TITLE

DEFINING VOLUNTARY GROUPS AND AGENCIES WITHIN ORGANIZATION SCIENCE

AUTHOR(S)
Wilderom, Celeste P. M.; Miner, John B.
PUB. DATE
November 1991
SOURCE
Organization Science;Nov91, Vol. 2 Issue 4, p366
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
To regard voluntary organizations as unique manifestations of organizational behavior requires an accurate account of the nature of such work systems. This paper appraises existing definitions of the voluntary agency in the context of organization science and presents evidence for replacing the nonvoluntary/voluntary dichotomy with entrepreneurial, professional, and bureaucratic organizations, on the one hand, and two voluntary-organizational subtypes on the other: "voluntary groups," in which volunteers operate as a socio-technical unit, and "voluntary agencies," in which volunteers cooperate with paid personnel. Moreover, when paid staff is involved, some voluntary work contexts were found to take on characteristics of all three other organizational types to form a mixed pattern. Further tests of the relative distinctiveness of both subtypes vis-a-vis other organizational types and theories is proposed. The research yields certain guidelines for the design of true group-based organizational systems, thus extending knowledge in that area. It also provides an example of how research extending beyond the narrow confines of bureaucracy to the many other organizational forms known to exist might be conducted; such research is sorely needed to inform the practice of organizational design as a whole.
ACCESSION #
4434364

 

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