Sub-theme 64: Is Something New Growing in the Shadow of Formal Organizations?
Call for Papers
The concept of 'shadow organizing' is proposed as a theoretical tool for discussing the multi-layering that is taking
place in current society: new arrangements and new forms of organizing that live side-by-side with more established formal
organizations. The concept is metaphorical, and through various analogies of protection, grey zones, secrecy, Jungian shadow,
or other images, it allows for investigating the dynamics of organizing that emerge in the shadow.
In fact, the rise of the global economy means a radical change in work and organizational forms. These conditions mark an important shift in organizational logic, raising the question of how activities can be co-ordinated across space and time and whether co-ordination should be understood as the effect of an intentional activity or as an emergent phenomenon. The idea that 'something' is growing in the shadow sheds light on unconventional ways of organizing that may emerge either in complicity with formal organizations or in opposition to their pervasive power.
We invite papers that illustrate and discuss organizational interactions that are not bound by specific forms of organizational control and co-ordination, but instead stretch into a globalized space. These may be conceptualized as an emergence of global micro-structures (Knorr-Cetina, 2005; Knorr-Cetina & Bruegger, 2002) that deal with complexity. The idea of global micro-structures refers to forms of connectivity that instantiate self-organizing principles and patterns. Its basic intuition is that genuinely global forms (i.e., fields of practice that link up and stretch across multiple organizational forms) need not imply further expansion of social institutional complexity.
the roots of the concept of global micro-structures are found in organizations such as financial markets or terrorist groups,
we suspect that these organizational forms are more widespread than previously documented. For example, in the realm of the
professions and their organizations, informal arrangements live side by side with formal institutions and give rise to new
organizational forms. In exploring the connectivity between formal organizations and other forms of organizing, we invite
discussion about if and how organizations favor or obstruct organizing. To explore the dynamics of organizing that emerge
in these spaces and intersections, the concept of shadow organizing may prove useful.
Some questions that might help inform potential contributions include but are not limited to:
- What is growing in the shadow of formal organizations and how is it regarded/disregarded by them?
- What kind of exchanges and power relations keep organizing tight or loose?
- Are formal organizations an obstacle to organizing or are r they an incentive?
- What is the contribution that the concept of shadow organizing offers to organizational theory?
- How to develop a methodology for studying the grey zone between what is a formal organization and what is an informal way of organizing?
- Does shadow organizing hide itself also within formal organizations and more institutionalized ways of organizing?
- What characterizes the dynamics of shadow organizing in different contexts?
- Knorr-Cetina, K. (2005): "Complex global microstructures: The new terrorist societies." Theory, Culture & Society, 2 (5), 213–234.
- Knorr-Cetina, K., & Bruegger, U. (2002): "Global microstructures: The virtual societies of financial markets." American Journal of Sociology, 107 (4), 902–50.