By structure, we mean the framework around which the group is organized, the underpinnings which keep the coalition functioning. It’s the operating manual that tells members how the organization is put together and how it works. More specifically, structure describes how members are accepted, how leadership is chosen, and how decisions are made.
- Structure gives members clear guidelines for how to proceed. A clearly-established structure gives the group a means to maintain order and resolve disagreements.
- Structure binds members together. It gives meaning and identity to the people who join the group, as well as to the group itself.
Elements of Structure
While the need for structure is clear, the best structure for a particular coalition is harder to determine. The best structure for any organization will depend upon who its members are, what the setting is, and how far the organization has come in its development.
Regardless of what type of structure your organization decides upon, three elements will always be there. They are inherent in the very idea of an organizational structure.
- Some kind of governance
- Rules by which the organization operates
- A distribution of work