Adhocratic governance in the Internet age: a case of Wikipedia

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Adhocratic governance in the Internet age: a case of Wikipedia
Authors: Piotr Konieczny [edit item]
Citation: Journal of Information Technology & Politics 7 (4): 263-283. 2010.
Publication type: Journal article
Peer-reviewed: Yes
Database(s):
DOI: 10.1080/19331681.2010.489408.
Google Scholar cites: Citations
Link(s): Paper link
Added by Wikilit team: Added on initial load
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Adhocratic governance in the Internet age: a case of Wikipedia is a publication by Piotr Konieczny.


[edit] Abstract

In recent years, a new realm has appeared for the study of political and sociological phenomena: the Internet. This article will analyze the decision-making processes of one of the largest online communities, Wikipedia. Founded in 2001, Wikipedia--now among the top-10 most popular sites on the Internet--has succeeded in attracting and organizing millions of volunteers and creating the world's largest encyclopedia. To date, however, little study has been done of Wikipedia's governance. There is substantial confusion about its decision-making structure. The organization's governance has been compared to many decision-making and political systems-from democracy to dictatorship, from bureaucracy to anarchy. It is the purpose of this article to go beyond the earlier simplistic descriptions of Wikipedia's governance in order to advance the study of online governance, and of organizations more generally. As the evidence will show, while Wikipedia's governance shows elements common to many traditional governance models, it appears to be closest to the organizational structure known as adhocracy.

[edit] Research questions

"This article will analyze the decision-making processes of one of the largest online communities, Wikipedia. Founded in 2001, Wikipedia.

It is the purpose of this article to go beyond the earlier simplistic descriptions of Wikipedia's governance in order to advance the study of online governance, and of organizations more generally."

Research details

Topics: Policies and governance [edit item]
Domains: Business [edit item]
Theory type: Analysis [edit item]
Wikipedia coverage: Main topic [edit item]
Theories: "Mintzberg's (2007) adhocracy concept, which emphasizes that, in adhocratic organizations, strategies just “emerge” and are not consciously decided on." [edit item]
Research design: Case study [edit item]
Data source: Direct observation, Wikipedia pages [edit item]
Collected data time dimension: Longitudinal [edit item]
Unit of analysis: Website [edit item]
Wikipedia data extraction: Live Wikipedia [edit item]
Wikipedia page type: Policy, Collaboration and coordination, Conflict resolution [edit item]
Wikipedia language: English [edit item]

[edit] Conclusion

"The English-language Wikipedia shows many signs of being an adhocracy—one closely connected to open-source development models found in the FOSS movement. Editors at Wikipedia share the adhocratic values of flat hierarchy, decentralization, little managerial control, and ad-hoc creation of informal multidisciplinary teams. Like individuals throughout most of the FOSS movement, they are highly motivated—not by potential financial gain, but by their project's ideology. In traditional adhocracies, individuals are bound by rules that cannot be altered; at Wikipedia, by contrast, there is no rule that cannot be altered if the community so desires. In Wikipedia's adhocracy, the editors not only “capture opportunities,” but they also can create those opportunities, since editors can change all policies and so enjoy an unprecedented degree of empowerment."

[edit] Comments

"The English-language Wikipedia shows many signs of being an adhocracy in which the editors not only “capture opportunities,” but they also can create those opportunities, since editors can change all policies and so enjoy an unprecedented degree of empowerment."


Further notes[edit]

Facts about "Adhocratic governance in the Internet age: a case of Wikipedia"RDF feed
AbstractIn recent years, a new realm has appeared In recent years, a new realm has appeared for the study of political and sociological phenomena: the Internet. This article will analyze the decision-making processes of one of the largest online communities, Wikipedia. Founded in 2001, Wikipedia--now among the top-10 most popular sites on the Internet--has succeeded in attracting and organizing millions of volunteers and creating the world's largest encyclopedia. To date, however, little study has been done of Wikipedia's governance. There is substantial confusion about its decision-making structure. The organization's governance has been compared to many decision-making and political systems-from democracy to dictatorship, from bureaucracy to anarchy. It is the purpose of this article to go beyond the earlier simplistic descriptions of Wikipedia's governance in order to advance the study of online governance, and of organizations more generally. As the evidence will show, while Wikipedia's governance shows elements common to many traditional governance models, it appears to be closest to the organizational structure known as adhocracy.ganizational structure known as adhocracy.
Added by wikilit teamAdded on initial load +
Collected data time dimensionLongitudinal +
CommentsThe English-language Wikipedia shows many The English-language Wikipedia shows many signs of being an adhocracy in which the editors not only “capture opportunities,” but they also can create those opportunities, since editors can change all policies and so enjoy an unprecedented degree of empowerment.oy an unprecedented degree of empowerment.
ConclusionThe English-language Wikipedia shows many The English-language Wikipedia shows many signs of being an adhocracy—one closely connected to open-source development models found in the FOSS movement. Editors at Wikipedia share the adhocratic values of flat hierarchy, decentralization, little managerial control, and ad-hoc creation of informal multidisciplinary teams. Like individuals throughout most of the FOSS movement, they are highly motivated—not by potential financial gain, but by their project's ideology. In traditional adhocracies, individuals are bound by rules that cannot be altered; at Wikipedia, by contrast, there is no rule that cannot be altered if the community so desires. In Wikipedia's adhocracy, the editors not only “capture opportunities,” but they also can create those opportunities, since editors can change all policies and so enjoy an unprecedented degree of empowerment.oy an unprecedented degree of empowerment.
Data sourceDirect observation + and Wikipedia pages +
Doi10.1080/19331681.2010.489408 +
Google scholar urlhttp://scholar.google.com/scholar?ie=UTF-8&q=%22Adhocratic%2Bgovernance%2Bin%2Bthe%2BInternet%2Bage%3A%2Ba%2Bcase%2Bof%2BWikipedia%22 +
Has authorPiotr Konieczny +
Has domainBusiness +
Has topicPolicies and governance +
Issue4 +
Pages263-283 +
Peer reviewedYes +
Publication typeJournal article +
Published inJournal of Information Technology & Politics +
Research designCase study +
Research questionsThis article will analyze the decision-makThis article will analyze the decision-making processes of one of the largest online communities, Wikipedia. Founded in 2001, Wikipedia. It is the purpose of this article to go beyond the earlier simplistic descriptions of Wikipedia's governance in order to advance the study of online governance, and of organizations more generally.ance, and of organizations more generally.
Revid10,650 +
TheoriesMintzberg's (2007) adhocracy concept, which emphasizes that, in adhocratic organizations, strategies just “emerge” and are not consciously decided on.
Theory typeAnalysis +
TitleAdhocratic governance in the Internet age: a case of Wikipedia
Unit of analysisWebsite +
Urlhttp://www.informaworld.com/10.1080/19331681.2010.489408 +
Volume7 +
Wikipedia coverageMain topic +
Wikipedia data extractionLive Wikipedia +
Wikipedia languageEnglish +
Wikipedia page typePolicy +, Collaboration and coordination + and Conflict resolution +
Year2010 +