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Every day of our lives, we participate in groups. Groups have many different formsformal, informal, organized, structured, ad-hoc, local, national, and every other form imaginable. Many, but not all, groups have structural and operational guidelines. How does a group of people function as an organization? How do they accomplish their goals when each member has their own agenda, focus, concern, or idea about how to reach the goals?

Bylaws define the boundaries and are rules governing the internal operation of the organization. Bylaws often provide the methods for the selection of directors, the creation of committees, and the conduct of meetings. Bylaws are the formal governing rules of the organization. They are like enabling legislation which creates the framework for implementing the law.

Bylaws and Standard Operating Procedures or Policies And Procedures are essential documents for ongoing organizations. To ensure equality, fairness, and consistency, these written documents compliment one another to describe an organization and how it functions. For an organization to continue, the members must agree on how they will function in an organized manner and consensus on organized behavior is reflected in the written documents of bylaws and SOP/PAPs. These documents define the parameters of the organization’s concern, the boundaries of operation, expanse of authority, and accepted behaviors of members. While these documents may not solve all problems that arise in an organization, the bylaws and Standard Operating Procedures or Policies And Procedures allow for a process to address problems or concerns.

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