If participants' control of authority and resources is limited in the Gülen Movement, how do individuals manage to carry out their duties?
People in the Gülen Movement tend to belong to many networks at the same time and each of these networks will have a greater or lesser number of people in it who take part with different levels of engagement.
For this reason, the networks can always find extra workers and volunteers and assign work or tasks to those who are most suited. This also means that a task or a responsibility will be performed by one worker or volunteer in one SMO and by another in another SMO, whether it is near or far away. While this duplication means that no single person or SMO can gain control of all authority or resources in a particular field, it is also a source of support and collegiality. All this prevents exploitation of the positions, authority and resources assigned to individuals. It provides some kind of inner supervision by all and makes one accountable to all.
The individuals who have assumed projects are continually supervised and supported cognitively, motivationally and, when it is necessary, materially to complete the projects. This provides people with strong incentives, solidarity, cohesion and exchange of experiences among components. Therefore no one is accused personally of a failure but all marshal the support, direction, consensus and resources necessary for the collective action.
Projects are selected for their practicability, legality and effectiveness. They are not exploited for a ‘politics of signification’, that is, in order to gain ascendancy over others or to move up in some existing hierarchy of constituency, class, politics or credibility, that is, projects are not selected for prestige nor for their potential to be attention-grabbing.
On why individuals may choose to participate in a particular project, motivational factors include the social heterogeneity of the participants, their geographical dispersion, and the formalization and institutionalization of the Movement in over one hundred countries. Individuals perceive their identity and Movement services to be in a high degree of accord within their life space and the world at large. Their own and the Movement’s orientations, interests and values are congruent and complementary. Moreover, as the Movement’s goals and worldview do not depart much from mainstream or pre-existing prospects at hand, participants readily incorporate their energies into the Movement’s collective action. Almost a thousand educational and cultural institutions world-wide are considered proof of this.
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