The concept of a community form is drawn upon in many subfields of organizational theory. Although there is not much convergence on a level of analysis, there is convergence on a mode of action that is increasingly relevant to a knowledge-based economy marked by porous and shifting organizational boundaries. We argue that communities play an underappreciated role in organizational theory – critical not only to occupational identity, knowledge transfer, sense-making, social support, innovation, problem-solving, and collective action but also, enabled by information technology, increasingly providing socioeconomic value – in areas once inhabited by organizations alone. Hence, we posit that organizations may be in the shadow of communities. Rather than push for a common definition, we link communities to an organization's evolution: its birth, growth, and death. We show that communities represent both opportunities and threats to organizations and conclude with a research agenda that more fully accounts for the potential of community forms to be a creator (and a possible destroyer) of value for organizations.
O'Mahony, S. and Lakhani, K.R. (2011), "Organizations in the Shadow of Communities", Marquis, C., Lounsbury, M. and Greenwood, R. (Ed.) Communities and Organizations (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 33), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 3-36. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0733-558X(2011)0000033004Download as .RIS
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