In every organisation, there is a group to whom the organisation owes its existence. We often talk of the ‘owners’, since in a commercial organisation it is the owners, literally, who cause the enterprise to come into being and to have a particular purpose. But there is an equivalent group for every enterprise, commercial or not, public or private, whatever its status in the law and the community – even canon law includes the notion of a ‘juridic person’ (sometimes termed a ‘public juridic person’), something separate to the religious institute members that make it up from time to time.
This is crucial to the governance responsibilities of the board (again, or its equivalent, responsible to direct the organisation as opposed to running it from day to day). The board is not an unfettered free agent, with carte blanche to do what it likes: the board remains responsible to the owners for realising the purpose for which the organisation exists (and, of course, operating within the law!).
In this brief, we take a quick look down the microscope at what happens when an organisation is spawned, and provide some memory joggers about related concepts for organisation leaders to keep in mind for their work.