Communication Network System
Communication networks are the patterns of contact that are created by the flow of messages among communicators through time and space. The concept of message should be understood here in its broadest sense to refer to that, information, knowledge, images, symbols ,and many other symbolic forms that can move from one point in a network to another or can be cocreated by network members. These networks take many forms in contemporary organizations, including personal contact networks,flow of information within and between groups, strategic alliances among firms, and global network organizations, to name but a few. This book offers a new multitheoritical, multilevel perspective that integrates the theoritical mechanisms that theorists and researchers have proposed to explain the creation, maintenance, dissolution, and re-creation of these diverse and complex intra-and interorganizational networks. This focus provides and important new alternative to earlier reviews of empirical literature, organized on the basis of antecedents and outcomes or research themes within organizational behavior Althought examining the emergence of communication networks in in itself an intellectually intriguing enterprise, the inexorable dynamics of globalization provides an even more compelling impetus for communication researchers and practitioners. This chapter begins by underscoring the rationale for studying the emergence of communication networks and flow in a global world. The chapter also situates the contributions of this book in previous communications perspectives on formal and emergent communication networks in organizations as well as current philosophical perspectives on the study of emegence in structures.
Communication Networks and Flows in a Global World
Communication networks and organizational forms of the twenty-first century are undergoing rapid and dramatic changes. What is unfolding before our collective gaze is being driven by spectacular advances and convergences in computer and communication technology and by the collective economic, political, societal, cultural and communicative processes collectively known as globalization. While many of the changes brought about by the organization are beneficial to humankind, others are clearly detrimental. Key to changing organizational landscape is the emergence of network forms of organization as an integral part of coevolution of the new “network society”. These organizational and social forms, which are neither classical markets nor traditional hierarchies (Powell, 1990), nor both (piore & Sabel, 1984), are built around material and symbolic flows that link people and objects both locally and globally without regard for traditional national, institutional, or organizational boundaries. The emphasis here is on the flow as well as the form. In fact, Appadurai (1990) theorizes globalization as a series of five flows that he calls “scapes”: ethnoscape, technoscape, financescape, mediascape, and ideoscape. These represents the movements of peoples, technologies, finance capital, entertainment and ideology/politics through global networks. Thus, capital, material, labor, messages and symbols circulate through suppliers, producers, customers, strategic partners, governing agencies, and affilliates to form what Hall (1990) calls the “global postmodern culture”, one that is simultaneously global and local. Bilt on the basis of flexible, dynamic, ephemeral relations, these network flows constitute the bulk of organizational activity. Thus, global organizations are processes, not places Globalization processes are fundamentally altering our perceptions of time and space. Harvey (1989) points to space-time compression where both time and space collapse on each other as instanteneous cpmmunication obliterates the time it takes for messages to traverse space. Scholte discusses a fundamental change in the social geography caused...
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