Universal Mechanisms in the Growth of Voluntary Organizations
We analyze the growth statistics of Swedish trade unions and find a universal functional form for the probability distribution of growth rates of union size, and a power law dependence of the standard deviation of this distribution on the number of members of the union. We also find that the typical size and the typical number of local chapters scales as a power law of the union size. Intriguingly, our results are similar to results reported for other human organizations of a quite different nature. Our findings are consistent with the possibility that universal mechanisms may exist governing the growth patterns of human organizations.