innovations in organizational form

innovating community development: new organizational forms and closing the digital divide

    "the complexities of organizing across sectors:
collaboration and the innovation of organizational form"


we traditionally conceive the roles of government, industry and the nonprofit sector to be rigid institutional elements of the modern society.  when breakdowns in our society occur in the institutional environment, society distributes problem-solving roles to the individuals, organizations, and firms that represent each sector. recent societal shifts have resulted in a re-arrangement of these problem-solving roles.  i argue in this paper that the complexity (interdependence, scope and scale) of the social problems requires comprehensive solutions involving all sectors.  this is achieved through cross-sector and multi-sector collaboration.

this paper takes a theoretical approach to the processes and possibilities of cross and multi-sector collaboration from an organization sociology perspective.  it begins by reflecting upon some of the explanations of collaboration across social worlds found in the sociology literature:  multivocality, translation and boundary objects. these three perspectives are joined together in what i call complex collaboration.

in the second half of this paper, the implications of complex collaboration are explored.  i argue that complex collaboration leads to the hybridization of forms and roles – the innovation of organizational form. i conclude with a discussion of future directions for this research and describe my current research project.

            get the paper as a .pdf

updated october 2, 2004            contact                    back to  dissertation  research    home

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