Organisation and governance of community-led initiatives

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(potential storyline: legal form and space, decision making process, management and conflict resolution; structure: general CLI view to individual network and from European to national, in case it is interesting. Nevertheless, take the countries interesting information to the countries pages)

  • The most common organizational form of a CBI is a cooperative. This is evenly distributed among the represented countries. [1]
  • A quarter of the initiatives declared the absence of a legal form, often presenting it as an identifying characteristic of their organisation, as any assigned legal status could put boundaries to their activities or contradict their attempt to develop an alternative way to manage resources and relationships.[1]
  • Out of 63 community-based initiatives, 15 have no office spaces dedicated to the initiative (two in the UK, three in Finland, three in Germany, three in Italy, four in Romania), which means that their members work and/or meet at home or in a “public space loaned/free use” in order to run the initiative and their activities. The remaining CBIs make use of an indoor space which may be an office or other kind of space. Out of 63 CBIs, only 14.3% have access to land or another outdoor space. [1]
  • In most cases, the decision-making process is based on full participation and consensus. In cases like these, the goal of the process is to find common ground and to stimulate discussions until the group reaches mutual agreement by addressing all concerns. [1]
  • In some cases decision-making is more structured. It might be based on general assemblies, meeting of the board of directors, committees, etc. CBIs requiring more professionalism, lobbying and policy making activities, tend to have a more hierarchical organisational structure.[1]

Note: Though consensus can take longer than other decision-making methods, it also fosters creativity, cooperation and commitment to final decisions and activities. In particular, the group participants of the CBI can often be split into small sub-operational groups, each one responsible for organizing and carrying out one or more specific activities/tasks. [1]

  • TN
    • "Transition initiatives consider that among the organisation factors, two areas can be distinguished: outreach and internal group management" [2]
    • "The majority of transition initiatives (64%) were constituted in a legal form and were officially recognised by the Transition Network (57%). On average, it took transition initiatives 10 months to become official." [2]

"Conflicts were, in general, minor and resolved. 49 transition initiatives had had no significant conflict. Reasons for conflicts were i) strategy, direction and priorities of the transition initiative (55 transition initiatives), ii) decision-making, responsibilities or internal management (including time management and leadership) (36 transition initiatives), iii) issues in a specific project (e.g. how to develop an activity) (25 transition initiatives), iv) personalities (9 transition initiatives), and v) communication with other actors (how to do it and what message to communicate) (7 transition initiatives). The vastly predominant strategy for conflict resolution was based on discussion, mediation and consensus-building, which either followed a formal or a more spontaneous protocol, but in several cases (10 transition initiatives) one or more persons left the group after the conflict (not shown in table)." [2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Celata, F., Hendrickson, C., 2016. Case study integration report (TESS Project Deliverable No. 4.1).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Feola, G., Nunes, R., 2014. Success and failure of grassroots innovations for addressing climate change: The case of the Transition Movement. Global Environmental Change 24, 232–250.