Get access

The architecture of collaboration

Authors


Abstract

Firms increasingly face competitive pressures related to rapid and continuous adaptation to a complex, dynamic, and highly interconnected global environment. Pressing challenges include keeping pace with shorter product life cycles, incorporating multiple technologies into the design of new products, cocreating products and services with customers and partners, and leveraging the growth of scientific and technical knowledge in many sectors. In response, we observe experimentation with new organization designs that are fundamentally different from existing forms of organizing. We propose that these new designs are based on an actor-oriented architectural scheme composed of three main elements: (1) actors who have the capabilities and values to self-organize; (2) commons where the actors accumulate and share resources; and (3) protocols, processes, and infrastructures that enable multi-actor collaboration. We demonstrate the usefulness of the actor-oriented scheme by applying it to organizations drawn from four different sectors: global professional services, open source software development, computer equipment, and national defense. We discuss the implications of the actor-oriented architectural scheme for future research on organizational forms as well as for managers who are involved in designing organizations. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Ancillary