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Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism

Call for the Hybrid Organization Workshop, Turku (Finland)

Date: November 2-3, 2011
Location: Turku, Finland
Speakers and commentators:
Professor Celia Lury (Goldsmiths, University of London), Professor Eva Hemmungs Wirtén (Uppsala University) & Dr. Adam Arvidsson (University of Milano)
Professor Saara Taalas (Linnaeus University & University of Turku), Professor Alf Rehn (Åbo Akademi University), Dr. Lotta Häkkinen (University of Turku) & Dr. Nina Kivinen (Åbo Akademi University)
Hybridity has emerged as something of a new favorite theme in a number of disciplines, from cultural studies, geography and sociology to philosophy. In organization theory, hybridity has yet to establish itself fully as a conceptual framework, possibly due to the fact that we’re still highly attached to the notion of an organization – a well-defined institution with clear boundaries. At the same time, the interest in the concept has never been greater, as notions of co-production, mixed forms of governance, multiplicities of practices, new business logics and developing technologies are perpetually mixing and remixing the notion of organizations and organizing. All that is solid is remixed into… what?

Traditionally, hybrid organizations have been understood through the conceptual lens of mixed public and private forms. However, this understanding has recently been challenged, particularly as new forms of exchange, collaboration and technological mediation has made evermore complex forms of productive organizational structures possible, prompting a call for understanding such new forms of hybrid organizing. A key, although not necessarily sole instantiation of this has been the new types of organization on the internet that combine peer community efforts, missions for common good and commercial scalability (Lessig 2008). At the heart of such hybrid organization lays the idea of co-production, but one where collaboration is not necessarily unproblematic. Hybrids build on many governing logics that can be contradictory, pervasive, collaborative, but permanently defy control by any one named actor.

It is here, in this complex nexus of not-quite-defined new forms of collaborative and mixed working that our workshop finds it impetus. The challenge, now, in a world of fan production, app-communities, mash-ups and brands in permanent flux, is to recast issues such as materiality, embodiment and borders – to reinterpret what are basic logics for organization. Where we might earlier have been able to “spot the organization” by its institutional forms, how are we to understand the notion of organization theory when the outside can become more central than the inside, and when not belonging might be the most potent productive force of all?

The purpose of the workshop is thus to link research on hybrid organizing, from a variety of disciplines, and encourage further collaboration with aspirations to produce an edited volume on hybrid organization during 2012. Attendance to the workshop is free but the number of participants is limited.

As part of this, we hereby cordially invite short papers (max 3000 words) on your ongoing research on issues connected to hybridity and organization, work that for example might address themes such as:
- materiality, site, space and boundaries in hybrid organization
- value, work and circulation in hybrid economies
- management, power and control in hybrid organization
- consumption, branding and appropriation in hybrid organization
- hybrids as transformers of economic practice

Preliminary schedule: The workshop will run from around 9am on Wednesday November 2 and end at noon on the following day, Thursday November 3, 2011.

The deadline for short papers is September 15, 2011. Please send your paper to
This workshop is a part of the research project Hybrid Organization: Media Brands as Sites of Co-Production financed by the Academy of Finland, and is arranged in co-operation with the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University. The workshop is part of the Hybrid Economy research initiative at the Finland Futures Research Centre at the University of Turku.