Organizations as Networks of Communications: A Methodological Proposal
Institute of Organization and Administrative Science, University of Zurich, Working Paper No. 102
34 Pages Posted: 24 Nov 2009
Date Written: November 24, 2009
Organization studies increasingly draw on the idea that organizations are constituted by communications. The theoretical assumptions and empirical implications are well in development at both the Montréal School of Organizational Communication and Social Systems Theory. However, we notice that the corresponding methodologies limit themselves to the analysis of local communications. While this micro-level research pays tribute to the inherent complexity of communication, it fails to depict organizations at the macro-level of global communications. We propose to broaden the methodological range with the help of network analysis. In particular, we suggest turning organization studies inside out by using communications - not individuals - as nodes in networks. Studying organizations as networks of communications allows us to analyze the emergence of themes that drive the business of organizations. We illustrate our proposal with an empirical network analysis of two organizations.
Keywords: Organizational Communication, Social Network Analysis, Montréal School, Social Systems Theory, Communication as Constitutive of Organizations
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