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Knowledge, Organization, and ManagementBuilding on the Work of Max Boisot$
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John Child and Martin Ihrig

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199669165

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199669165.001.0001

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Generating Knowledge in a Connected World: The Case of the ATLAS Experiment at CERN *

Generating Knowledge in a Connected World: The Case of the ATLAS Experiment at CERN *

(p.142) (p.143) 8 Generating Knowledge in a Connected World: The Case of the ATLAS Experiment at CERN*
Knowledge, Organization, and Management

Max Boisot

Oxford University Press

The spatial challenges posed by the dynamics of globalization together with the availability of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) have fostered the development of virtual collaboration. Driven by organizational authority systems, however, much of this activity remains of a top-down, hierarchical nature. Although the proportion of bottom-up activity has increased, it has not displaced the top-down bias in the governance structures of firms and the formal processes that give them effect. Yet recent developments are challenging the organizational assumptions that underpin such structures and processes. In what follows, we first offer a theoretical perspective on the above questions and then illustrate it with a look at the way that the ATLAS experiment at CERN—one of the four experiments that are using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC)—is organized and managed. The ATLAS Collaboration—the team of physicists responsible for the experiment—consists of a culturally heterogeneous and loosely coupled population of agents, each operating in a different institutional setting. We shall use our theoretical perspective to interpret some of the issues raised by this kind of ‘big science’ experiment and discuss their implications for a broader class of organizations.

Keywords:   communication technologies, knowledge flow, organizational coordination

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