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Introduction To Organizations (Businesses and Nonprofits)

Managing a successful organization (nonprofit or for-profit) -- or building up the health of an already established organization -- requires health, ongoing leadership and management, planning, product and service development, marketing and financial management. To carry out these practices in a healthy manner, it's important to first understand the basic "territory" in which these practices are carried out.

These practices are all "systems" that occur within the larger system of the organization. This is not academic talk -- this is a highly practical point to understand. To Truly understand and to be effective at these practices, it helps greatly if leaders, managers and employees have some basic understanding of the overall system of the organization, including its common dimensions, cultures and life cycles. Too often, this basic nature is not understood. Instead, people tend to focus only on the day-to-day events and then when problems occur, they don't see the big picture in order to resolve these problems for the long term. Consequently, they mistakenly focus on what's urgent, rather than on what's important --if you focus on what's important, you'll reduce what's urgent. (A useful Topic to review concurrent to this one, is Systems Thinking, Systems Tools and Chaos Theory.)

Sections of This Topic Include


Basic Definition of Organization
Begin at the Beginning       
Various Ways to Look at Organizations (Metaphors)
Two Basic Types of Organizations: For-Profit (Business) and Nonprofit       
Legal Forms and Traditional Structures Of Organizations      
Basic Dimensions in Organizations       
Unique Features About Each Organization     
Key Concepts in the Design of an Organization      
Organizational Culture And Changing Culture     
Basic Overview Of Organizational Life Cycles     

Principles and Practices of Organizational Design

Guidelines For Organizational Design     

Special Topics

Driving Forces And A New Organizational Paradigm      
Characteristics of New Nature Of Organizations     
New Organizational Structures      
Basic Overview of Nonprofit Organizations     
Various (and Sometimes Contrary) Perspectives     

Also See the Library's Blogs Related to Organizational Theory

In addition to the articles on this current page, see the following blogs which have posts related to Organizational Theories.

Library's Consulting and Organizational Development Blog
Library's Leadership Blog
Library's Nonprofit Capacity Building Blog
Library's Supervision Blog