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An entity, such as a firm, an institution, or an association, including one or more individuals and having a specific purpose is referred to as an organisation. In Commonwealth English, the word "organisation" is used instead.

The term originates from the Greek word organon, which may be translated as either a tool or an instrument, as well as a musical instrument and an organ.

Corporations, governments, non-governmental organisations, political organisations, international organisations, armed forces, charities, not-for-profit corporations, partnerships, cooperatives, and educational institutions are some examples of the different legal types of organisations that exist.

A hybrid organisation is a group that functions in both the public sector and the private sector concurrently, performing public obligations and establishing commercial market operations. Examples of hybrid organisations include government agencies, nonprofit organisations, and for-profit businesses.

Volunteers make up the members of an organisation that is known as a voluntary association. Depending on the jurisdiction, certain types of organisations, such as informal clubs or coordinating bodies, may be able to function without adhering to legal formalities. These organisations have a goal in mind, which they may express in the form of a manifesto, mission statement, or in an informal manner that is reflected in what they do. Keep in mind that every action taken by an organisation, whether legal or illegal, reflects that organization's goal in mind.

It is also possible for groups to do their business covertly or unlawfully, as is the case with criminal organisations, underground movements, and secret societies. And in some circumstances, there may be roadblocks posed by other groups (for example, MLK's organisation).

Incorporation (for a business) or recognition in the form of either societal pressure (for example, an advocacy group) or causing concerns (for example, a resistance movement) or being considered the spokesperson of a group of people subject to negotiation are the three ways that an organisation can become recognised by the government. Recognition in the form of societal pressure (for example, an advocacy group) or causing concerns (for example, a resistance movement) is another way (ex: the Polisario Front being recognised as the sole representative of the Sahawri people and forming a partially recognised state.)

Compare this to the idea of social groupings, which may even include unorganised gatherings.

Although the terms "organisation" and "institution" are sometimes used interchangeably, author Jack Knight argues that "organisations are a narrow version of institutions or represent a cluster of institutions." Although the terms "organisation" and "institution" are sometimes used interchangeably, "organisation" and "institution" are not the same thing because (that govern interactions between the members of the organizations).