• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Grassroots Associations is a comprehensive review and critique of empirical and theoretical research on grassroots, nonprofit and voluntary organizations. David Horton Smith examines in depth the distinctive nature and characteristics of a previously under-studied area which includes such groups as Alchoholics Anonymous, community-environmental action committees and church Bible study groups. He addresses: group formation, structure, process, leadership, and life cycle change; effectiveness; the influence such associations have on society; the future of grassroots associations, which he sees as integral to a postmodern society moving towards participatory democracy, self-determinism and individual choice.

Life Cycle Changes
Life cycle changes

This chapter focuses on the trends in grassroots association (GA) complexity and other GA characteristics over time, the causes of these changes, and alternative approaches that GAs may take to resist organizational complexity change pressures and other life cycle change pressures. Whereas Chapters 4 to 7 were concerned with GA incentive, structure, process, and leadership factors at one stage of development, this chapter focuses on time-series views of such factors.


Complexity is a summary term that I have chosen to capture a wide range of structural and process characteristics of GAs (or any organizations) that deal broadly with the elaboration and rationalization of group structure and process. My own general view here is that increasing complexity reflects a growing seriousness about ...

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