Organizational Characteristics of Voluntary Associations in Kanagawa, Japan

Gen Miyagaki, Kaori Fukazawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The purpose of this paper is to define the organizational characteristics of voluntary associations and grass-roots organizations (NPO) in Japan by a quantitative survey and by clarifying their organizational structures. First, with respect to formalization of the organization, it appears that the differences in the scale of the organization are greater than the fields and forms of the activities. If the scale is related to the degree of formalization, we can consider that the “invisibility” which describes the present situation of voluntary associations as a result of being small. However, if we look at the changes in the organizational structure and their activities, one will know such a result is not always true. Over 80% of the organizations have begun new activities. As the structures of the organizations change, we cannot conclude that the voluntary associations are merely immature. More likely, the action of the formalizing process depending on the organizational scale competes with the action of changing the definition of formalization. Second, when we analyzed the actual situation of the innovation, we discovered that the emergence of the new activities was related to whether and how strongly they related externally. Particularly, in the case of providing human and social welfare services, the stronger the relationship with the caretaker (client) is, the more new activities emerge. If so, this leads to the next hypothesis, that the origins of the innovation in these organizations are demanded by what the external relationship should be. International Journal of Japanese Sociology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-68
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Japanese Sociology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Nov
Externally publishedYes


  • Dynamism of organizational structure
  • Organizational characteristics
  • Voluntary association

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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