Association: Meaning, Characteristics, Examples and Overview

An association can be called a group of people who come together to achieve any particular purpose or goal and that too for a limited period of time. An association is different from a normal group or team in the way that it sticks to formal space.

association meaning

Where a group is just a collection of people who do not have any common purpose a team is a group with purpose but not necessarily working informal space. It also differs from the community, for in a community people keep adding spontaneously unlike in association where all men work under the supervision of a person.

In order to form an association, firstly, there should be a group of people; secondly, these people need to be organized and should be worked according to the given specifications and rules in order to give the successful output. Music clubs and trade unions can be considered as examples of associations.

There could be various bases on which associations could be formed like: on the basis of the time period which determines whether it will be permanent or temporary. Like an association formed for a Flood Relief activities is temporary while that for state matters is permanent. It also can be formed on the basis of power like autonomous like state, semi-autonomous like universities and non-tribal autonomous like clubs. Thirdly it could be formed to carry out different functions like: music clubs association are formed for the recreational purpose, sports association for athletics or games like tennis, teacher’s association and trade union for vocational training, biological like family and altruistic like charitable societies.

Different intellectuals define association depending on various  motives and understanding:

The Law Dictionary defines it as, “The act of a number of persons who unite or join together for some special purpose or business.”

Ginsberg writes, “An association is a group of social beings related to one another by the fact that they possess or have instituted in common an organization with a view to securing specific end or specific ends.”

  1. D. H. Cole says, “By an association, I mean any group of persons pursuing a common purpose by a course of corporative action extending beyond a single act and for this purpose agreeing together upon certain methods of procedure, and laying down, in, however, rudimentary a form, rule for common action.”

Read: Institutions: Meaning, Characteristics, Types, Functions

Essential characteristics of an Association include:

  1. It’s a concrete structure:

Because the people come together to fulfil one common aim, it keeps them united and thus gives the concreteness for no one backs out before the accomplishment of the task or work in hand. This teaches the members how to take up different roles according to their capabilities and work responsibly.

  1. It is established:

Like a community, the association does not grow in size spontaneously rather the specified number of people are only decided upon and finalized who then work in progress within the frame of time. Also, they all work under a head whereas in the community each person is independent of their ideas. The association sets their rules and regulations, usually, the head may give the outline of these rules in consensus with other experienced members of the association. The remaining members of subordinates then work around these rules to satisfy their motive.

Thus they have to follow a ‘code of conduct.’ However, these rules are flexible and can go under required changes if the creator of the association desires to in case he finds that the desired result is not being obtained.

  1. The aim is determined:

In order to maintain the identity of their association, they always set aim. Basically, they find solutions to problems. For example, a dramatic association’s aim naturally will be to perform plays and dramas on stage.

4. Followers are the members:

No association’s head can work with disobedient members. There’s a code of conduct to be followed which shouldn’t be breached. Only those who stick to the guidelines are made a part in the pursuit of the aim for they manage to achieve the trust of their superior as employees. And they are given the recognition as the members.

Anyone who disowns the obligations as a member usually causes a loss of his membership by being expelled. It is important to support the association’s laws and not criticize them. Members should know to cooperate with one another otherwise there’s no point of keeping such a member of the group.

  1. Membership is voluntary:

No one can be forced to participate in the working of the association. A person does it only because he wants to hence it’s a voluntary decision. This is because an association is not like any other state’s or society’s essential organization where a person becomes liable to work for it. Neither do they feel responsible to participate after knowing that it’s based on common ideology and natural ground?

Because of being a voluntary action, every person is answerable for his own deeds and results. Also, the person is free to back out if he thinks that the purpose for which he joined is not being seriously worked for.

For example, a sports association is there which is not working looking after the players’ needs and a considerate person joins it with a purpose to help the players. But finding that he’s not been given the liberty to execute plans in a benefit for the players, he might back out for he realizes he can work more freely without being associated with it. The person can also freely change his political party or an organization if he wants to.

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