The Power of Networks

The Power of Networks

Organizing the Global Politics of the Internet

Mikkel Flyverbom

With an ever-growing number of users, the Internet is central to the processes of globalization, cultural formations, social encounters and economic development. These aside, it is also fast becoming an important political domain. Struggles over disclosure, access and regulation are only the most visible signs that the Internet is quickly becoming a site of fierce political conflict involving states, technical groups, business and civil society. As the debate over the global politics of the Internet intensifies, this book will be a valuable guide for anyone seeking to understand the emergence, organization and shape of this new issue.

Chapter 4: Organizing Hybrid Forums

Mikkel Flyverbom

Subjects: business and management, organisational innovation, organisation studies, innovation and technology, organisational innovation, technology and ict, politics and public policy, international politics


Ordering involves the stabilization of relations, practices and goals, and one shorthand expression for such forms of ordering is to call them organizations. But in line with the research strategy underpinning this book, the question is what we may learn by investigating the making of such orderings. Conventional approaches to organization (March and Simon 1958; Blau and Scott 1962; Pugh 1997; Scott 2004) set out to study ‘the structure, functioning and performance of organizations and the behaviour of groups and individuals within them’ (Pugh 1997: xii) and tend to start from a number of assertions. Organizations are structures containing people. They have stable relations and predictable and regulated ways of doing things, often in the shape of manuals, rules and values governing behaviour. And organizations have a purpose, often in the shape of a business strategy or a defined set of goals. But hybrid forums seem to lack many of these features of formal organizations. They are fluid arrangements, often organized on the fly and constantly in the process of developing procedures and work modalities. At the same time they are often aiming at a moving target, searching for a project, or being established to construct a new issue area as a matter of concern. That is, they are constantly in the process of ordering. These features offer some empirical arguments for an alternative conception of organization, one which is more attuned to fluidity and becoming. ORGANIZATION AS PROCESS As this book seeks to demonstrate, the global politics of the...

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