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16 March 1972

The Nature of Organization in Transnational Networks


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Paper presented to the 'Panel on Perspectives on Global Societies' at the Annual Conference of the International Studies Association (ISA), Dallas, March 1972. A version was published in Journal of Voluntary Action Research, Vol 1, 3, July 1972, pp. 14-24 [searchable PDF original with more complete tables]

Range of types of transnational organization
Inter-organizational linkages
Inter-organizational network roles
Conclusions and policy implications
Annex 1: List of organizations questioned
Annex 2: Some functions performed prior to the establishment of an inter-organizational relationship
Annex 3: Some network roles
Annex 4: Network action strategy in a transnational setting


The purpose of this paper is to draw attention to the complexity of the system of organizations at the transnational level. A simple citation of the numbers and types of bodies involved will not suffice, as there is a well-established tendency to concentrate research and education on a few prominent actors or systems [1])

A more fruitful approach may be that of showing the degree of interlinkage between transnational actors, whether prominent, governmental, permanent or not.

As a preliminary to this, in the first section, a brief review is made of the range of types of organization possible in a transnational setting. Two sets of data on inter-organizational linkages are then presented to illustrate the extent of network formation. In a final section some roles open to organizations working in a network are examined. .

Range of Types of Transnational Organizations

The purpose of this section is to review some of the dimensions that complicate transnational organization and the isolation of neatly-characterized actors. In the next section attention is concentrated on conventionally defined actors, but the suggestion is that many statements applicable to them are also applicable to styles of organization thigh are somewhat arbitrarily distinguished from them.

1. Styles of organization. There are many factors that determine the manner in which different functions are associated with particular styles in a wide range of possibilities of organization. An attempt at isolating some different styles is presented in Table 1. One example of how a need satisfied by a conventional organization may also be satisfied by a functional equivalent in the Table is the case of a "subscribership" . In one setting it might be necessary to have interaction between members via an organization, whereas in another the need for such interaction may be satisfied by a journal to which the individuals can subscribe.

Another example is the case of an agreement that would-be considered a hyper-formal organization. In one setting a written or verbal agreement may satisfactorily regulate relations between members, whereas in another an equivalent agreement may have to be administered by a secretariat - i.e., an organization. Where formal agreement is not possible, an organization may even perform the necessary mediating or negotiating functions between members. A final example is the case of a meeting, and particularly large regular meetings, in a series. In terms of activity, this may be more significant than a small normally constituted organization.

The first-consequence of concentrating attention on conventional organizations is that functional equivalents, particularly in other cultures, are excluded from the analysis, thus introducing a cultural bias and jeopardising the success of comparative analysis. The second consequence is that even within a particular culture an "organizational analysis" will exclude many styles of organization performing functions that mesh with those of the organizations isolated, thus rendering the analysis incomplete. A complicating-feature is that a conventional organization may, for example, perform functions for a "membership" but at the same time may produce a periodical which serves as the focal point for a "subscribership" which is not coterminous with the membership.

A further complicating feature derives from the dynamics of a social system in that the growth or decay of a particular organization form may be accompanied by transference of functions to another organization form, for example, due to changes in technology. The ability to accomplish this transference may be hindered by inertial features such as vested interests identifying with a particular pattern of organization.

Table I: Tentative Qualification of Different Styles of Organization (Networks)
H = High; M = Medium; L = Low





Activity as Members

Conventional Membership





Ad Hoc





Meeting in a Series





On-Off Meeting










Be- In















Invisible College





Primary Groups










Spectator -ship















Consumership (Material Goods)










information Systems











2. Governmental / Nongovernmental dimension. The concept of a "nongovernmental" organization is an extremely difficult one to handle satisfactorily. The definition at the international level derives from a compromise wording in the early days of the United Nations but is based on a concept of "governmental" not on any clear understanding of what is "nongovernmental", whether profit-making or nonprofit. The current crisis in INGO-UN relations is in part due to the. fact that the Western concept of a nongovernmental organization is not questioned. The grey area between governmental and nongovernmental is illustrated in Table 2.

Table II: Governmental-Nongovernmental Dimension


Administration of an intergovernmental agreement Ministerial level organization Joint military command Technical agency


Corps diplomatique Inter-Parliamentary Union Ententes cordiales Bilderberg Group


International Air Transport Association International Secretariat for Volunteer Service INTERPOL International Union of Official Travel Organizations


NGOs with governments as members (e.g., International Council of Scientific Unions) Intersect or Mixed organizations Government technical people in INGOs (in unofficial capacities) INGOs administered by officials on government payrolls INGOs receiving office space or facilities from governments INGOs funded by governments


INGOs specifically aligned with a political party 'Peoples organizations' in the Marxist sense International political parties International organizations of political parties Front organizations

f International revolutionary organizations Liberation movements Assembly of Captive European Nations

National governmental agencies with international programs (e.g., U.S. Peace Corps, U.S. Department of Defense) Secret services (e.g., American CIA, Russian KGB)


Inter-governmental enterprises (e.g., Eurofima and Eurochemic) Multinational enterprises with governmental shareholders

i Transnational bodies to which state churches report (e.g., Vatican)

3. Public/private dimension

H.G. Angelo (1968) distinguishes the following types:

  1. Public international corporations
  2. International companies
  3. Intergovernmental corporations of private law
  4. Multinational public enterprises
  5. Single government multinational enterprises
  6. Fixed government-private multinational enterprises, and
  7. Private multinational corporate enterprises.

4. International/national dimension

This dimension can in fact be applied to three distinct features of an organization, namely its representativeness, activities, or fields of interest:

  1. Universal organization with countries from all continents as members. A distinction can be made between such organizations which permit representatives from countries and territories, and organizations which only permit territories to be represented via countries. A distinction can also be made between universal organizations which have major offices on one continent, and those which have major offices in all countries.
  2. Political bloc organizations (e.g., Atlantic bodies)
  3. Bi-continental organizations (e.g., Afro- Asian)
  4. Continental organizations (e.g., Asian)
  5. Sub-continental organizations (e.g., Scandinavian)
  6. Bi-lateral organizations
  7. Organizations with the majority (75%) of the members, or officers, or funds from one country. There are two subtypes, those with their most important activities in the one country only, and those with much activity in other countries.
  8. The national organizations specifically interested in world affairs and international institutions.

5. Nonprofit/profit dimension

  1. All resources received as untied donations, subsidies, or grants
  2. Some resources received in exchange for services at cost (e.g., consultancy or sale of publications); most resources freely donated.
  3. Some resources received as a profit on services performed (e.g., consultancy or sale of publications); most resources freely donated.
  4. Most resources received as a profit on services performed, but profits are used to develop the organization and arc never redistributed to shareholders (e.g., not-for-profit research institutes).
  5. Government controlled and possibly subsidized (i.e., where profit is not the major criterion, e.g., nationalized enterprises, possibly with international operations).
  6. Intergovernmental business enterprises created by intergovernmental agreement (e.g., European Company for the Chemical Processing of Irradiated Fuels, European Company for the Financing of Railway Rolling Stock).
  7. Nonprofit corporations created or sustained by profit corporations and receiving direct subsidies from the 'parent' body (e.g., Esso European Research Laboratory (Research functions only), ITT Europe (administrative functions only), certain corporationcreated foundations).
  8. Organizations which in themselves are non-profit, but from which members derive financial profit by the regulatory and exclusive features arising from membership (e.g., trade unions, and certain professional bodies; trade associations and chambers of commerce; cartels, monopolies, and trusts).
  9. Profit-motivated business corporations.

6. Other dimensions

  1. Incorporated/unincorporated/illegal dimension (legal status)
  2. Secret/closed/open/public impact (visibility)
  3. Permanent/temporary (duration)
  4. Organized coordinative level (e.g. transnational organization with transnational organization members whose members are themselves transnational organizations, such as the Conference of NGOs with Consultative Status with UNESCO, of which the International Council of (international) Scientific Unions is a member).
  5. Cross-disciplinary coordinative level (e.g., the extent to which different disciplinary interests are integrated by an organization's programs).
  6. Cross-modal coordinative level (e.g., the extent to which an organization integrates such programs as research, real- world problem solution, long-term formulation of policy, etc.)
  7. Decision-making participativeness
  8. Dependence/independence/interdependence
  9. Dimension from stress on people involved through to stress on organization? binding their representatives
  10. Dimension from 'inhabited' organization through information system to hyper- formal organizations such as agreements.
  11. Territory-oriented/function-oriented (non-territorial) dimension
  12. Main issue type or goal
  13. Type of flow in interaction with other groups (information, funds, decisions, etc.)
  14. Intensity of interaction
  15. Binding power of interaction

Combining these dimensions and others produces a vast range of types of organization for which no adequate taxonomy yet exists.[4].

But because of the functional substitution between styles of organization, in different settings, it might be more profitable to analyze organizational systems in terms of the interactions between the component parts, rather than attempt to develop some "natural" classification, to the cells of which it is hoped that specific functions may be related. This may be of particular importance with the increasing complexification of the organizational world as Harold Leavitt notes [5]:

"The problems of the seventies will lie not so much within the organization as between it and society. We shall have to look much more to the social and family life of organizations; at organizational marriage and divorce, at the children that organizations spawn. We shall begin to know organizations by the company they keep. The future, I think, will be social, political, inter-organizational" (emphasis added).

Aside from a number of case studies of systems of 3-5 organizations, there appears to have been little effort to examine transnational inter-organizational systems. Little data has been collected. It becomes convenient to assume that most organizations function as isolated units with bilateral relationships with partners which are however not in their turn linked to other partners of the organization. A system of dyads is a convenient simplification.

1. Groupings of organizations. A first step is to attempt to locate the coordinative bodies linking other tranonational actors. There is little systemic information on such bodies. Thus the Jackson Report admits to having given up on counting the coordinating bodies within the UN system [6]. (Ed Miles notes that the one term systematically avoided in the UN Administrative Committee on Coordination is "coordination" ).

In the case of nongovernmental bodies, an attempt has been made to list those actors which have other transnational actors, as members. There are about 70 such bodies of different types [7].

2. IGO-Multinational business enterprise linkages. Some aspects of a study by Jean Meynaud cover the relationship between multinationals and the EEC [8]. An earlier study [9] (survey) by Fritz Fischer shows how EEC trade associations assist in this relationship. Some work could be done on the relationship between FAO and the multinationals through the Com I mittee of its FAO/Industry Cooperation Program. The same could be said for OECD with its business/trade/industry advisory committee. Finally data should be available on the IBRD system's relationships with multinationals.(UNCTAD and UNIDO appear to be acting very cautiously in this respect because of the political implications.) The relationship between inter-state enterprises and COMECON would also be of interest.

3. INGO-IGO systems. As a preliminary attempt to determine whether the situation was in fact more complicated, data available on consultative relationships between INGOs and different IGOs (mainly the UN Specialized Agencies) was obtained.[10]. This potentially very significant system of 500 organizations is generally assumed by the organizational units involved (and particularly by the IGO agencies) to be fragmented into systems of INGOs relating individually to their counterpart IGOs. The INGOs acquire status through this relationship and the only form of international legal recognition open to them. The IGOs acquire a pool of competence on which to draw. [11]

The following factors govern the extent of inter-INGO interaction in such-systems.

For some IGO-INGO systems this has resulted in the creation of periodic conferences of INGOs consulting with the agency together with a permanent secretariat. In the case of ECOSOC, for example, such conferences have a potential membership of 350 organizations. In the case of Unesco the potential membership is175 organizations. These conferences offer INGOs and their representatives opportunities for further asserting their distinctiveness through a system of committees and offices [12]

The interesting point about these INGO conferences is that (a) they do not have any formal relationships or correspondence with one another nor is there any move in this direction. This appears to threaten the elites in each group. The argument used is that the concerns of each such conference are irrelevant to the others, despite the fact that each has subcommittees on such issues as "developmen', "youth", etc. (b) The IGOs in question, at least in the case of ECOSOC and Unesco, do not recognize the existence or views of the conferences in any formal sense (despite offering them many facilities which ensure a very dependent intimate administrative relationship -to the point where some NGOs assume that it is the agency's conference).Some recognition is accorded the committees of the conferences.

As a first effort to study an international network, data on the consultative relationships of 'international nongovernmental organizations' with intergovernmental organizations was analyzed. These data are presented in Table III. [6]

The problem was to use the data available to demonstrate overlap in membership between the different agency-INGO systems as a means of countering the suggestion that each system was irrelevant to the others. This is particularly important at a time when the UN agencies are being forced to operate more closely together on such cross-jurisdictional issues as "development" "peace", "youth", "environment" , etc. Table 5 shows the degree of overlap in INGO membership of consultative status systems. Thus in the case of the 175 NGOs with consultative stat A or B with Unesco: 61 (35%) also have ECOSOC I or II status; 111 (64%) with ECOSOC Roster status; 47 (27%) with ILO, 36 (21%) with FAO; 20 (11%) with WHO, 4 (2%) with ICAO, 7 (4%) with WMO, 5 (3%) with IMLO, 8 (5%) with IAEA, 48 (27%) with UNICEF, 9 (5%) with the Council of Europe, and 9 (5%) with OAS [14]

Table III: Analysis of IGO-INGO System (from data in the Yearbook of Internationa) Organizations, 1970-71 edition).

Analysis of IGO-INGO System

This sort of information raises the interesting question as to just how much overlap between groups is necessary before they should:

4. INGO-INGO systems The above data indicates overlap in INGO interests between different INGO-IGO systems controlled by the IGOs. Given the common interest, it does not bring out the extent of any consequent INGO-INGO interactions. Very little data seems to be available on these. In order to obtain an indication of the extent and nature of any such interaction, a survey was made in February 1972 of a small group of INGOs with similar interests. Fifty-six bodies were questioned (see Annex 1) selected from the Yearbook of International Organizations were those which seemed to have some transnational social science interests touching on international relations. A few IGO bodies and some bodies not (yet) included in the Yearbook were also added to the survey.

It is not possible to present the results here, nor even the preliminary analysis. It is proposed to carry out further analysis of the results obtained and present them in a later paper.

The basis of the survey was a questionnaire listing 56 organizations (see Annex 1). Each organization was asked to mark against each other organization in the list in one or more columns, when it had a particular type of interaction. The following columns were provided:

In addition, organizations were asked "If possible mark 1,2,3,4, or 5 in the last column to indicate the approximate frequency of the most frequent direct contact." (where 1=irregular; 2=annually; 3=monthly, 4=weekly; 5=daily).

The survey was limited to 56 organizations because of the need to facilitate response as much as possible by keeping the length of the list to a minimum (two pages). Organizations were however asked in a final line to "Please add any other international bodies of particular significance to your organization's contacts in this domain" . To encourage respondents, the introduction to the questionnaire included the comment "One expectation is that few of the organizations listed are in contact with many of the others -- therefore the questionnaire should not take more than a few minutes to complete" .

Of the 56 questioned: 27 supplied satisfactory replies, 2 replied to say that they had two little interaction to merit a reply, 1 complained that the categories did not cover the complexity of its interaction and suggested that som other bodies should have been included, 1 replied to say that they did not reply to questionnaires.

From data already available at the Union of International Associations, it was possible to complete the questionnaire for two non-respondents, namely the NGO Liaison Sections of ECOSOC and UNESCO by not distinguishing (as they would be obliged not to do) between organizations other than in terms of the types of interaction envisaged under each consultative status category. Replies were also compiled for two other non-respondents, the NGO (ECOSOC) Conference, and the NGO( UNESCO) Conference, in terms of the participant lists at their last meetings and the known interaction characteristic of membership of the conferences. This gave a total of 31 useable responses.

One advantage of this form of survey is that each link is cross-checked. Depending on the nature of the analysis required, different assumptions can be made to improve or complete the information available.

    1. All non-matched cross-links can be eliminated in the most stringent case.
    2. Those links un-matched due to non-response can be considered matched.
    3. All links cited by respondents can be considered to exist whether matched or not.
    4. Links, 'received" by organizations are derived from a sufficiently large number of organizations to allow for inter-organizational generalisation, links "sent" are generated from single organizational sources and therefore do not permit such generalization [15]. In an effort to obtain extra information, a compromise technique can be used to compute probable reciprocated interactions by weighting the importance of the two contributions. One possibility is:
      = 0.25 (sum of links sent) + 0.75 (sum of links received)
      where the bracket in the second term is obtained from:
      (Usable answers + Unusable answers (0.5)) (Links received/actually cited)
      (Usable answers )

A combination of the above techniques (with the exception of 3) was used at different stages of the analysis. In this way, interaction between 55 organizations could be examined in some way. (One non-respondent organization was dropped from the sample because it was not cited by any other body.) These techniques compensating for absence of information were, however, only applied to the presence or absence of a link, not to the nature of the link.

Table 6 [omitted] shows a summary of interactions in three groups:

  1. presence of a link of any type (i.e. multiple interactions treated as one link)
  2. presence of multiple links (i.e. multiple interactions totalled)
  3. reciprocated links (assuming reciprocation with pair non-respondents)

In the first two cases an attempt is made, as outlined earlier, to compute the probable number of interactions given 100% response The computed total from the single link case, 626, may be compared with the total from the reciprocal link case, 507, obtained with the non-respondent assumption.

Figure 1 [omitted] shows the number of organizations with a given number of reciprocated interactions based on the test case.

Table 7 [omitted] shows reciprocated and non-reciprocated interactions again assuming reciprocation with pair non-respondents. The organizations are ordered in terms of a ranking of the computed interactions (first case above).

Table 8 [omitted] shows the number of interaction types per pair for a group of more interactive organizations. Table 9 covers the same group of organizations but shows the frequencies of the most frequent direct contact interaction. These two tables indicate the difference in organization's perceptions of the number and frequencies of interaction. .

Using the reciprocated links from Table 8 [omitted], Figure 2 [omitted] was produced to should the complexity of the densest part of the interaction network.

For reasons of time and computer (in)accessibility, it was not possible to analyze the data any further for this paper. The results so far, however, clearly indicate a marked degree of organizational interdependence. Using one measure of density, proposed by J.A. Barnes [16], namely 200 a/n (n-1) where

a = actual number of (reciprocated) links
n = number of bodies involved

a value for the density of the network of 55 bodies of 34.2% is obtained. If 3352, K, 3387 and 2575 are removed the density is still only reduced to 31.4%.

It would also be interesting to examine the centrality of particular organizations with respect to the remainder of the network. For this purpose it would be useful to have some distinction between "horizontal" links and "vertical" links in order to locate the "top dogs", the "underdogs", and the "bottlenecks" . The concept of centrality is related to that of the reachability or compactness of a network. J. Clyde Mitchell [17] on this point makes a distinction between too dimensions of compactness:

He advocates a "crude measure" using a distance matrix to compute the average number of points reached over all steps in a network.

Using Johan Galtung's insights it would be interesting to look at some forms of centrality as facilitative of structural violence. Networks would appear to break down pure centre-periphery structure by introducing many intermediate levels which neutralise hierarchic by cross-linking them or setting up many competing or counterbalancing centres -- i.e. increasing the social entropy [18].

Hopefully the data draws attention to the necessity of looking not only at an organization's first order contacts but also its second and higher order contacts through the network in which it is embedded.[19]

It is hoped to use the methods developed by Robert C. Anderson [20] to analyze the network into blocks. "A block is defined as a number of organizations, all of which are reciprocally chosen by one another." Blocks are ordered by size with the largest in the top rows and left-most columns of the matrix. This produces cluster of matrices of reciprocal choices along the matrix diagonal that he refers to as constellations. They are a particular configuration of the original blocks chosen in such a way as to display most lucidly the structure of interaction.

Anderson also introduces the notion of constellation sets, namely a group of organizations, some of which are reciprocally chosen by all members of the constellation (i.e. primary members). Organizations that interact with members of more than one constellation set are called liaisons.

Features that are not immediately apparent from the results already given are:

To convey this amount of information satisfactorily in a comprehensible manner requires the use of more sophisticated techniques [21] (If the organizations had not been selected as concerned with a definite field of interest, it might have been valuable to attempt to classify them by field of interest and determine the degree of contact between the interest sectors (or between "governmental" and "nongovernmental'). In fact the network of links between organizations may be usefully conceived of as interpenetrated by the links of each organization to a network of interrelated disciplines and fields of interest. Similarly it may be useful to conceive of the two networks as interpenetrated by a network of interrelated problems. There may even be some functional substitutions between these different networks.

Inter-organizational Network Roles

The above data makes clear that there is a considerable amount of interaction between organizations in the selected group, aside from the interactions of each of them with other bodies not selected there, particularly with regard to other intersecting domains of activity. The data does not, however, make very clear what each organization does for its various interaction partners in the network, or for other bodies with whom it only interacts indirectly.

This area may perhaps usefully be investigated in the light of the importance of informal organization to the effectiveness of a formal organization. People are very ingenious at adapting to formal policies and procedures imposed upon them by creating an informal network with totally different communication lines and priorities. The informal roles open to organizations may have a similar relationship to the formal inter-organizational network by which they are constrained. Donald Schon gives some evidence for this in his account of the response by regional administrative units to centrally formulated governmental programs in the U.S.A. [22] The emphasis is however on strategies by which the periphery can subvert the centre's programs.

A recent article by George Farris, on the informal organization in government research laboratories with a high value on innovation and creativity, suggests some intriguing possibilities for encouraging more effective informal organization. He studied the key roles colleagues could play in a problem-solving environment, namely the functions one professional performed which were useful to the technical decision-making and project advancement of a colleague. He found that members of the laboratory intra-organizational network performed the following functions for one another during problem-solving:

1. Suggestion stage

1.1. provide original idea

1.2. provide technical information

1.3. provide information on organizational developments

2. Proposal stage

2.1. provide help in thinking through ideas

2.2. provide critical evaluation of them

3. Solution stage

3.1. ensure that proposal gets a fair hearing .

3.2. ensure that administrative help and resources are forthcoming [23]

Equivalent functions may well be performed increasingly by organizations for one another in the inter-organizational network. Some evidence for this is the amount of correspondence received and answered by an organization which brings no direct benefit to the organization but simply ensures that it is recognised as playing a part in the network. This is particularly significant in relations between institutes with research interests. Some of these network roles of organizations are undertaken deliberately to compensate for mismatches between the institutional map and the problems perceived as important [24].

In this connection it is useful to consider the number of functions that have to be performed to ensure that two organizations establish a working relationship, when initially they do not know of each other's existence, or if they do, consider each other's activities mutually irrelevant or in competition for scarce resources. These are listed in Annex 2.

The inter-organizational network is dynamic:

The dynamics of these changes may usefully be considered in the light of the earlier paragraphs(and Annex 2) to be midwifed, stimulated and catalysed by organizations performing a variety of often informal network roles. It is possibly only through general recognition of the multiplicity of these roles that individual organizations could recognize and admit to the significance of the network to their own particular functions. An attempt has been made to list out these network roles in Annex 3.

Clearly the list is not complete. One of the problems is that practice, particularly the formation of a group to respond to a newly-emergent problem, is constantly ahead of theory. New functions are undertaken by groups in "distant" parts of the system in the time it takes for the communication system to report on their existence [25]. The range of functions performed by organizations for one another is in the final analysis closely related to the number of organizations in existence and the manner in which they are inter-linked. An organization can be highly specialised (a) if it can depend on having other bodies performing certain functions for it, and (b) if other bodies are willing to allocate funds for the special function performed. Both conditions draw an organization into a web of interdependence.

Conclusions and policy implications

1. The degree of organizational interlinkage would seem to preclude simplistic assumptions about the functioning of the transnational organizational system. Further study is required to determine when and to what extent a given organization in a given network can be usefully and realistically conceived of as an isolated and "independent" entity.

2. Greater effort should be made to map out transnational organizational networks (possibly by a succession of overlapping surveys) so that organizations can see their direct and indirect relationships to one another. (Interorganizational maps should have the same status and accessibility as road maps in order that people can move more effectively through the social system.)

3. The network roles performed by organizations in a transnational setting should be recognised and taken into account in evaluating and funding organizations. Efforts should be made to increase the effectiveness with which such roles can be performed.

4. The difficult process by which organizations are brought into contact without "recognising" or being associated with one another needs further examination to facilitate linkage formation. A particularly useful formula is that of the "multi-meeting" [26] in which time slots in a meeting program framework are taken up by a wide variety of independent organizations which need not formally acknowledge each other's presence but whose representatives can informally participate, where appropriate, in each other's meetings, as well as meet each other at social functions or in informally established working groups.(e.g. the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting).

5. The inter-organizational network is constantly evolving in response to new insights, possibilities, and problems. It is therefore less the pattern at any one moment that should be the focus of concern and much more the pattern-forming potential of organizational sub-units and active individuals. Means must be found to bring into contact bodies as soon as they are able to formulate a problem or interest in common. Prior to entering into some direct relationship, potential partners need to be conceived of as 'members' of a 'potential association' [27] from which particular groupings gel as required and into which they dissolve when their objective is achieved. Such a potential association could be given the necessary operational framework by substituting a special type of information system cum referral service for normally-constituted membership organizations -- thus avoiding problems of 'recognition" and proof of "relevance" .

6. It is not yet clear to what degree inter-organizational interaction should be maximised and the organizational universe rendered transparent. Study is required to establish the degree of relative isolation and privacy necessary for organization to provide participative, creative environments which would guarantee generation of a variety of alternative modes of action and would resist overcoordination from any centre.

7. Little work seems to have been done on the action strategy of transnational organizations functioning as a network. How should the requirements of coordination and autonomy be balanced in the absence of any prime controller or any single permanent objective? Some suggestions for a network action strategy are offered in Annex 4..

8. The degree of interconnectedness and direct or indirect interdependence of organizations suggests that, where two organizational systems have common objectives or concerns, it is shortsighted and possibly counterproductive for the first system to request the second for assistance in the accomplishment of its own system objectives -- and to ignore the second when it pursues the same objectives in a different manner. Both systems should rather seek to improve their functioning as interdependent systems and ensure that their operations mesh effectively.

9. It may well be time to abandon the misleading term "international. nongovernmental (nonprofit) organization". "International" is increasingly inappropriate. "Organization" has been appropriated by those concerned with intergovernmental bodies. "Nongovernmental" needs to be dropped because mixed or "intersect" organizations are increasingly important, particularly in developing and socialist countries -- also in some cultures or language systems "non-" may resell mean something very close to "anti" . In addition, to define "X" as "non-Y" is a plain confession of inability to conceptualise "X" . The term "transnational association networks" seems more appropriate particularly since it takes the stress off the "independent" organizational unit [28].

R. O. Keehane and Joseph S. Nye (Eds). Transnational Relations and World Politics. International Organization, Summer, 1971 (special issue).

Despite these views, the anthologies of syllabi on Basic Courses in International Organizations and Basic Courses in International Relations (Sage Publications 1970 and 1968 respectively) in several thousand references mention "private international organization," (meaning the petroleum industry)," private international unions", and "nongovernmental organization" once only each. No mention of interorganizational relations was apparent.

Annex 1: List of Organizations Questioned

Numbered organizations are listed in the Yearbook of International Oroanizations (1970-71 edition). Lettered organizations are IGO sub-units or bodies not listed in the Yearbook.

Annex 2: Some Functions Performed Prior to the Establishment of an Inter-organizational Relationship

1. Need model or paradigm showing the functions each performs as one of the following:

2. Need translation of the model into the language and framework of each party to demonstrate the relevance of collaboration active in the light of "enlightened self-interest" or, possibly, the more effective accomplishment of objectives

3. Need access to information systems by which both parties are informed of events of common interest at which there is some probability that they will meet

4. Need go-between to introduce and catalyse the interaction between representatives of the two parties in the light of the model, building each up in the eyes of the other

5. Need informal contact on neutral territory to establish mutual awareness and spark off proposals for collaboration

6. Need internal administrative adjustment to permit recognition and exchange of information

7. (may) Need weakening of each party's dependence upon some common third party which tends to passively discourage interaction between them in preference to controlled interaction via itself

8. Need-recognition as a potential operating partner from policy level, namely operational legitimisation ofcomplementarity suggested in the model .

9. Need administrative adjustment to produce adequate interaction and coordination between each party's internal departments to handle all the (cross-modal) aspects of (multi-disciplinary) interaction

10. Need legitimation of the collaborative model in disciplinary, modality and organizational survival terms in the eyes of the bodies expected to fund the collaborative programs, particularly since such bodies have a preference for neat projects within well-established boundaries and procedures in which the visibility of their contribution is not diluted

11. Need someone (or some organizational unit) within each body willing to stick his neck out, be identified with the project, grow with it, and take all the blame if it fails

12. Need an appropriate occasion on which the project can be announced and launched with the blessing of each party's interaction partners or constituency.

Annex 3: Some Network Roles

1. Value or goal generating and maintaining role

2. Research roles

3. Interpretative roles

4. System defining roles

5. Information roles

6. Look-out roles

7. Emergency roles

8. Involving roles

9. Strategy or policy formulation roles

10. Broker roles [29]

11. Systems negotiation roles

12. "Underground', manager roles

13 Manoeuverer roles

14. Network manager roles

15. Facilitator roles

Annex 4: Network Action Strategy in a Transnational Setting (30)

The problem for transnational organizations is to develop a way of increasing the dynamism and strength of the network without retreating to the unsuccessful formula of the coordinating umbrella body -- which is probably following the dinosaurs into. social history.

Peter Rudge [31] has summarised the characteristics of the Systemic style of closed-system management. We can attempt to translate and modify these for the open-system inter-organizational setting. The Network style may therefore be characterised by:


1. Chadwick F. Alger. Research on research, a decade of quantitative and field research on international organizations. International Organizations, Summer 1970, pp. 414-450.

2. Anthony Judge and Kjell Skjelsbaek. NGOs and Functionalism. In J. Groom (Editor), Functionalism. 1975 [text]

3. Homer G. Angelo. Multinational Corporate Enterprises; some legal and policy aspects of a modern social-economic phenomenon. Academy of International Law, Recueil des Cours, 1968, vol.3, p.447-606.

4. Adrea Rosenberg is working on this (see: International Interaction and the Taxonomy of International Organizations, International Associations, 19,11, 1967, pp. 721-729.)

5. Harold O. Leavitt. The Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow of Organizations. European Business, Spring 1971, 29, pp. 28-33.

6. Robert Jackson. Capacity Study of the United Nations Development System. UN, 1970.

7. Anthony Judge. International NGO Groupings. International Associations, 21, 2, 1969, pp. 89-92. [text]

8. Jean Meynaud and Dusan Sidjanski. Les groupes de pression dans la communaute europeenne (1958-1968). Bruxelles, Editions de l'Institut de Sociologie, 1971, 733 p.

R.J. Mokken and F.N. Stokman. Invloedsstrokturen van Politieke en Ekonomische Elites in Nederland. Amsterdam, Institue of Political Science, 1971

9. Fritz Fischer. Die institutionalisierte Vertretung der Verbande in der Europaischen Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft. Thesis at University of Kiel, Institut für Internationales Recht, (1966?).

10. A table covering 500 INGOs against 15 IGO agencies is published in each edition of the Yearbook of International Ornanizations.

11. It would be interesting to apply Johan Galtung's centre-periphery analysis to this system.

12. Omitted.

13. In fact, due to a number of interacting factors (not least of which is the lack of attention of scholars), these potentially significant coordinative bodies have been progressively downgraded in importance by INGO headquarters, IGO Secretariats and national delegations

14. Anthony Judge. Use of Multi-Meetings: proposal for iImprovement to NGO / UN relationships. International Associations, 23,6,1971, p.354-35 [text]

Kjell Skjelsbaek has undertaken a more comprehensive computer analysis of the system and will probably be publishing his results in the near future.

15. Robert C. Anderson. A Sociometric Approach to the Analysis of Interorganizational Relationships. Institute for Community Development and Services, Michigan State University, 1969, 30p.

16. J.A. Carnes. Networks and Political Process. In: J. Clyde Mitchell (Ed.). Social Networks in Urban Situations. Manchester University Press, 1969, p. 51-76

17. J. Clyde Mitchell. The Concept and Use of Social Networks. In: J. Clyde Mitchell (Ed.). Social Networks in Urban Situations. Manchester University Press, 1969, pp. 1-50

18. Johan Galtung. Entropy and the General Theory of Peace. In: Proceedings of the International Peace Research Associatia Second Conference, Assen, Van Gorcum, 1968.

19. J.A. Barnes. Networks and Political Process. op.cit.

20. Robert C. Anderson. A Sociometric Approach to the Analysis of Inter-organizational Relationships. Michigan State University Institute for Community Development and Services, 1969, 30 p.

George M. Beal, et al. System Linkages among Women's Organizations. Iowa State University, Department of Sociology and Anthropology for the Office of Civil Defense, 1967, 155 p. (Another approach of interest concentrates on multiple membership or leadership roles of individuals.)

21. Anthony Judge. Computer-aided visualisation of psycho-social structures. (Paper presented at an AAAS Symposium on Value and Knowledge Requirements for Peace, Philadelphia, 1971). [text]

22. Donald A. Schon. Beyond the Stable State; public and private learning in a changing society. Temple Smith, 1971.

23. George Farris. Executive Decision-Making in Organizations; Identifying the Key Men and Managing the Process. Cambridge, Sloan School of Management, (1971?), W.P. 551; idem. Colleague Roles and Innovation in Scientific Teams. Cambridge, Sloan School of Management, (1971?) W.P. 552.

24. Donald Schon. op.cit.

25. Donald Schon. op.cit.

26. Anthony Judge. "The Use of Multi-Meetings" ; proposal for improvement to NGO/UN relationships. International Associations, 23 6, 1971, pp. 354-359. [text]

27. Anthony Judge. New Types of Social Entity; the role of the "potential association". International Associations, 23, 3, 1971, pp. 148-152. [text]

28. Anthony Judge and Kjell Skjelsbaek. Bibliography of Documents on Transnational Association Networks (international nongovernmental organizations as a field of study). Brussels, Union of International Associations, 1972, 66 p., draft (includes selected list of 112 thesis topics). [text]

29. These and the following roles are adapted from Donald A. Schon, op.cit. p. 198-200.

30. Anthony Judge. The World Network of Organizations: a symbol for the 1970s. International Associations, 24, 1, 1972, pp. 18-24. [text]

31. Peter F. Rudge. Ministry and Management; the study of ecclesiastical administration. London, Tavistock, 1968., p. 30.

Other references

Stafford Beer. The Cybernetic Cytoblast: management itself. September 1969 (Chairman's Address to the International Cybernetics Congress)

Scott A. Boorman:

Diana Crane. Invisible Colleges; diffusion of knowledge in scientific communities. University of Chicago Press, 1972

Peter Drucker. The Age of Discontinuity; guidelines to our changing society. Lon Pan, p 11

Johan Galtung. Feudal systems, structural violence and the structural theory of Pease revolutions. Proceedings of the IPRA Third Conference. Assen, van Gorcum, 1971

Anthony Judge:

Joseph S Nye and R O Keohane. Transnational Relations and World Politics. In: J S Nye Jr and R O Keohane (Eds). Transnational Relations and World Polit Harvard University Press, 1972

Curtis Roosevelt. The political future of Transnational associations; the opportunity for effective NGO action. In: The Open Society of the Future: report of a seminar to reflect on the network of international associations. Brussels, Union of International Associations, 1973, pp. 91-96 (Originally presented to a Conference of Nongovernmental Organizations in Consultative Status with ECOSOC, Geneva, 1972)

David Horton Smith. Estimation of the total number of volunatary associations in the United States. Center for a Voluntary Society, 1970 (Preliminary investigations by the author have shown that similar per capita figures hold in European countries)

Alvin Toffler. Value impact forecaster, a profession of the future. In: Kurt Baler and N Rescher (Eds). Values and the Future. Free Press

M D Wallace and J D Singer. Intergovernmental organization in the global system, 1815-1964; a quantitative description. International Organization, 24, 2, Spring 1970, pp. 239-287

Union of International Associations. Yearbook of International Organizations. Brussels, Union of International Associations, 1977, 16th edition, 806 p

Union of International Associations. Yearbook of World Problems and Human Potential. Brussels, Union of International Associations and Mankind 2000, 1976, 1st edition, 1136 p (Sect) A: International agencies and associations) [commentary]

Occupations, lobs and professions. Ref 12, Section J:

Introduction to Section P: World problems. Ref. 12

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