From Membership to Contributorship

There is no organization without individuals. There is no communication without individuals. Still, organization studies necessarily emphasize the organization or organizing and happily neglect the individual. Individuals only enter the picture through the backdoor of membership. Thus, it is not the individuals who make up the organization but the negotiated roles they take on to participate in communication.

McPhee & Zaug (2000) point to membership negotiation. Luhmann (2000) recalls March & Simon (1958) in a similar vain when he points out that individuals are part of the organizational environment. And now the Montreal School as one of the three pillars of CCO thinking (Schoeneborn et al., 2014) moves on the idea of membership with a conception of contributorship. You’ll find the article of Bencherki and Snack on Contributorship and Partial Inclusion: A Communicative Perspective behind the paywall of the online-first section over at the Management Communication Quarterly.

  • Luhmann, N. (2000). Organisation und Entscheidung. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag.
  • March, J. G., & Simon, H. A. (1958). Organizations. New York, NY: Wiley.
  • McPhee, R. D., & Zaug, P. (2000). The Communicative Constitution of Organizations: A Framework for Explanation. Electronic Journal of Communication, 10(1/2).
  • Schoeneborn, D., Blaschke, S., Cooren, F., McPhee, R. D., Seidl, D., & Taylor, J. R. (2014). The Three Schools of CCO Thinking: Interactive Dialogue and Systematic Comparison. Management Communication Quarterly, 28(2), 285–316.


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