Introduction to Organizations (Businesses and Nonprofits)

Explanation of organizations and their dynamics are explained in the books Field Guide to Consulting and Organizational Development and Field Guide to Consulting and Organizational Development with Nonprofits .

© Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC.
Adapted from the Field Guide to Consulting and Organizational Development.

Managing a successful organization (nonprofit or for-profit) -- or building up the health of an already established organization -- requires healthy, 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.)

Sections of This Topic Include

Basics

Basic Definition of Organization (including some optional reading about systems thinking)
Begin at the Beginning
Various Ways to Look at Organizations (as systems, organisms, etc)
Two Basic Types of U.S. Business Organizations -- For-Profit and Nonprofit
Legal Forms and Traditional Structures of U.S. Businesses (for-profit and nonprofit)
Common Dimensions in Organizations (features to consider about organizations)
Unique Features About Each Organization
Key Concepts in the Design of an Organization
Organizational Culture (the "personality" of the organization)
Life Cycles of Organizations

Principles and Practices of Organizational Design

Organizational Design -- Guidelines (includes many links about organizational design)

Special Topics

Future of Organizations -- A New Paradigm?
- - - Characteristics of the Future Organizations
- - - New Structures (networks, virtual org., self-managed teams, learning org, self-designing org)
Basic Overview of Nonprofit Organizations
Various (and 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. Scan down the blog's page to see various posts. Also see the section "Recent Blog Posts" in the sidebar of the blog or click on "next" near the bottom of a post in the blog.

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

Also see
Related Library Topics


Various (and Sometimes Contrary) Perspectives

Development of Management Thought
The Skeptical and Affirmative Postmodernist (Organization) Theory Debates
Major Organizational Theories


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For the Category of Organizational Development:

To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may want to review some related topics, available from the link below. Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.

Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.

Related Library Topics

Recommended Books

Managing Organizational Change

Growing Your Organization



Managing Organizational Change

Consulting and Organization Development - Book Cover Field Guide to Consulting and Organizational Development
by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Provides complete, step-by-step guidelines to identify complex issues in for-profit or government organizations and successfully resolve each of them. This book is also helpful to organizations that are doing fine now, but want to evolve to the next level of performance. This is one of the truly comprehensive, yet practical, books about this complex subject! Includes online forms that can be downloaded. Many materials in this Library's topic about guiding change are adapted from this comprehensive book.
Consulting and Organization Development With Nonprofits - Book Cover Field Guide to Consulting and Organizational Development With Nonprofits
by Carter McNamara, published by Authenticity Consulting, LLC. Provides complete, step-by-step guidelines to identify complex issues in nonprofit organizations and successfully resolve each of them. This book is also helpful to organizations that are doing fine now, but want to evolve to the next level of performance. This is one of the truly comprehensive, yet practical, books about this complex subject! Includes online forms that can be downloaded. Many materials in this Library's topic about guiding change are adapted from this comprehensive book.

The following books are recommended because of their highly practical nature and often because they include a wide range of information about this Library topic. To get more information about each book, just click on the image of the book. Also, a "bubble" of information might be displayed. You can click on the title of the book in that bubble to get more information, too.



Growing Your Organization

The following books are recommended because of their highly practical nature and often because they include a wide range of information about this Library topic. To get more information about each book, just click on the image of the book. Also, a "bubble" of information might be displayed. You can click on the title of the book in that bubble to get more information, too.



Also See for For-Profits

Strategic Planning -- Recommended Books

Business Development -- Recommended books

Financing Your Business -- Recommended Books

Product Development -- Recommended books

Planning and Project Management -- Recommended Books

Also See for Nonprofits

Strategic Planning -- Recommended Books

Social Entrepreneurship (Nonprofit) -- Recommended Books

Capacity Building (Nonprofit) -- Recommended Books

Fundraising -- Recommended Books

Program Management -- Recommended Books

Planning and Project Management -- Recommended Books

Capacity Building (Nonprofit) -- Recommended Books




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