Where does the strength or efficacy of the service networks come from?

Fethullah Gülen

Networks are the basis on which movements are built, and they perform different kinds of functions – as means of teaching people about the values of the movement, of reinforcing social cohesion or solidarity, of exchanging information and of organizing activities. In Hizmet’s service-networks there are no written rules, no fixed procedures, no formal leadership and there is no fixed structure of bureaus. Authority comes from the collective decision-taking. Decisions on what to do are taken locally or in an individual project-network. The networks attract supporters or adherents who are often more committed than those who have formal membership of political parties, and the efficacy resulting from this commitment is what gives service-networks strength and efficacy.

However, as Hizmet becomes an organic part of society in some fields it crystallizes into a professional structure. Formal organization brings disciplined participation and coordination of strategies for achieving the Gülen Movement’s aims. In fact, Hizmet is a successful combination of both informal service networks and institutionalized services, such as aid and relief organizations, schools and dialogue societies, in which everything is registered and by fixed and written rules and procedures and regulations; some service fields naturally require informal networks and people and their unregistered contribution, some necessitate formalized, institutionalized networks, and some require both.

As for the management of formalized structures, all the institutions in Hizmet are independent corporate bodies. There is no formal relationship among educational institutions or the other institutions, both within and outside Turkey, except where there is a chain run by an educational or charitable trust. However, the institutions do disperse news of their accomplishments through the mass media and promotions. In this way, ideas and thoughts that arise from a commitment to the same feelings can be shared and owned by all.

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