Common Characteristics of an Organization Paper

7 July 2016

Organizations have things in common but they are not all alike. Whether they are work organizations or non-profit organizations, they do share common characteristics. These characteristics include a system, rules, roles, hierarchy, norms, similarity, status, networks, and organizational culture. I have been given the chance to work in both types of organizations, but the one I see more of these characteristics shine through is the non-profit organization I’ve volunteered at for almost 10 years now.

The Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) is a grassroots organization, which started for the Armenian youth by the youth in the diaspora to build a better bridge with the homeland. It also strives to advance the goals for a free, independent and united Armenia. The organization, as a whole, is made up of individuals all over the world with each different country having their own chapter. On the west coast of the United States there are 14 different chapters, the Hollywood chapter being one of them, my chapter. Our chapter is made up of youth living in the Hollywood/Los Angeles area.

Common Characteristics of an Organization Paper Essay Example

Culture is a huge part of this non-profit because that is the basis and the platform it was started on. It is a cultural organization where the youth comes together to work together in an effort to achieve positive goals for the community. Since the organization is based on the Armenian culture, it brings in many different aspects like tradition and other norms of the Armenian society. “Understand the culture to understand the organization,” states Edgar Schein, the noted MIT professor of organizational development and culture.

Culture permeates your company and defines what you and your organization stand for. ” (Burley, Demand Media) The AYF has members who have learned the norms of the organization from their own families and their own Armenian surroundings. Rules and systems are two important concepts to this theory, which are the same two concepts important to the organization this group is apart of. The communication theory, which explains this group the best, would be Structuration Theory, “the general framework that explains how people structure their groups by making active use of rules and resources.

” (Beebe & Masterson, p. 44) Individuals just joining the group, already have a set out system in which all the rules and procedures of meetings are written out and available for reference. Each individual is taught these rules through educationals and through hands on experiences working as a team. The organizations system for each chapter was to have a group of members with an executive body, who would be in charge of that group and their activities throughout the year. There needed to be a chair, secretary, and treasurer for the chapters to be functioning.

Each position was essential to a functioning chapter. Without a strong chairperson, leadership would fail in the chapter. Without an organized secretary, none of the records and work of the chapter would be achieved as well as the treasury. This organization is marked by the process by which they collect, manage, and use information. The organization plays into both informal and formal norms, inside of meetings and out. Since the group members age from 18-26, the young members are just learning about the ways an organization work so a lot of informal norms do play into a lot of the meetings.

In a way, it’s better for the chapters to have informal meetings at times because all members feel more comfortable to participate and speak up. Of course, from those informal meetings there come the formal meetings where members hold meetings with higher up organizational members to discuss future goals and plans for the organization. Communication with the organization higher central executive body and the members is formal through emails and the Nexus which is the Internet community built for all members to use and stay in touch.

On that Nexus, we can read all correspondence that is sent to us by the central executive, which includes updates on organizational work and community events. There are also chat rooms where members can communicate with one another, more on an informal basis because it is just a chat. All correspondence between chapters and central executive is formal. That way, the organization is taken more seriously not only among the members but also with the rest of the community.

Hierarchy within the organization is present and is essential for all work to get completed. The AYF has two central executives for the United States chapters, one on the West coast and one on the East. Above them there is the executive of our father organization, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), which have members from the age of 26 and up. Although we are essentially two different organizations, we are all have the same platform and the AYF needs to work with the ARF to have final approval on certain things we would like to do.

For example, the AYF cannot plan a protest without the approval of the ARF they will need to make sure that the protest is beneficial for the community and the nation. The central executive of the AYF has their own agenda that is different from the ARF and in turn works off that agenda with the rest of the chapter executives. Each chapter has as mentioned above that consists of a chairperson, secretary, and treasure. Some chapters, depending on the number of members, have advisors on their executive body. Each member in the organization has the same power and is treated the same, no member has a higher power then the rest.

The only difference with this executive body is to make sure that the work within the organization is getting done and all members have a voice and are participating. The executive body usually assigned responsibilities within the chapter, as they wanted to make sure that each member had a task to complete. Members from here would take on the responsibility of that task and complete it before the deadline. Of course, there were members who were not as active as other members, which caused a lot of unfinished work within the group.

I was faced with a lot of problems with my membership when I was the chair of the Hollywood chapter. Working with members who lacked communication and dedication, made it very difficult to complete almost any task given to the chapter. When facing these problems, it was very hard to not take on every single responsibility because the organization was a learning experience for everyone. If one member failed to do a task, another member was to show them how to complete the task, not do it themselves. If they decided to leave, then the executive body would assign the task to someone else.

Responsibility for seeing that these functions are performed rests, on the whole, with the group leader, but each group member also has responsibility to support the leader, to improve their personal group-work skills, and to help the group achieve the best results possible. Which leads us to the discussion of leadership and management in the organization. The chairperson is sought to be the leader of each chapter. They are there to lead the chapter and direct them towards the goals of the organization. They are also the people who members look up to for inspiration and advise.

The chairperson has to set a good example to the rest of the chapter, as they will be the ones who are representing their chapter. A member wouldn’t want to be apart of a chapter that has a chairperson they don’t like or respect. This chairperson and executive body also teaches the membership about the rules and norms of the organization and other organization skills that members can take and use outside like at their own jobs. Each chapter faces their own problems and each has their own way of dealing with them.

When members do not show up to meetings or lack participation with the chapter, the executive has three steps to follow. The first two is to contact the member and personally ask them to be present at the next meeting. If the member fails to be present, the third step is to send out a self defense, which is a formal meeting with the executive and that member to discuss the next steps of their membership and determine if that member should be kicked out of the organization or not. When facing issues with the chapter, the executive needs to give their membership a chance to voice out their suggestions and their concerns.

With that feedback, the executive will need to work together to come up with the solution and take it back to the chapter to vote on. This brings transparency within the organization and chapter members. The Hollywood chapter meets in the city of Los Angeles right in Little Armenia, and this environment influences our chapter much more then any other chapter. Members know the importance of the chapter especially that they are in the part recognized as Little Armenia. Putting together cultural and community events creates a stronger organization for the AYF.

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