Governing Complex Social Production in the Internet: The Emergence of a Collective Capability in Wikipedia
25 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2011
Date Written: September 12, 2011
In this paper we propose a theoretical framework to understand the evolving governance of internet-mediated social production. Specifically, we focus on the emergence of a collective capability that integrates knowledge relevant to large-scale production and coordination. Focusing on one of the most popular websites and reference tools, Wikipedia, we undertake an exploratory theoretical analysis to clarify the structure and mechanisms driving the endogenous change of a massive social production system. We argue that the standard transactions costs approach underpinning many extant analyses is an insufficient framework for unpacking the evolutionary character of governance. The evolution of Wikipedia and its shifting modes of governance can be better framed as a process of building a collective capability of editing and managing a new kind of encyclopaedia. By applying cluster analysis we then submit six propositions derived from this framework to a preliminary empirical testing in order to assess the morphological development of Wikipedia.
Keywords: social production, governance, Wikipedia, Capability Theory, knowledge integration, cluster analysis
JEL Classification: D23, O30
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