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Also like a spider's web, the structures were continually being built up, stretched, altered, modified and transformed....At their outer edges, the webs were permeable, a bit loose, which left open the question of who was part of the organization and who was not. This permeability served to allow outsiders access, ad gave insiders ways of connecting directly to the outside. (Helgesen, p. 20)Helgesen's model is one of empowerment, of shared ownership and commitment to common goals and aspirations, whether or not the organizational chart actually shows that. It's how the work actually gets done in these organizations, she says. (p. 27)
The belief that the board sets policy and the staff simply implements it is erroneous, because design and implementation of plans are always necessarily linked. The EAM acknowledges that executive directors are important participants in the decision-making process, as they should be. They have the expertise and an array of 'organizationally relevant' information available. To try to suggest that the director play a passive role in making decisions that affect the organization is unrealistic and not particularly desirable. (Beck, p. 18)As a naive young community servant, I remember being utterly floored by what Herman and Heimovics described.
[S]ince chief executives are going to be held responsible, and since they do accept responsibility for mission accomplishment and public stewardship, perhaps they should work to see that boards fulfill their legal, organizational and community roles. We advocate this...not only because it is consistent with legal requirements and voluntaristic values, but also because...it is more likely to lead to organizational effectiveness. (p. 56)It may have been absolutely obvious to a nonprofit veteran, but it stopped me in my tracks.