Organizations as Networks of Communication Episodes

Over the last decades, the idea that communication constitutes organizations (CCO) has been gaining considerable momentum in organization studies. The CCO perspective provides new insights into key organizational issues, such as the relation between stability and change, between micro-level and macro-level phenomena, or between emergence and control. However, despite various theoretical advancements, the CCO perspective’s range of methodologies is still limited to analyzing local communication episodes, rather than studying organizations as broader networks of communication episodes. In this paper, we present a new methodological approach to the study of the relation between organization and communication, based on network analysis. Following a discussion of existing network approaches, we incorporate the fundamental assumptions of the CCO perspective into a methodology that places communication at the center of network analysis by turning the prevalent network perspective inside out, so that the vertices of the network represent communication episodes and the edges represent individuals. We illustrate our methodology with an empirical case study, in which we examine the structures and dynamics of an actual organization as a network of communication episodes.


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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