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Is the sharing economy a field? Answering this question is crucial to understanding how sharing organizations look and behave, as well as how the sharing economy might…
Is the sharing economy a field? Answering this question is crucial to understanding how sharing organizations look and behave, as well as how the sharing economy might develop. In this chapter, the authors applied two different field conceptions – organizational field and issue field – as a starting point for an explorative empirical analysis. To capture both field concepts, the authors collected relational data and data on organizations’ self-representations to see how organizations engaged in the debate on the sharing economy relate to each other. The observed network of organizations suggests that the sharing economy is an issue field. In addition, the core of this network shows the relational structure of an organizational field. Surprisingly, it is not an organizational field of the sharing economy. Instead, it is a field of organizations heavily engaged in proselytizing new organizational forms that will change other fields. What the authors observed is a new field configuration – the authors call it a disruptive field – that is, less inward-oriented than other fields but much more engaged in changing other fields’ structures and dynamics. With these insights, the authors contribute to institutional research on field configuration and shed light on the phenomenon of the sharing economy and its potential development.
Seeking an answer to the question “how does organizational identity change?” we analyze the visual identity marker of universities, namely logos, as time-related artifacts…
Seeking an answer to the question “how does organizational identity change?” we analyze the visual identity marker of universities, namely logos, as time-related artifacts embodying visual scripts. Engaging with the Stinchcombe hypothesis, we identify five processes to the creation of visual identities of organizations: In addition to (1) imprinting (enactment of the contemporary script) and (2) imprinting-cum-inertia (persistent enactment of epochal scripts), we also identify (3) renewal (enactment of an up-to-date epochal script), (4) historization (enactment of a recovered older epochal script), and (5) multiplicity (simultaneous enactment of multiple epochal scripts). We argue that these processes work together to produce contemporary heterogeneity of visualized identity narratives of universities. We illustrate this, first, with a survey of the current-day logos of 814 university emblems in 20 countries from across the world. Second, drawing on archival and interview materials, we analyze the histories of exemplar university logos to illustrate the various time-related processes. Therefore, by interjecting history – as both time and process – into the analysis of the visualization of organizational identity, we both join with the phenomenological and semiotic analysis of visual material as well as demonstrate that history is not merely a fixed factor echoing imprinting and inertia but rather also includes several forms of engagement with temporality that are less deterministic. Overall, we argue that enactment engages with perceptions of time (imaginations of the past, present, and future) and with perceptions fixed by time (epochal imprinting and inertia) to produce heterogeneity in the visualization of organizational identity.
Over the last years, and under the umbrella of the “sharing economy,” various new social practices and novel business models have been established worldwide. Such…
Over the last years, and under the umbrella of the “sharing economy,” various new social practices and novel business models have been established worldwide. Such practices and models are perceived both as opportunity and challenge for existing (urban) public governance regimes. It is in this sense that the sharing economy has become a contested issue and regularly provokes bold governance responses. However, local governing authorities first need to interpret, negotiate, and establish what exactly is “at issue” in order to (re-)act adequately. While such “politics of signification” are well-studied, for instance, in social movements and public media discourse, research on the concerted framing activities of public administrations as well as on the strategic work that sets the stage for public policy-making is relatively sparse – and entirely lacking for the context of the sharing economy. In this chapter, the authors look behind the scenes of the policy-making in the City of Vienna, Austria. The empirical findings unearth six distinct mechanisms –“delimiting,” “negotiating,” “detailing,” “linking,” “justifying,” and “situating” – that are strategically applied to shape the “Viennese way” of governing the sharing economy. This research develops an in-depth understanding of what the authors conceptually dub “strategic issue work”: the manifold efforts that lead to, and underlie, in this case, the policy-making of a local government when it tries to come to terms with the governance challenges of the sharing economy.
Organizational fields are shaped by both the relations that organizations forge and the language they express. The structure and discourse of organizational fields have…
Organizational fields are shaped by both the relations that organizations forge and the language they express. The structure and discourse of organizational fields have been studied before, but seldom in combination. We offer a methodological approach that integrates relations and expressions into a comprehensive visualization.
By mapping networks and discourse as co-constitutive, the method illuminates the mechanisms active in organizational fields. We utilize social impact evaluation as an issue field shaped by the presence of an interstitial community, and compare this structure with simulated alternative field configurations.
The simulations reveal that variation in organizations’ openness to adopting concepts from adjacent meaning systems alters field configurations: differentiation manifests under conditions of low overall openness, whereas moderate receptivity produces hybridizations of discourses and sometimes the emergence of an interstitial community that bridges domains. If certain organizations are open while others remain focused on their original discourse, then we observe integration in the discursive domain of the invariant organizations.
The observations from the simulations are represented by visualizing organizational fields as topographies of meaning, onto which interorganizational relations are layered. This representation localizes organizations and their interactions in a cultural space while emphasizing how meanings of relationships and organizational expressions vary with different field configurations. By adding meaning to network data, the resulting maps open new perspectives for institutional research on the adaptation, translation, and diffusion of concepts.
Field emergence poses an intriguing problem for institutional theorists. New issue fields often arise at the intersection of different sectors, amidst extant structures of…
Field emergence poses an intriguing problem for institutional theorists. New issue fields often arise at the intersection of different sectors, amidst extant structures of meanings and actors. Such nascent fields are fragmented and lack clear guides for action; making it unclear how they ever coalesce. The authors propose that provisional social structures provide actors with macrosocial presuppositions that shape ongoing field-configuration; bootstrapping the field. The authors explore this empirically in the context of social impact investing in the UK, 2000–2013, a period in which this field moved from clear fragmentation to relative alignment. The authors combine different computational text analysis methods, and data from an extensive field-level study, to uncover meaningful patterns of interaction and structuration. Our results show that across various periods, different types of actors were linked together in discourse through “actor–meaning couplets.” These emergent couplings of actors and meanings provided actors with social cues, or macrofoundations, which guided their local activities. The authors thus theorize a recursive, co-constitutive process: as punctuated moments of interaction generate provisional structures of actor–meaning couplets, which then cue actors as they navigate and constitute the emerging field. Our model re-energizes the core tenets of new structuralism and contributes to current debates about institutional emergence and change.
The rise of the sharing economy has brought with it a huge variety of new organizational forms and innovative business models. An integral part of these forms and models…
The rise of the sharing economy has brought with it a huge variety of new organizational forms and innovative business models. An integral part of these forms and models is the communities and members of sharing-economy organizations, since they significantly contribute to value creation for these organizations. Relying on community member contributions, though, is a challenge for these organizations because fluid community boundaries and voluntary membership makes it difficult to coordinate their activities. This chapter investigates the under-researched question of how sharing-economy organizations govern the actions of their community members. Following an abductive approach that included site visits, participant observations, and 67 interviews, we develop a framework that illustrates four different types of governance: pure market, pure clan, market-hierarchy hybrid, and clan-hierarchy hybrid. The framework explains differences among these types depending on the main activity (providing resources or producing jointly) and the primary aim of the community (business orientation or social orientation). This study thus contributes to research on both governance in general and to sharing-economy organizations in particular by capturing the variety and diversity of community forms, governance practices, and business-model configurations.
We witness rising tensions between online gig-economy platforms, incumbent firms, regulators, and labor unions. In this chapter, we use the framework of institutional…
We witness rising tensions between online gig-economy platforms, incumbent firms, regulators, and labor unions. In this chapter, we use the framework of institutional logics as an analytical lens and scheme to understand the fundamental institutional challenges prompted by the advent of the online gig economy. We view gig-economy platforms as corporations that organize and self-regulate markets. In doing so, they span two parallel markets: the market for platforms competing to provide intermediation services and the market for the self-employed competing on platforms to provide peer-to-peer services. Self-regulation by platforms also weakens the traditional roles of the state. While the corporation and market logics empower the platform, they weaken self-employed suppliers as platforms’ design constrain suppliers to grow into a full-fledged business by limiting their entrepreneurial freedom. At the same time, current labor law generally does not classify suppliers as employees of the platform company, which limits the possibility to unionize. The current resolutions to this institutional misalignment are sought in “band aid solutions” at the level of sectors. Instead, as we argue, macro-institutional reform may be needed to re-institutionalize gig work into established institutional logics.