Organisational Management

Article modified: November 2017, Author:


Policies and Procedures checklist


vision, structure, strategy, systems, style, skills, staff

The ‘Seven Star’ (or seven S when Vision is re-named Shared Values) view of an organisation. This can be used in various ways
– a checklist of all the different parts which need to function together.
– the champions of the ‘cold triangle’ (structure, systems and strategy) conflicting with those advocating concentration on the ‘warm square’ of skills, staff, style and vision/values.
– appreciating that they all are linked.

Producing a mission statement

Vision is linked to, but not the same as, mission. There are various, differing views about the usefulness of either of these, and quite what they mean. We would give a rough interpretation as follows: vision for a voluntary organisation is about what they want to see change in the world, mission is how the organisation will contribute towards that but also a statement of its current key duties in broad terms (unless when you examine the latter you realise the organisation is doing completely the wrong things!)

There was an extract available online from the Drucker Foundation (now Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute) Self-Assessment Tool publication on how to develop a mission statement. They say: Mission is ‘Why you do what you do; the organization’s reason for being, its purpose. Says what, in the end, you want to be remembered for’.

Or have a look at our draft Mission statement, which is based on the Pyramid of Purpose structure (see Planning page).

Some organisations get terribly bogged down in trying to agree a common set of values. This could be seen as writing down the culture of the organisation in concrete terms, when in fact it is something that is ‘lived and experienced’, and is bound to change with people and over time. On the other hand, it may be a useful tool to highlight discrepancies between how, for instance, clients are treated against working conditions of staff or volunteers. Could also be captured as ‘operating principles’, although this is likely to be more task focused (e.g. all publications must conform to Plain English requirements).

Voluntary sector leanings

(From Handy) Is your organisation mainly about:
– service delivery ?
– campaigning ?
– mutual support ?
If dealing with more than one of these, are the differences between them (in skills, management needs) recognised?

Key Stakeholders (from OU course B789) and key problems

  • Client led – under resourcing
  • Market led – competitiveness
  • Funding led – loss of autonomy
  • Staff led – goal displacement
  • Member led – decision making

What is so different about vol orgs?

How do voluntary organisations differ from others? (from B789 course reader)

  • social goals which make it more difficult to determine priorities and evaluate performance.
  • particular resource acquisition (funding) and management issues associated with independent non-trading organisations
  • the nature and variety of stakeholders (see above) and their relationships.
  • a ‘way of doing things’ or culture that emphasises (shared) value commitments and participatory decision-making.
  • operation through small informal units
  • the virtual absence of complex technological systems (e.g. production lines) (but perhaps IT is reducing the difference?)

Leadership and Power

There is a wide variety of theories on leadership – what it is for, how to do it. The favoured one from Open University B789 is Contingency theory. Four variables – leader, the led, the task, context – all interact and will have associated preferences in terms of the continuum of styles represented by: Tells, Sells, Tests, Suggests, Consults, Joins, Delegates. The knack is getting the best fit of style between leader, led, task and context. There are limitations around complexity and interdependence.

Drucker and Bennis say that leadership is about doing the right things, management focuses on doing things right.

Necessary skills/roles include: being a role model; networking; internal communications; environment scanning; maintenance (in terms of resolving conflict, relieving anxieties, keeping the organisation focused). Core issues are strategic, tactical and interpersonal.

Types of power


– see diagram Four Forms of Visible Power and overlaps between them (Paton 1985 from OU B751)four forms of personal power

  • Positional
  • Expert
  • Personal
  • Dependence

Invisible – social, cultural, moral

Contracts: formal, informal, psychological

Change Management

‘The only constant is change’ is coming to apply to more and more charities, often seen as conservative in outlook. A Learning Organisation approach can help. The most frightening aspect of change from a managers perspective is that there are frequently unexpected knock-on effects – it is very rarely possible to change the way of doing one thing, dropping an activity in favour of another etc, without having a ripple of change outwards (or more dramatic impact amongst those most closely affected). Hence whole books and courses on this topic.


The Drucker Foundation is now Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute (mission: To strengthen and inspire leaders of the social sector and their partners in business and government). US based, the useful extracts from various publications (mainly written by Peter Drucker) seem to have disappeared but the website may be worth a look over.

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