Trouble in a Geographically Distributed Virtual Network Organization: Organizing Tensions in Continental Direct Action Network

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Abstract

This study examines the impact of geographic dispersion and technological mediation on the organizing processes of a virtual network organization. Listserv and conference call records from the approximately two-year existence of the Continental Direct Action Network were analyzed in order to examine how the virtualness of this organization impacted participants’ perceptions of opportunity, balance of latency and mobilization, formation of a collective identity, and formation of affective bonds. The results reveal some of the local/global tensions that may exist in the organizing processes of virtual network organizations. They also demonstrate that an identity tension may emerge when new geographic localities join an already existing virtual network organization. It is suggested that new routes for informal communication among geographic localities may be necessary in order to enhance these processes and socialize new members into the network.

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