• Clinton Dix, Ed.D.

    The proposition of the article (…in the context of virtual stakeholder dialogue, organizations with structures characterized by high dispersion of control are more likely to have high organizational identification than organizations with structures characterized by low dispersion of control.) is interesting. However, I wonder how well we, as the nonprofit community, will be able to adequately deal with stakeholder voices. There are two areas of non profits that are affected here, governance and management. My comments will deal only with management.
    The proper use of the structures and processes proposed in the article require something beyond the traditional realm of management. Management, as an academic domain was originally built around traditional, hierarchical structures and mechanistic processes. As soon as we get outside of these historical contexts, management has problems dealing with these contexts. I am not proposing that the academic community of the management domain has not thought about these issues. They have. The problem, I think, lie within the practitioners who have been most likely trained in the old paradigm of management. The proposition of the article calls for structures and processes that flow outside of traditional organizational boundaries. The article was correct in saying that these structures and processes need to be “officialized” (called institutionalization in organizational science terminology) to be effective. But I propose that when a manager trained under the historical paradigm is confronted with this necessity, she/he will be stymied because she/he thinks that the lines of management need to be contained within the organizational chart and should end at the organizational boundary.

    With the rise of social enterprises, basically hybrid organizations, a focus on organizational science, the study of how different organizational types act and can be made effective, would be give nonprofits more leverage than a traditional focus on business, which is geared more toward for profit organizations. These new types of organizations, which can be highly instrumental in meeting the demands of our society, require staff who can see issues outside of the traditional business/management paradigm.

    The article presents very good advice on mechanisms for incorporating voices that are outside of the traditional boundaries of an organization. Thanks for sharing it.