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The Als Association

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The ALS Association

Hannah Parry

SOCI 3377: Organizations & Their Environments
Dr. Campbell
February 12, 2016

The ALS Association is a national non-profit organization dedicated to spreading awareness and finding a cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing patients to lose the ability to control muscle movement (ALSA.org 2016). The cause of the disease is still unknown and while medication and therapy can treat the symptoms and progression of the disease, there is still no cure. The ALS Association works through research, public education, care services, and public policy initiatives towards finding a cure and supporting the many people affected by the disease. Based in Washington D.C., the ALS Association is comprised of a headquarters, association chapters at the local level, and a national network of certified treatment facilities. In existence for more than a quarter of a century, the organization was thrust in the spotlight and subjected to increased scrutiny with the wildly successful “ALS ice bucket challenge” that swept social media in 2014. Is the ALS a disciplined Weberian bureaucracy or an organic grassroots organization challenging hierarchy and bureaucratic rules as detailed in the Neo-Weberian model articulated by Charles Perrow? Analysis of the organization, along with the wild popularity and financial gain from the ice bucket challenge, reveals that the organization is a dynamic combination of both Weber’s ideal type bureaucracy and a collection of passionate individuals whose autonomous freedom catapulted the association’s funding and visibility.
German sociologist Max Weber considered bureaucracy an ideal type- the most efficient and rational form- for the structure and management of organizations. He claimed that…...

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