April 3, 2012

Gülen Movement institutions' division of labor, coordination and accountability


How is the division of labor arranged in institutions and service networks of the Gülen Movement?

In the Gülen Movement, division of labor is based on formal rules in institutions, while in relational networks tasks are allocated in an informal manner according to the skills that each member is willing to contribute to a project.

As formal and institutionalized companies, the social movement organizations (SMOs) have brought the development of professionalized management in the Movement.

Participants recognize that division of labor, responsibility and managerial authority must be present. Therefore, social and professional control in any SMO is through direct supervision and formal standard rules or universally acknowledged sanctions. This social and professional control is also under constant supervision by the board of directors or trustees related to each SMO. This brings efficacy, the search for satisfactory internal relations and observance of legal boundaries.

An administrative role does not give anyone greater power or control over strategic resources, nor is it rewarded with significantly greater material advantages. Whether short-term or long-term, an undertaking or project does not provide any justification for any individual to take control of resources of collective action.

A managerial or administrative role requires greater commitment, liaison and a compatible and holistic relationship with all. However, commitment is regarded not only as a practical day-to-day aim but also a long-term goal for all participants, not just administrators of the SMOs.

The specialization of the activities of the various individual networks results in division of labor and roles. Participants acquire, develop or consult associative or professionalized expertise. In this way, grassroots and professionalized participants formulate proposals by consensus. The efficacy of projects and institutions is reported on by the media so that they can be emulated or improved on and obtain useful feedback.

Thus, while the grassroots provide a flow of resources, and the SMOs process and broadcast information and the outcomes, other networks, such as the media, are performing a kind of intermediate representational function.

Is there any competition between participants, projects and institutions in the Gülen Movement?

Competition between projects and institutions is not restricted. Team work and competition, along with co-operation and consultation between service-projects, are encouraged; competition between individuals is not.

Competition is not for self-advancement but is a motivational device to reach for the best and progress within the confines of the social and political order. When it concerns the schools, this can be seen as a competitive struggle for higher profit and better academic results; efficiency based on open competition, both within economic enterprises and educational institutions, is more important than solidarity with cronies or with any specific group of family members, relatives, and/or fellow villagers, etc.

Does the Gülen Movement have an umbrella organization to co-ordinate a coalition of various institutions?

No, action is not coordinated in that way. Instead, the grassroots participate in the formation of the Movement's culture and contribute to the concrete management of its action by exercising control, by co-ordinating, and by utilizing the information broadcast through the media outlets.

Different initiatives may overlap and different individuals may fulfill a number of functions at the same time because they belong to several different and inclusive networks. In most cases, these individuals (rather than institutions) act as informal intermediaries in various forms of inter-organizational relationships. The Gülen Movement therefore does not need to have an umbrella organization to co-ordinate or to build a coalition of various SMOs for lobbying or collecting resources.

The other factor which makes an umbrella organization or leadership unnecessary is the degree of cultural development in the Gülen Movement. Because of the high degree of cultural development, participant morale is high and so is participants’ commitment and tenacity in the face of adversity.

How and to whom are the Gülen-inspired institutions accountable?

There is no community-vs.-organization or organization-vs.-community attitude.

However, since the various SMOs of the Movement grow and consolidate in widely varying environments, this necessitates division of labor, a variety of different models and specialization in function with more specific definition of roles and norms. Participants in the Gülen Movement modify SMOs in secondary details in response to stimuli and limits deriving from peculiarities in the local environment where they operate. However, the SMOs are all accountable to the local authorities (the State) and to their own official inspectors, and comply with the state and international law. This quality of openness, visibility and accountability to the System legitimates the SMOs.

Are the Gülen-inspired institutions and SMOs centralized?

In centralized organizations, power resides in a single leader, or a central committee, and local chapters have little autonomy.

The Gülen Movement is not organized in that way. The SMOs and institutions in the Gülen Movement contribute to the educational, social, and financial wellbeing of the wider society. Some of them are in formal chains of institutions but not centralized. This decentralization is not a negative reaction to political or administrative centralization. Movement participants do not perceive the existence of any centralized committee or organization and there is therefore no rank–file relationship or discontent with such a committee.