Call for Papers
Discussions around open organizing date back to the 1950s, when organizations were conceptualized as open systems interdependent
with their environments (e.g. Boulding, 1956). However, recent developments have seen openness recast as an organizing principle
in a wide range of domains. Indeed, Tkacz (2012, p. 400) describes contemporary advanced societies as undergoing a “second
coming of openness”. Thus we see the apparent rise of phenomena such as open innovation (Chesbrough, 2006), open strategy
(Hautz et al., 2017), open software development (von Hippel & von Krogh, 2006), open government (Janssen et al., 2012),
open science (Nosek et al., 2015), and open education (Seely et al., 2008).
While there is growing reference to notions of openness across domains, these are largely disconnected from each other, show few signs of convergence and lack theoretical reference between domains. This fragmentation is even more marked when considering related notions such as organizational fluidity (Dobusch & Schoenborn, 2015), liquidity (Kociatkiewicz & Kostera, 2014), boundlessness (Ashkenas et al., 2002) and partiality (Ahrne & Brunsson, 2011). Alongside these notions, advanced societies appear also to be seeing the emergence of more open organizational forms such as crowds (Felin et al., 2014), communities (Faraj et al., 2016), ecosystems (Baldwin, 2012) or meta-organizations (Gulati et al., 2012). A central objective of the proposed sub-theme will be to bring together discussions of various forms of open organizing in order to explore possible commonalities and significant distinctions, and to develop means for more connected theorizing across domains and dimensions.
We believe that bringing together the diverse streams of work on open organizing will advance cumulative knowledge and stimulate new integrative insights. Because existing theories of organization may be limited in their capacity to explain the relations between the dimensions of openness (Puranam et al., 2014), we encourage broad and innovative theorizing. At the same time, we look for systematic comparison across empirical phenomena as well as new studies within individual domains. Some indicative themes include:
Evolution of open organizing: How does an open society affect open organizing? What institutional pressures may threaten open organizing? How does the emergence of open organizing in one domain parallel emergence in other domains?
Processes and mechanisms of open organizing: How is openness coordinated over time and across domains? How do open organizations interact with established institutions in society and the economy? How are openness and closure related over time?
Effects and implications of open organizing: What are the unintended consequences, or even negative effects of open organizing? How does open organizing affect society at large?
Theorizing open organizing: What are the opportunities and limits in existing organization theories with regard to open organizing, especially across domains? What are the theoretical opportunities for building more integrative theorizing on open organizing within open societies?
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- Dobusch, L., & Schoeneborn, D. (2015): “Fluidity, identity, and organizationality: The communicative constitution of Anonymous.” Journal of Management Studies, 52 (8), 1005–1035.
- Faraj, S., von Krogh, G., Monteiro, E., & Lakhani, K.R. (2016): “Online Community as Space for Knowledge Flows.” Information Systems Research, 27 (4), 668–684.
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