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Module Five: Organizational Structure 

On-line Lesson

Three Sectors: park and recreation organizations can be found in three sectors, each with unique governance, financial resources and organizational characteristics. These sectors are:

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public: are formed through legislation at the local (municipal city or county), state and federal levels.

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non-profit: these organizations provide services and meet a need in a community. They may also be called quasi-public or semipublic organizations.

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commercial: are profit motivated businesses which separates them from public or non-profits organizations.

PUBLIC RECREATION AND PARK AGENCIES

The provision of park and recreation services by municipal, state and federal agencies is interpreted from the Declaration of Independence: …. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Special park and recreation laws: empower communities to provide park and recreation services through a governing structure, taxing authority, hiring and supervision of staff. Usually deal with specific types of facilities.

Regulatory laws: seek to control license censor or supervise recreation programs to protect public safety, health, and well-being of those individuals involved in specified activities. Permits or sanitation.

Enabling laws: the most important type of legislation for leisure services. Specify that local governments can acquire, develop, operate, and maintain recreation facilities and services. These laws are written as permissive, they allow the community to determine whether they will offer these services and to what degree. They do not mandate the establishment of these services.

Special District laws: allows two or more municipalities or other political subdivisions to establish of special single-purpose autonomous, separate units of government (park and recreation departments), granted with its own taxing authority.

Home Rule Legislation: allows local subdivisions of government to determine their own form. This form of legislation may include parks and recreation services as part of a base structure.

Characteristics of Local Government-Sponsored Agencies

Local government leisure-service programs have several types of legal structures:

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separate recreation departments, operating under their own boards or commissions or reporting directly to mayors or city managers;

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separate parks departments, operating under their own boards or commissions or reporting directly to mayors or city managers;

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school-sponsored programs, which may be linked to adult education activities;

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combined recreation and park departments;

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other municipal or county agencies, youth boards, housing authorities, welfare departments, or police assistance leagues.

Joint Operations: Many city or county agencies have entered into joint or cooperative ventures with non-profit and/or commercial organizations. The City of Mesa, Arizona, has opened a 30,000 sq. ft. recreation center which is a joint operation between the Boys and Girls Club (non-profit) and the City Parks and Recreation Department. Both organizations operate within the facility. Some cities have contracted with private enterprise to provide recreation services.

Roles of Boards and Commissions: groups established to oversee and direct the work of the agency in general policy or in daily management operations. These groups serve by appointment from the city/county governing boards or by election. Their purpose is to interpret the work, define the mission of the local recreation departments and promote financial support from citizens and political groups. Also to develop plans to meet current and future park and recreation needs of the community.

Public Agency Boards/Commissions: Three categories:

  1. Independent bodies with authority to establish and supervise agency policies;

  2. Semi-independent bodies with the authority to make policy but dependent on a higher governmental body to provide funding and to whom they will report;

  3. Advisory boards/commissions have limited authority, primarily to review and recommend policy, but without any authority to enforce its decisions.

NONPROFIT SECTOR RECREATION ORGANIZATIONS

The majority of voluntary non-profit organizations are established as 501 organization to gain charitable tax exemption status from federal and state income tax. In order to qualify, the organization must operate exclusively for one or more of the following purposes:

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Charitable

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Religious

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Educational

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Scientific

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Literary

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Testing for Public Safety

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Fostering national or international amateur sports competition

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The prevention of cruelty to children or animals

Non-profits may organize as a coalition, an unincorporated trust, or a corporation. Examples of non-profits include: YMCA, YWCA, Girl Guides, 4H, Boys & Girls Club.

Three steps to create a non-profit

  1. articles of incorporation

  2. bylaws

  3. tax-exempt status

The primary form of revenue for 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6) organizations are private and government grants and tax deductible donations.

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501 (c)(3): the most common recreation-related organization. It is only type of 501 that is prohibited from any political activity.

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501 (c)(4): a civic leagues, social welfare organizations, and local associations of employees.

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501 (c)(6): business leagues, chamber of commerce, real estate boards and boards of trade.

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501 (c)(7): Social clubs organized for recreation and other purposes for the benefit of their members.

COMMERCIAL SECTOR

This sector consists of profit-motivated businesses.

Sole Proprietorship: a business owned and operated by one person. The simplest and least expensive form for an individual to start. Owner is personally responsible for all debts, taxes and liability.

General Partnership: an association of two or more individuals as co-owners. All partners have unlimited personal liability.

Limited Partnership: Similar to the general partnership except there are two classes of partners.

bulletGeneral Partners are responsible for the daily operation of the company and have unlimited personal liability.
bulletLimited partners invest in the company, do not manage the company and are liable only up the amount of their investment.

Corporation: Is a separate legal and taxable entity. It is the most complex form of organization. Owners are stockholders with no personal liability.

S Corporation: "Subchapter S Corporation" is a normal corporation, but who’s stockholders may not number more than 35, have limited liability and report profits on their personal taxes. S Corporations are limited to one primary area or endeavor.

Four Types of Commercial Recreation

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Travel/Transportation Industry: primary function is the movement of people.

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Hospitality Industry: primary function the provision of accommodations, Food & Beverage.

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Local Commercial Recreation Industry: retail products, entertainment and recreation programs.

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Facilitators: businesses which support the three main industries.

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE, DESIGN, AND CULTURE

Organizational structure defines how job tasks are formally divided, grouped and coordinated (Robbins, 1997, p.192).

Organizational structure is defined by:

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Work specialization

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Departmentalization

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Chain of command

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Span of Control

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Centralization

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Formalization

Organizational Design

An organizational chart represents the administrative units and chain of command for that organization but NOT the actual relationships and processes that exist within the organization.

Two Elements within the System Structure

1) The formal structure, arranges all of the units and employees into a chain of command and identified work functions.

2) The informal structure, recognizes the working relationships between different work units based on cooperative planning and decision-making.

Common Structures

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simple structure; is a flat organization (see pg. 99).

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bureaucracies; highly formalized jobs guided by rules, regulations and policies.

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team-based design; work teams break down traditional barriers and department structures and move decision making to a team level.

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centralized approach; different unit directors respond to their own directors or division heads who report to a higher-level supervisor. Areas are organized by major functions such as finance, human resource, public relations, transportation, etc.

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self-contained unit; all of the functions necessary to provide a service is combined into one autonomous department.

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hybrid structure; has some local control while certain authority is retained at a corporate headquarters.

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matrix structure; units where both functional and self-contained approaches operate simultaneously.

Sample Organizational Chart

Organizational Culture is the shared norms, values, beliefs, and expectations that bind employees together and distinguish the agency from others. It is the personality of the organization.

Working with Boards

Boards are the governing bodies within agencies. The three types of boards are:

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independent, have the most responsibility and authority.

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semi-independent, are only in the public sector where the members are appointed by the City council to work directly with the recreation department.

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advisory, this has the least amount of authority and responsibility.

 

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