Sneak Peek: Network of Communication Episodes at EGOS

Next year’s EGOS is approaching fast with the deadline on January 14, 2013, only a few weeks away. Several tracks are of interest to CCO/OaC scholars. Of course, there is The Communicative Constitution of Organization: Organizations as Precarious Accomplisments hosted by our very own Dennis Schoeneborn, Francois Cooren, and Tim Kuhn. Also hosted by another member of this here circle of scholars, namely, Alex Wright, is Organizing Performativity: Bridging Theory and Practice within and across Organizations.

It’s common courtesy at EGOS to stay with your track throughout the entire conference, which is why you need to choose to participate in just one. Let me give you a sneak peek at what you may be in for if you decide to join Dennis, Francois, and Tim.



What you see is an organization displayed as a network of communication episodes, much like the one you already saw in our respective paper recently published in Organization Studies. There 439 communication episodes, each one represented by a vertex. 55,754 edges hold these vertices together, each one representing the participation of at least one individual in two linked vertices. Thus, the network of communication episodes provides a quick overview of the themes and topics that (re)produce the organization.

I’ve put in two additional information on the (re)production of themes and topics. First, the size of a vertex indicates the number of individuals who participate in a communication episode (e.g., the number of people who attend a meeting). Second, the color of a vertex indicates the time spell a communication episode takes place; there are 24 time spells on a grayscale ranging from the first spell all black to the last spell all white.

With that information at hand, see how the organization comes full circle from big themes and topics central to many individuals (black vertices at the center of the network) to many, many small communication episodes clustering in the periphery, finding it’s finish with, once more, big themes and topics.

I can zoom into single communication episodes and cluster thereof, making them easily accessible to qualitative interpretation of the conversations among individuals. But that’s about as far as I’ve gotten with my analysis. The general idea is to use the network (and many more quantitative and qualitative information) to illustrate organizational failure. Because it’s in there, just not that obvious right now.

I won’t reveal the organization behind the network, all I’m saying is that many of you are intimately familiar with it. (If you already know the organization I’m talking about because I told you, please don’t reveal it in the comments; all other speculations are welcome.)

Now I only have to convince Dennis, Francois, and Tim to accept my half-finished paper. Four weeks to go.

The Communicative Constitution of Organization, live and unplugged

Witness the birth of an organization: We’re happy to announce that the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) grants its support to our scientific network on the communicative constitution of organization!

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