How is leadership practiced in the local service-networks?

Fethullah Gülen

As different demands arise, they enter the local decision-making process, which is open to the participation and control of various parts of the network locally or regionally. Continuous, active, democratic, and enduring participation is encouraged, and this does not let a large and inactive base finance a small number of managerial or active leaders, a primary cadre or main organization. The democratic decision-making process naturally prevents any leader or organization from demanding or taking control of an unwarranted or unfair proportion of the resources available within the network. However, this quality of justice or equity within service-projects and networks does not stop people from having various degrees of commitment, specialization, formalization and professionalization.

If we take the educational institutions as an example, they are typically governed by an association which is regulated by law. The members of the association choose a board of directors and a chair person, who all serve for fixed periods. The board meets regularly and must approve all major decisions concerning hiring of teachers, educational curriculum, and policy. Associations in each city or town are responsible for organizing and maintaining their own schools, centers and other SMOs. There is no central record-keeping office for Gülen-inspired institutions and SMOs.

The relationship between Fethullah Gülen and the institutions and SMOs is one of inspiration rather than direct leadership because the Movement is decentralized. Consensus is as important as inspiration for participants; many participants in centers and schools are there just because they believe in what the centers are doing, not necessarily because they are inspired by Gülen. Some have little or no awareness of Fethullah Gülen or his teaching.

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