Category:Organization

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Introduction

Organizations are omnipresent in every individuals' living world (cf. Kieser/Walgenbach 2010, p. 1), in private as well as in worklife. Organizations represent formal and informal systems that structure socitety and individuals' living world. But in turn, organizations are also structured by individuals and their environment. Organization takes place in a reciprocal relationship between an organization and its environment. Thus, organizations are confronted with societal and technological trends and changes (cf. Kieser/Walgenbach 2010, p. 376), such as an increasing will for participation. This impacts central organizations such as parties, governments, public administrations, NGOs, corporations and their particular rule systems. For example, an increasing digitization of organizations leads to a mediatization of communication between municipalities and citizens.

Definition

Organization theory traditionally conceptualizes organizations either from a functional or an institutional perspective (cf. Kieser/Walgenbach 2010).

Functional perspective

The functional perspective on organizations focuses on organization as a management function (e.g., alongside planning or control) aimed at designing and developing a formal structure and rule systems that are aimed at the organizational achievement of its goals. Regarding the online-participation context, for instance, organizations might introduce a position of an online-participation manager organizing the processes.

Relevant elements of an organization that can be influenced through management are for example:

  • organizational structures
  • organizational rule systems
  • organizational form

Institutional perspective

Following an institutional perspective, organizations can also be conceptualized as social entities or purposeful cooperative systems that will influence how online-participation will be used and acted upon. In this perspective, organizations can be defined through their:

  • goal orientation: an organization exists to achieve concrete aims that are mostly a result of compromises between individuals
  • permanent existence: an organization will still exist, even if members leave the organization
  • formally defined membership: there are formal rules that describe the boundary separating organizational members and non-members
  • division of labor: there is a task distribution to achieve efficiency
  • formal and informal structures that influence the social system of an organization

This perspective is most relevant for analyzing organization in online-participation contexts. Organizations, understood as distinct social entities, such as parties, public administrations, corporations or non-governmental organizations often are confronted with online-participation as providers, participants, or addressees. Thus, our conceptualization of meso factors strongly focuses on the institutional aspects of (types of) organizations.

Theories & Disciplines