This article provides conceptual foundations for analyzing organizations comprising multiple legally autonomous entities, which we call meta-organizations. We assess the antecedents of the emergence of such collectives and the design choices they entail. The article identifies key parameters on which such meta-organizations' designs differ from each other. It also presents a taxonomy that elucidates how such forms of collective action vary and the constraints they must address to be successful. We conclude with implications for research on meta-organizational design. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.