All talk about organizations relies on abstract conceptions, using words and their meanings, to make sense systematically of our experience and observations of people doing things together. A great deal of organizational life can be described and, more importantly, sometimes even understood, predicted, and influenced, with abstract ideas about structure and culture. While there is no universal agreement or consistency in definitions of structural and cultural aspects of community organizations, grassroots organizers have some common usage and understandings. Structural features of organization are formal, inflexible (except under special conditions and procedures), created and maintained by documentation, and contingency-centred: they set responsibilities, formal rights, and rewards or punishments on which individual behaviour or group action is contingent. The structure is adopted “officially,” by explicit decision, on the basis of known rules and procedures. It determines how the organization is supposed to operate and for what purposes. Usually we mean by organizational culture those features that are informal, flexible (but often long-lived), created and maintained by word-of-mouth, and ideology-centred: they define good and bad, winning and losing, friends and enemies, etc. The cultural definitions of people, circumstances, events, objects, facts, processes, information, and so on, are essential for organizational decisions and movement.
GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF CULTURE & STRUCTURE
Structural Features Cultural Features Contingency-centred Ideology-centred Formal Informal Fixed Flexible Documented...