The Nature of Organization in Transnational Networks
- / -
Paper presented to the 'Panel on Perspectives on Global
Societies' at the Annual Conference of the International
(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 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
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
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
Meeting in a Series
Consumership (Material Goods)
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
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
|| 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
||Transnational bodies to which state churches
report (e.g., Vatican)
3. Public/private dimension
H.G. Angelo (1968) distinguishes the following types:
Public international corporations
- Intergovernmental corporations of private law
- Multinational public enterprises
- Single government multinational enterprises
- Fixed government-private multinational enterprises, and
- 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:
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.
- Political bloc organizations (e.g., Atlantic bodies)
- Bi-continental organizations (e.g., Afro- Asian)
- Continental organizations (e.g., Asian)
- Sub-continental organizations (e.g., Scandinavian)
- Bi-lateral organizations
- 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
- The national organizations specifically interested in world affairs and
5. Nonprofit/profit dimension
All resources received as untied donations, subsidies, or grants
- Some resources received in exchange for services at cost (e.g., consultancy
or sale of publications); most resources freely donated.
- Some resources received as a profit on services performed (e.g., consultancy
or sale of publications); most resources freely donated.
- 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).
Government controlled and possibly subsidized (i.e., where profit is
not the major criterion, e.g., nationalized enterprises, possibly with international
- 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).
- 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).
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).
- Profit-motivated business corporations.
6. Other dimensions
Incorporated/unincorporated/illegal dimension (legal status)
- Secret/closed/open/public impact (visibility)
- Permanent/temporary (duration)
- 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).
- Cross-disciplinary coordinative level (e.g., the extent to which different
disciplinary interests are integrated by an organization's programs).
- 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.)
- Decision-making participativeness
- Dimension from stress on people involved through to stress on organization?
binding their representatives
- Dimension from 'inhabited' organization through information system
to hyper- formal organizations such as agreements.
- Territory-oriented/function-oriented (non-territorial) dimension
- Main issue type or goal
- Type of flow in interaction with other groups (information, funds, decisions,
- Intensity of interaction
- Binding power of interaction
Combining these dimensions and others produces a vast range of types of organization
for which no adequate taxonomy yet exists..
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
"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 . (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 .
2. IGO-Multinational business enterprise linkages. Some aspects of
a study by Jean Meynaud cover the relationship between multinationals and the
EEC . An earlier study  (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..
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. 
The following factors govern the extent of inter-INGO interaction in such-systems.
- individual IGO and INGO desire for autonomy and distinctiveness
- IGO desire to retain some control over the system by strengthening dyadic
relationships as opposed to encouraging inter-INGO relationships.
- IGO desire to encourage inter-INGO relationships to compensate for the
proliferation of interests and reduction of INGO effectiveness through fragmentation
- IGO desire to avoid relating to any INGO not formally recognised
- INGO desire to form dyadic relationships for specific projects
- INGO desire to form a common front to clarify common problems in their relationship
to the IGO agency
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 
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
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 
Table III: Analysis of IGO-INGO System (from
data in the Yearbook of Internationa) Organizations, 1970-71 edition).
This sort of information raises the interesting question as to just how much
overlap between groups is necessary before they should:
- (a) recognise one another
- (b) interact,
- (c) hold joint meetings,
- (d) merge etc.
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:
- 1. Indirect contact via
- 1.1 Common members
- 1.2 Common office-holders (not ex-officio)
- 1.3 Sub-section contact
- 2. Direct contact via
- 2.1. Organization is a member
- 2.2. Joint meetings
- 2.3. Letter/telephone/visits
- 2.4. Funds transfer
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.
- All non-matched cross-links can be eliminated in the most stringent case.
- Those links un-matched due to non-response can be considered matched.
- All links cited by respondents can be considered to exist whether matched
- 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 . 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:
- presence of a link of any type (i.e. multiple interactions treated as one
- presence of multiple links (i.e. multiple interactions totalled)
- 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
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 , 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  on this point makes a distinction between
too dimensions of compactness:
- (a) the proportion of bodies which can ever be contacted by each body in
the network and
- (b) the number of intermediaries that must be traversed to make the contact.
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
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.
It is hoped to use the methods developed by Robert C. Anderson  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:
- differences in the "continuity,' of the network due to different frequencies
of interaction (i.e. if low frequency interactions were ignored the network
would appear much patchier in Figure 2).
- differences due to the type of interaction and the presence simultaneously
(or at different frequencies) of several different interaction types between
two bodies. Clearly an apparently highly interactive body in Figure 2 is shown
in a different light if it involves primarily low frequency single-type interactions
involving exchange of printed matter.
- differences arising because of the directedness of interactions. In some
non-reciprocated interactions this may be due to A sending B information without
receiving any response. A link still exists however.
To convey this amount of information satisfactorily in a comprehensible manner
requires the use of more sophisticated techniques  (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.  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 
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 .
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:
- (a) in the periodicity of transactions along links,
- (b) in the formation and dissolution of links themselves
- (c) in configurational changes due to emergence or disappearance of focal
centres for many links,
- (d) in the emergence and disappearance of ad hoc configurations, and (e)
in the longer term evolution of new types and patterns of linking between
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 . 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"  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'  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
|R. O. Keehane and Joseph S. Nye (Eds). Transnational
Relations and World Politics. International Organization, Summer, 1971 (special
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.
- Association for the Development of European Political Science 107
- Association for the Study of European Problems 112
- Association of Institutes of European Studies 144
- Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 217
- The Club of Rome A
- Conference of International (UNESCO) NGOs 407
- Conference of International (ECOSOC) NGOs 409
- Consortium on Peace Research, Education and Development B
- ECOSOC (NGO Section) C
- European Centre for Coordination of Research and Documentation in
- the Social Sciences 614
- European Consortium for Political Science Research (Essex) D
- Ford Foundation E
- Institute for Strategic Studies 1026
- Institute of International Law 1032
- International Academy of Political Science and Constitutional Law 113
- International Association of Legal Science 1302
- International Association of French Language Sociologists 1286
- International Association of Universities 1363
- International Commission for the History of Representative and
- Parliamentary Institutions 1533
- International Committee for Social Science Documentation 1588
- International Council for Philosophy and Humanistic Studies 1728
- International Cooperation for Socio-Economic Development (CIDSE) 1708
- International Economic Association 1794
- International Institute for Peace (Vienna) 2128
- International Institute of Administrative Sciences 2138
- International Institute of Differing Civilizations 2144
- International Institute of Sociology 2162
- International Law Association 2189
- International Peace Academy Committee F
- International Peace Bureau 2340
- International Peace Research Association 2341
- International Political Science Association 236g
- International Social Science Council 2466
- International Sociological Association 2575
- International Studies Association G
- International Union for Social Studies 2664
- International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences 2687
- International Union of Orientalists 2747
- Latin American Center for Research in the Social Sciences 2866
- Mediterranean Social Sciences Research Council 2951
- Peace Research Society (International) H
- Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs 3148
- Rockefeller Foundation I
- Society for General Systems Research ~
- Society for International Development 3228
- Unesco (Social Sciences Division) K
- Unesco (NGO Section) L
- United Nations Institute for Training and Research 3387
- Union of International Associations 3352
- United Nations Research Institute for Social Development 3388
- Universities and the Quest for Peace 3416
- Vienna Institute for Development 3418
- World Council of Peace 3502
- World Future Society 3546
- World Peace Through Law Center 3572
- World Society for Ekistics 3581
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:
- different but complementary
- similar but supplementary
- having common geographic base or area of action
- having operational difficulties that can best be solved in common
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
- model elaboration continually relating more factors together
- model development
3. Interpretative roles
- communication of insights to other specialists of the domain
- interpretation for neighboring specialist domains (scientific journalism)
- interpretation for program experts
- interpretation for policy formulation
- interpretation for organization's constituency
- interpretation for general public
4. System defining roles
- interrelation of elements of network emerging from different specialists'
- education concerning system
5. Information roles
- provision of information systems able to store, interrelate and supply
data on and for all elements of the network
- provision of widely known channels via which suggestions can be funneled
to an appropriate level for consideration (by-passing units locked into conservative
6. Look-out roles
- detect and define the nature of emerging problems and draw their existence
to the attention of the appropriate bodies in the network
7. Emergency roles
- reorient and rapidly mobilise available organizational resources in the
network in response to crises for which no existing official body in the network
has a clear responsibility
8. Involving roles
- formulate appeals to general public calling for support possibly by clarifying
the human interest and emotional content of the issue
- suggest and facilitate entry of the previously uninvolved to participative
roles in the network .
9. Strategy or policy formulation roles
- clarify the problems likely to emerge on a long-term basis
- formulate long-term strategy for action within the network in the light
of the models and organizational resources available
10. Broker roles 
- assist parties to identify one another, serve as a channel for information
supplementing the parties' own information systems
- negotiate deals between the parties
- clear away institutional, regulatory and administrative debris which stands
in the way of transactions
- maintain a special network cutting across critical elements of the networks
to be dealt with, which would otherwise be disconnected
11. Systems negotiation roles
- ombudsman, guide, middleman or "tolkatch" serving an the vehicle
by which others negotiate a difficult, isolated rigid or fragmented network
12. "Underground', manager roles
- maintains and operates a coherent network across jurisdictional lines,
possibly performing functions having little to do with the formal agencies
13 Manoeuverer roles
- persuades or coerces institutions to make shifts in policy and procedures
to make possible a project that cuts across institutional lines in the network
14. Network manager roles
- oversees official networks, assuring the flows of information, the processes
of referral, tracking and follow-up, and the provision of resources required
for the networks to operate
15. Facilitator roles
- fosters (as consultant, expediter, guide and connector) the development
and interconnection of regional or specialist organizations in the network,
each of which constitutes a variant of central themes of policy or function
- provide the mete functions of training and consultation which enable regional
bodies to establish and maintain their own networks
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  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
- (a) emphasis on the contribution of special knowledge, competence, and experience
by any appropriate transnational organization to the common task of any ad
hoc group of transnational organizations set up for a specific task
- (b) the "realistic" nature of the program of any transnational organization
which is seen as set by its perception of the most significant problems for
which it is competent, in terms of the information which it has managed to
- (c) the adjustment and continual redefinition by each transnational organization
of its programs through interaction with and in response to others: the network
is conceived as constantly changing and evolving, sub-networks of transnational
organizations with a special interest in common come into existence for any
required period; transnational organizations may each be participating in
any number of such partial networks; partial networks are deliberately terminated
when no longer useful
- (d) the shedding of "responsibility" as a limited field of rights, obligations,
and methods (e.g. world problems may not be systematically ignored as being
some other organization's sole responsibility)
- (e) the spread of commitment of a transnational organization to society
as a whole beyond any technical definition of programs or legal definitions
of constitution or statutes
- (f) a network structure of control, authority, and communication; the sanctions
which apply to the individual transnational association's conduct in its working
relations derive more from presumed community of interest with the rest of
the network in the survival and evolution of the open society, and less from
any temporary contractual relationship between the Organization and. some
body recognised as coordinator for the program in question
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.
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.
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,
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.
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
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.
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.
Stafford Beer. The Cybernetic Cytoblast: management itself. September 1969 (Chairman's Address
to the International Cybernetics Congress)
Scott A. Boorman:
- The Protracted Game; a wei ch'i approach to Mao's revolutionary strategy. Oxford University Press, 1971
- Outline and bibliography of approaches to the formal study
of social networks. Harvard University, 1973 Discusion Paper 89 87
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
- Complexity; its constraints on social innovation. Transnational
Associations, 29, April 1977, 4, pp. 120-125; 5, pp. 178-189 (Introductory
reports for a panel on complexity at for a meeting of the International Foundation
for Social Innovation, Paris, 1977) [text]
- International organization networks: a complementary perspective.
In: Paul Taylor and A J R Groom (Eds). International Organizations; a concepts
approach. 1978 (See also: Transnational Associations, 1977, 9 and 10)
- International organizations; diversity, borderline cases, functional substitutes and possible alternatives. In: Paul Taylor and A J R Groom reference 18 [text]
- Nature of organization in transnational networks. Journal
of Voluntary Action Research, 1, 3, Summer 1972 (abridged version of a
paper presented to the annual convention of the International Studies Association,
Dallas, 1972) [text]
- Practical problems in using the potential of INGO networks.
In: The Future of Transnational Associations from the standpoint of the New
World Order. Brussels, Union of International Associations, 1977 [text]
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