The Central Outpost
Democratic Organizational Structure
by "MadMardigan"
July 23, 2006

Currently my clan is on what we would consider as a democratic orginizational structure. In this article, I will detail how our guild is set up and you can decide if this will best benefit your guild. I will list all of the advantages and disadvantages to being democratic. I will also go into a brief recolection of my experiences in and leading other guilds with different structures.

First I would like to state that although democracy may appear as the best way to set up your guild, you must consider that it is really only useful if you're a rather large guild (20+) and you can organize and communicate efficiently.

Most guild masters will agree that communication is the key element to running a successful guild. Most of the time you're going to get many people from all over the world with many different opinions than yours. As a good GM you should remain objective and keep your mind open to new ideas. The democratic organizational structure requires this to be effective.

First step in creating the democratic structure, you must decide how you wish to set it up. Below I will detail PA's structure and explain their functions. You can best decide on your own.

Since PA has a rather large membership, we have nine pantheons, or councilor members. Basically the pantheons run the day-to-day operations of the guild. They make sure things get done. Pantheons are elected every year by the members, this way the members determine who they want to represent them.

The pantheons have their own separate private meeting area where they can discus and vote on an array of different issues that the guild may face. The pantheons do this so the members don't have to.

Our pantheons also nominate one person we call the grand pantheon. The GP is basically the figurehead of the guild. You can give him/her certain powers that the pantheons don't have. In PA, the GP has some authority, but we also limit that authority greatly to prevent a dictatorship. The GP is subject to the will of the other pantheons.

For your guild, you as the GM could keep yourself as the permanent figurehead and be the one to make the final decision. Great! Afterall, its your guild. I warn you though: remain open and do not shoot down ideas just because you don't like them. You as the leader must make decisions in the best interest of the members, afterall you want them to stay. If members feel they aren't being heard, they will most likely become inactive (your least problem) or become hostile and may withdraw from the guild along with many other members who feel the same way (your biggest problem).

In a democratic organization, you want your members to participate. You must fill them in on what you and the councilors are discussing and how they've been voted on. Keep your members informed! In PA, the GP is required to write a monthly State of the Guild and present it to all members.

That is an example of the structure you may want to set up in your guild. The democratic structure, I believe, is the best way to run a guild. Members join a guild so they have others to play their games with. Members usually don't want to get involved with guild politics, they just want to play. Using the democratic structure, you give them the chance to become part of the guild and not just someone who's there to play and nothing else.

In most cases members join a guild not only to play a game with others, but also to be a part of your guild. Most members care about the guild and would like to help. By being democratic and open, you're telling all members and potential members that yes, they will be heard.

Another form of guild structure I have seen and been a part of is the Dictatorship.

In a dictatorship guild, one leader makes all decisions. The leader usually becomes egotistical and may not listen to different opinions or the members. If this happens, the guild usually fails in a heap of flames and insults.

The democratic structure is usually what all guilds evolve into over time. There are varrying degrees of member involvement with the organization though. For instance, you may not wish for the members to elect the councilors.

All successful guilds I've seen have had some amount of democracy, openess, and good communication between leadership and members. Most of leadership is intuitive, you either have it or you don't. You'll know.