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Göran Ahrne and Nils Brunsson

A growing number of organizations are meta-organizations; rather than individuals they have other organizations as their members. This comprehensive book explains, in-depth, the unique way in which meta-organizations function, how they differ from organizations with individual membership, and how they are crucial agents in the process of globalization.
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Chapter 2: Many Meta-organizations

Göran Ahrne and Nils Brunsson


1. Organized organizations All over the world, the media report daily on the debates and decisions in organizations such as the United Nations (UN), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the European Union (EU), and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), and the meanings of their acronyms and abbreviations are familiar to newspaper readers around the planet. A number of similar organizations are less generally known: the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Universal Postal Union (UPU), and the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), for example. There are yet other organizations known by few people outside their own memberships: the Confederation of International Soft Drinks Associations (CISDA), the International Egg Commission (IEC), and the International Cremation Federation (ICF), for instance. The existence of these organizations is both an expression and a result of what is usually called the globalization of our contemporary world. Even as globalization has contributed to the growth of these organizations, the organizations have, in turn, contributed greatly to globalization. Several of them have been of crucial importance in the coordination of technical and administrative systems around the world. The technical inventions in transportation and communications, which are usually held to be driving forces for increased global contact, would not have exerted their major impact without organization. We take for granted that we can send a letter to any country by going into a post office, buying a stamp, and dropping the letter into a post box. But...

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