Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Community or market?: Institutional dynamics and organizational survival in the new media industry
by Sperry, Ryan C., Ph.D., Columbia University, 2008, 345; 3317657
Abstract (Summary)

This is an ethnographic study of a new media firm located in New York City, referred to by the pseudonym Community.com. Following a period of growth from roughly 1995 to 2000, the new media industry faced a major crisis. Community.com was forced to make decisions about how to proceed profitably and survive. This is a study of the organizational response to changing environmental and institutional conditions. Community.com survived in an environment where many of its peers failed. The detailed description of Community.com's response to these environmental forces allows me to develop new connections between organizational change, survival, and innovation. The research strategy applied to the present study connects institutional and organization theory with research on both culture and technology. The central substantive research question I am asking in this study is "how did Community.com survive?" My claim is that Community.com survived by reacting to the changing institutional environment, incorporating institutional logics, and employing flexible technology. As the economic environment changed the institutional logic of the new media industry shifted from a "community" logic to a "market" logic. Community.com adapted and survived by incorporating the logic of the market into work practices, technologies, rituals, and discourse. The ethnographic and observational data supports these claims by demonstrating how this particular firm changed in structure, culture, and technology. This study shows how one firm reacted to and interacted with the changing institutional environment. The findings indicate that a shift in logics led to different material and symbolic practices at Community.com and these changes were mediated by discourse and technology. The central theoretical question of my study is "what are the mechanisms at work between the macro, meso and micro levels of the environment, organization, and individual?" The data also elucidates the interaction between institutional forces and social networks within the organization. Implications about the mechanisms at work between the macro, meso, and micro levels of the environment, organization and individual are outlined.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Vaughan, Diane
School: Columbia University
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 69/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Organizational behavior, Organization theory
Keywords: Culture, Institutions, New media, Organizations, Technology
Publication Number: 3317657
ISBN: 978-0-549-65753-8
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