Edited by Dimitris G. Assimakopoulos, Ilan Oshri and Krsto Pandza
Chapter 4: Emergence, transactive memory systems and efficiency: a contingency approach
Organizing for emergent technologies poses significant conceptual and practical challenges. Conceptually, the processes that most essentially constitute characterizations of organization imply non-trivial degrees of predictability, control and replication; not exactly properties one would associate with entities that are not yet fully discernible. This inherent tension is entirely acknowledged by several brands of organizational research, from early contingency theorists recognizing the particularities of dealing with the unpredictable (Burns and Stalker, 1961; Lawrence and Lorsch, 1967; Galbraith, 1973), to more contemporary frameworks documenting the severe difficulties of exploring the potential while simultaneously exploiting the actual (March, 1991; Levinthal and March, 1991; Benner and Tushman, 2002). What we know about emerging technologies seems to be exactly at odds with what we know about effective organizing. Unsurprisingly, organizational practice has persistently struggled with the handling of the new, the unexpected, the uncertain; all facets that fundamentally typify emergent technologies.
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