đź“–The Mirroring Hypothesis: Theory, Evidence and Exceptions

Colfer, Lyra J.
  • p.41

    Finally, new digital technologies have made possible new methods of coordination. Specifically, it is now possible to assemble groups of problem-solvers from around the globe to work interdependently on a common problem for short periods of time. It is also possible for dispersed agents to work asynchronously and without direct communication, coordinating their work stigmergically by interacting with a changing artifact. Lastly, many digital systems have evolved to a dual core-periphery structure in which the technical architecture has a single complex core and peripheral components, while the organization has a core of consistently engaged contributors and a periphery of transient participants. No study has yet looked to see whether the technical and organizational cores in these systems are mirrored: this is an opportunity for future work.

  • p. 38

    The members of the ad hoc groups that form in open source projects or participate in contests are mirrored in the sense of having dense communication linkages while they are working. Also, although they are not members of the same firm, they work within frameworks—open source communities or sponsored contests—that keep opportunism within the bounds of community norms and fair play. Hence this pattern does not contradict the mirroring hypothesis so much as show that with digital technology, temporary organizational ties can quickly be created at low cost to support highly interdependent collaboration.


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