Progressing to the Center: The Antecedents and Consequences of Lateral Authority
68 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2008
Date Written: October 28, 2008
Post-bureaucratic forms of organizing are theorized to rely upon lateral as opposed to vertical authority, but few have studied how lateral authority operates in practice. With a longitudinal, multi-network study of a mature open source project, we predict what leads individuals to gain lateral authority over collective work. While technical contributions are initially important, coordination work become more critical at a subsequent stage. After gaining authority, individuals significantly increase the effort spent coordinating project work. By specifying the antecedents and consequences of lateral authority, our research refines our theoretical conception of how knowledge work in project and communities is coordinated.
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