteer Service INTERPOL International Union of Official Travel Organizations

d

NGOs with governments as members (e.g., International Council of Scientific Unions) Intersect or Mixed organizations Government technical people in INGOs (in unofficial capacities) INGOs administered by officials on government payrolls INGOs receiving office space or facilities from governments INGOs funded by governments

e

INGOs specifically aligned with a political party 'Peoples organizations' in the Marxist sense International political parties International organizations of political parties Front organizations

f International revolutionary organizations Liberation movements Assembly of Captive European Nations
g

National governmental agencies with international programs (e.g., U.S. Peace Corps, U.S. Department of Defense) Secret services (e.g., American CIA, Russian KGB)

h

Inter-governmental enterprises (e.g., Eurofima and Eurochemic) Multinational enterprises with governmental shareholders

i Transnational bodies to which state churches report (e.g., Vatican)

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