On the Functions and Consequences of the Internet for Social Movements and Voluntary Associations
Release 2.0, March 2001
Part I | Part II
11. New Tools for Bottom-Up Communication and Grassroots Campaigning
Since the 70ies, the dominant paradigm in social movement theory was the "resource mobilization approach" which stressed the role of mesosocial organizational actors, large scale societal mobilization processes initiated by centralized actors ("social entrepreneurship", macrosocial interorganizational networks ("social movement industries") and above all: the very tight interdependencies between informal movements and formalized institutional structures (e. g, Zald/McCarthy 1987; Jenkins 1983; Myers 1998).
As several researchers began to notice at the end of the 80ies, such "Weberian" views emphasizing the primacy of institutional levels and the inevitability of centralization implied the neglect of equally salient factors like subjective deprivations, microsocial interaction networks and more horizontal modes of "collective behavior" (e. g. Myers 1998). As a consequence, older paradigms focusing on the level of grassroots interactions and horizontal group processes have been revitalized (see Melucci 1989; Taylor/Whittier 1992).
The Internet promotes the emergence of large-scale collectivities from the "grassroots level" because it enriches the arsenal of mobilization mechanisms by some extremely decentralized and informal procedures which can start and expand easily outside any framework of formal organization:
In the past, a major incentive for centralization stemmed from the communicative deficiencies of decentralized interaction networks. Typically, every transmission from one person to the next involved a significant risk of distortion and/or misunderstanding, so that after many transmission steps, information becomes mere "rumors" only distantly similar to the original messages (Turner and Killian 1972). Thus, whenever an individual A wanted to transmit a message precisely to many other people, it had no alternative than to submit it to a sender S, which then broadcasted it by technical means (letters, Faxes, printed journals, radio or TV etc.) to a large number of receivers. Of course, this intermediation implied that the broadcasting agency gained a certain control over what shall be broadcasted to whom in which form at what point of time. With the Internet, this incentive to centralize communicative processes has vanished, because most complex messages can be transmitted within complex horizontal networks without any loss of information.
As a consequence, centralized organizational services are less needed for securing widespread accurate communication (e. g. distributing addresses of phone numbers of participants or communicating the precise time and place of collective actions).
Consequently, less money has to be spent for professional communicators (employed in the central offices), because diffusion processes can easily be distributed to a multitude of members acting as unpaid volunteers (each forwarding received messages to his/her own friends).
In the Balkan wars, for example, such networks had the function of providing new solutions by "bottom-up" communication when conventional top-down communication failed:
Even at that early time of the Internet, when hardware facilities were still relatively expensive, the whole technical infrastructure was easily provided by non-governmental Western sources (e. g. Western Peace movements and the George Soros's Open society Fund), so that the "movement" never became dependent on any governmental support (Stubbs 1998). Similarly, the Internet is a ready tool for already well established "New Social Movements", which since their inception (in the 60ies and 70ies) have stressed decentralized networking instead of centralized leadership guidance and ideological indoctrination. This is particularly true for ecologist movements because they operate under conditions which make it necessary to rely on very decentralized organizational structures. First of all, they typically address environmental problems occurring in very different geographical locations; secondly, they have to focus on a manifold of decision makers, institutions and agencies (on global and regional as well as on national and local levels); and thirdly, they have to collect and distribute a wide variety of information stemming from many different sources (e. g. research institutions or local administrative agencies).
As articulated in the following hypothetical example, using the Internet is indispensable for combining decentralized fact-gathering and mobilization with speedy diffusion and knowledge, consensus building and effective transnational action:
Similar advantages accrue to the latest antiglobalist and anticorporatist movements which are even more decentralized and informal than any "New Social Movements" which have appeared since the late sixties. This is vividly illustrated by the recent antiglobalization protests (e.g. at the WTO Conference in Seattle 1999 and the Worldbank meeting in Prag 2000) were processes of "spontaneous clustering" have been enacted for building up huge demonstrations within very short time:
In addition, the mobile phones have amplified the capacities to revise action strategies so quickly that police agencies are not able to plan their own actions because they cannot predict what is happening where and when.
Lacking clear leadership as well as clearly defined stock of followers, they consist of a multitude of divergent groupings which coordinate they actions spontaneously for specific time periods, without losing their structural autonomy and without converging in their ideological views and specific strategic goals. Evidently, their offline organization is somewhat isomorphic to their lose online linkages on the Web:
While stable oligarchic elites are inexistent, guidance is merely exerted by "geek adhocracies": self-recruited computer-savvy specialists skilled in networking the different groups (Klein 2000).
Obviously, Email is highly functional for initiating "flash campaigns" where salient information is spread horizontally: with each receiver forwarding it to his own friends and acquaintances: so that no need for centralized diffusion agencies is created. Most of these diffusion processes are "redundant" in the sense that many individuals will receive identical messages from two ore more different sources. Thus, millions of people can be alerted and mobilized reliably within very short time In fact, each individual member (or subgroup) can temporarily assume the role of a centralized leadership role by initiating such a campaign: without being able to exert outstanding influence roles in to subsequent operational stages. This is in sharp contradiction to conventional bureaucratic centers which have a far more generalized and stable influence role: from initiating campaigns to supervising their operational proceedings until sealing the final negotiations.
Given their extremely decentralized structure, computer networks facilitate highly decentralized forms of campaigning based on parallel activities of many independent individuals or groups. For instance, thousands of net users may be induced to sign petitions, to send identical protest letters to specific decision makers, to organize simultaneous demonstrations in many different cities, or to order packages of flyers or bumper stickers for distributing them in their respective neighborhood. Such decentralized mass actions can profit from the fact that protest actions supported by a broad variety of independent participants may generate more legitimacy than an action supported by a few organizations - even if these latter represent a much larger number of individuals.
Thus, when a political representative receives 1000 letters from as many voters, he may become quite responsive because he has reasons to believe that these 1000 constitute a rather representative sample of his whole constituency - so that he has to fear heavy losses in the next elections when he fails to react. On the other hand, when he gets a similar request from a large association pretending to speak for its 100 000 members, he may take this as the articulation of a rather limited segment of the voting population (e. g. only unionized workers) - or even as an elitist articulation representing only the opinion of the association's leadership, not as the attitude of their average silent members.
Whenever the members of a specific association engage in such grassroots actions, the leadership of the association may find its authority undermined, because its claim "to know best what the members really want" can be challenged by the outcome of such non-mediated campaigns. In fact, highly institutionalized systems of corporatist political decision making may become weakened because politicians become more immersed in non-institutional communications (e.g. direct Emails from citizens), while the capacity of formal associational elites to the represent their membership declines. Consequently, it has to be expected that the Internet is most positively evaluated by various "secondary elites" hitherto not represented in established formal deliberation and decision making bodies, while the formal elites are more reserved because their traditional capacity to monopolize communication processes is undermined.27
Given its decentralized anarchic structure, the Internet has a special affinity to very archaic groups not affected by any principles of bureaucratic organization. For instance, various collectivities dedicated to paganism have profited from the new media, because these groups found a new way of highly informal, erratic, leaderless communication. As the adherents are not only highly dispersed geographically, but very much isolated because they cannot communicate with kin, friends and neighbors about their strange beliefs, they find the Internet particularly useful in order to reinforce their own creeds as well as to foster the collective identity of their group.28 In addition, pagan net users find MUDs and other word-based virtual settings very congenial, because their own creeds are built on the premise that words have a strong constitutive impact on the Real World:
In the future, we may have to live with the contingency that the groups profiting most from the new media are those which are defiant against formal organizations and centralized societal institutions. The new technology offers them the opportunity to creating and solidify informal networks, and to maintain encompassing and regularized internal communication without any need to establish administrative structure, full-time roles or organizational leadership, and without becoming dependent on subsidies from governmental or other institutional actors. In the US, for example, online communication is extensively used by the highly dispersed and informal militia groups on the far right, which preserve old American ideals of individual self-reliance and fight against the increasing power of governmental agencies and international organizations. In the past, such groups had to remain very marginal because by defying established forms of social organization, they were doomed to cling to highly atavistic forms of communication, so that their degree of internal coordination and their capacities for collective action remained rather weak.
Today, they can use computer Nets for communicating on a daily (or even hourly) basis: so that collective activities can be easily coordinated and technical/tactical information can be readily exchanged.
On a most general level, it may be said that the Internet gives rise to new forms of social organization which are better able to combine the following conflictive functional capacities:
By means of decentralized horizontal online communications, networks may rival "hierarchies" and "markets" as a third major structural form constituting modern human societies. Because of their intransparent informal organization, their capacities for collective actions have hitherto been mainly seen in negative terms: e. g. by their potentials to unleash "transnational social Netwars" (Powell 1990). As decentralized actors, networks are typically not disposed to "seize power" (like parties having bureaucratic structures and authoritarian leadership akin to governments), but to mobilize widespread pressure in order to have an impact on existing governmental (or international) authorities:
Such grassroots movements are not even capable (and willing) to participate in those formal cooperative structures with which the World Bank, the WTO or the OECD try to "co-opt" significant outside actors into their bureaucratic structures. In fact, all these big organizations show a tendency to cooperate only with established NGOs which are isomorphic to them in their degree of formalization, stability and internal centralization; and the try to maintain and propagate a narrow concept of "civil society" including only such institutionalized collective actors (Cleaver 1999). As a consequence, established institutional actors may be more ready to react rather repressively (or in a helplessly defensive manner), because they cannot play their usual game within a pluralist system of "countervailing powers". Even when these informal opponents follow no radical goals, they may still appear frightening because of their fluid decentralized structure. These shortcomings in internal cohesion and external action capacities have to weighted against the advantages accruing to the individual members who get a feeling of personal empowerment and rich opportunitities for experiences and self-expression. For the striking Liverpool dockers in 1997, Internet activities have not turned out decisive for their struggle with employers and the government, but highly crucial in an other, more "expressive" dimension: by offering them the new opportunities for experiencing solidarity, for building up new qualifications and for articulating their own values and views:
On the level of scientific methodology, all concepts relating to fixed physical objects are no longer adequate to describe such volatile collectivities: neither the concept of "system" nor the concept of "organization" (both originating from neatly circumscribed structures like biological organisms).
Instead, metaphors have to be sought in the realm of fluids like water:
To deal with such entities is a source of frustration not only to politicians, managers and other representatives of the world of established formal organizations, but also for social scientists looking for neatly differentiated "systems" with rather stable, precisely defined structures, rules and activity patterns.
12. The Rising Significance of "Interactional" Systemic Integration
As all formally organized social systems, voluntary associations are integrated on three complementary (and partially substitutive) levels:
Typically, interactional relationships are highly salient at the early stages of system formation where frequent meetings are necessary in order to negotiate interests and reach consensus about basic values, goals, norms and procedures (Marcus 1966). When time goes on, however, these social relationships usually give rise to more internalized cohesive forces (e. g. subjective identifications) on the one hand and more externalized devices of integration (formalized charters, statutes and membership duties) on the other.
In the past, most established associations had to rely primarily on identificational and/or organizational levels because interaction was difficult (or highly expensive) for physical and technical reasons. In particular, associations with widely dispersed membership had no alternative than to stabilize their identity on the basis of elaborated formal structures on the one hand and intensive subjective motivations on the other (e.g. religious collectivities). Only on the local level, frequent face-to-face meetings provided a means to realize a predominantly interactional form of integration.
With the advent of new computer media, all social collectivities gain additional capacities to rely on social interaction as a major medium of system integration, because electronic media provide ample opportunities for cheap , widespread and continuous interaction not subjected to any restrictions of time and space. The new antiglobalist movements illustrate the increased capacity of modern collectivities to base their identity and cohesion almost completely on current processes of interactional communication: so that they have less need for formalized rules, physical buildings, collective traditions or other non-interactional anchors of systemic stabilization.
As a consequence, the already existing universe of about 30 000 formally constituted nongovernmental organizations has now been complemented by an incalculable number of informal "affinity groups" which have immensely broadened the range of articulated perspectives, issues and problems as well as the spectrum tactical procedures and the manifold of proposed alternative solutions (Klein 2000). In the past, traditional labor organizations had certain role in facilitating and catalyzing online communications, because they were the first to possess the necessary resources and to exchange the knowledge on formal conferences. Thus, the famous "laboutTel" conferences were organized within the framework of the British Trade Union System - and they were accordingly criticized of neglecting more peripheral and informal parts of newly emerging international movement (Waterman 1999). But in the longer run, these established organizations are typically unable to steer online communications according to their preferences and to shape them in accordance with overall policy considerations.
Within the labor union sector, this new trend is currently most clearly seen on the transnational level where organizational development has been traditionally quite weak. In fact,: the Internet makes seems to make it even more unlikely that labor reacts to the growing multinationalism of enterprises and employer's associations with an isomorphic establishment of highly unified bureaucratized international union organizations. To the contrary, the focus of labor campaigns shifts to a galaxy of highly informal network activities: like the latest campaigns against the World Bank and the WTO. Instead of building up countervailing power in order to meet the corporations on the same level of organization, they prefer the "flea "strategy" : harassing the big enterprises like spiders spinning a web around a big prey of like insects which are irritating elephants or lions. (Klein 2000). By choosing such decentralized tactics, they gain much defensive resilience because they cannot be incapacitated or destroyed, but on the other hand, they lose offensive potentials because they lack the ability to build far-reaching consensus, to produce binding decisions, to secure long-term commitments and to focus their resources on single highly salient targets.
This shift from structural to interactional means of collective integration has many far-reaching consequences for associational structures and activities:
First of all, it means that Email functions as a new basic medium for voluntary associations by allowing to establish among members extremely extensive networks of weak ties (Haythornthwaite 1999). Thus, interactional integration can be realized in more extensive social groupings: in collectivities unable to assemble all their members on congresses or other F2F occasions. In addition, the traditional gap between horizontally interacting delegates (or board members) and non-interacting "normal members" could diminish (or vanish altogether), because all members now have access to horizontal social interaction
Secondly, it is to be expected that interactive processes are no longer restricted to specific occasions and periods of time (e. g. meetings, congresses etc.); but go on continuously day and night, weekdays and Sundays, during the whole year. Consequently, even members of larger collectivities may for the first time have the experience of being participants in a never-ending field of interaction, where they have access to all other members and to various sub-collectivities all the time.
Third, open communication can easily expand to any topic or discussion, disregarding conventional norms of excluding the public by preserving specific questions to representative bodies, specialized commissions or executive boards. Thus, it may no longer be possible to keep clear distinctions between "legislative" and "executive" levels of collective action, because even subordinate tactical decisions may easily be influenced by any informal groups.
Fourth, we may expect that the crucial question "who belongs to us" is no longer answered primarily in terms of formal criteria of membership, but increasingly in terms of actual communicative participation. Thus, all associations may become more ready to include any "outsiders" not formally signed up as members, whenever such individuals assume an active role in associational discussion forums etc. On the other hand, members connected exclusively by formal means may feel more marginalized than ever because more interactive events and developments are taking place from which they are excluded.
Fifth, it may be hypothesized that widespread an intensive online communication has the effect of bringing the whole collectivity into more "fluid" state: by reducing the degree to which formal rules and past traditions are observed, because all norms and behavioral expectations can easily be discussed and modified in ongoing processes of communication. In other words: a basic change from "mechanic management" to "organic management" can be enacted.30 In particular, this implies that the distribution of power and influence may follow less the lines of formal authority, but varies more in accordance with "functional authority" as it is emerging in constantly ongoing processes of communication.
Finally, it may be expected that collectivities get more fragmented because interactional integration cannot produce so much unity and homogeneity as integration on the level of formal organization. This problem will rise exponentially with increasing size of membership, because the larger the system, the smaller become the percentage of all logically possible social relationships that can be realized, and because interaction will tend to concentrate in subgroups characterized by a specially high level of consensus or homogeneity among its members. Consequently, we may see many hitherto "monolithic" collectivities falling apart into a number of subgroupings, because the encompassing non-interactive means of integration (e. g. collective symbols, common frames of formal rulings etc.) become weakened.
Methodologically, this all means that it becomes more viable to view voluntary associations as "social networks" which have to be analyzed in terms of the transactions going on among its participants and the volatile types of ties and relationships emerging among them (Monge 1987; Haythornthwaite 1999). On the other hand, it may become less fruitful to see voluntary associations (a) as formal organizations (by focusing on legal statues, structured role and status systems, formalized rules and procedures etc. etc.) and (b) as "communities" (by focusing on subjective motivations and identifications).
To the degree that these new "Global solidarity groups" cling to purely informal principles of internal organization, they remain highly invisible to external observers - to monitoring police agencies and sociological researchers alike. Even worse: they remain opaque to themselves, so that participants typically lack the knowledge about who else is participating, to what extent values or goals are shared consensually. or even: and what kind of strategic activities will follow next. Consequently, continuous efforts of empirical research are necessary to provide information about their size, composition, values, goals and activities, and to assess their "real" impact within the whole network of (e. g. governmental,. economic and associational) transnational actors.
13. The new focus on multiple target campaigning
Net-supported worldwide movement activities are particularly successful when they are addressing events, developments or problems which have identical characteristics all over the globe. This has been vividly exemplified by the "International Protest Day against Police Violence" (initiated by a Canadian action group at the 14./25. of March 1996), which was orchestrated by demonstrations, seminars, concerts, lectures and other events in many different countries (stretching from Spain and Sweden over Croatia and Serbia to South Africa, Brasilia and Bangladesh.):
Contrasting to most conventional movements which attempt to influence (or overturn) a single center of concentrated power, online campaigns are most adequate when it is crucial to have an impact on many different decision making agencies (e.g. parliamentary representatives or the government of different communities, provinces or nations). A case in point was the worldwide campaign aiming at the prohibition of landmines (in 1995), which has contributed to the result that 123 government have signed the respective international agreement:
Likewise, virtual labor union campaigns are more promising in rather decentralized economic environments where the main problem is to exercise influence on many independent smaller firms, regional associations or local political agencies - not in the classic sphere of macrocoporatist structures, where conventional lobbying techniques may remain as indispensable as in the past. Even in cases where a single powerful decision maker is addressed, online campaigns often tend to create an impact by a summation of many different smaller-scale activities. This was illustrated by the famous "Bridgestone campaign" (initiated by the ICEM32 in 1996) which succeeded in pressuring this big employer by a multitude of concerted smaller actions aiming at its shareholders, clients and suppliers.
Similar conditions hold in the protest against the delayed wages of Russian workers - again initiated by ICEM in 1997 - which was based on the premise that apart from the Russian Government, many other actors (e. g. international banks) shared the responsibility for the lack of liquid resources:
While the legitimacy (and impact) of online protest actions may be enhanced by the large number and heterogeneity of participants, it may well be reduced by the fact that participation is so accessible and effortless that it is not a valid indicator of high individual involvement. Thus, even very hesitant union member who have never been part of street actions or strikes may well be ready to sign online petitions or to send a pre-standardized e-mail message to the CEO of a specific firm. Evidently, such activities may easily become so inflated that neither the particular receivers nor the general public is significantly impressed. More than that, such actions may be counterproductive because receivers tax such messages as "spamming" like all other unexpected and unsolicited mail. Consequently, it might be concluded that campaign sites on the WWW are only effective when they induce visitors to express their protests by more conventional means: by using snail letters or telephone, or by assembling at specific times on specific places. As an illustration, we may again mention the Bridgetown "Days of Outrage Action" in July 1996 which was successful because so many protesters contacted firm managers by fax or phone - using the list of phone numbers published on the ICEM site.34
Unquestionably, such "action alerts" using the Net as a mobilization and coordination tool for conventional protest activities have proven to be highly successful in many different cases. Thus, about 30 ecological activists in Utah have succeeded in preventing a Congress bill (aiming at the abolishment of protection zones) in 1995 by sending e-mails to about 30 000 other activists all over the nation: requesting them to contact their local representatives in this matter.35
14. The diffuseness of online channels as an opportunity for exploiting wider ranges of individual motivations and behavior
By increasing their responsiveness toward individual customers, clients and members, groups and organizations are increasingly confronted with the problem that the maintenance of highly specified goals and behaviors becomes more difficult because human beings are highly polyvalent entities engaged in diverse roles and endowed with heterogeneous and volatile values, identities and psychological motivations.
In contrast to conventional media which aggregate individual contributions into few highly specified channels, online communication is extremely responsive to these divergent needs and orientations, because the same technical infrastructure opens a gateway to all possible modes of communicative behavior. Thus, to surf the Internet typically means to be in a highly polyvalent and extremely volatile social role. Within seconds, users may change from commercial to non-commercial sites, or from work-related to leisure-time activities, or from passive viewing to active communication. And given the functional universality of the PC as a device covering work environments and leisure activities alike, it is highly probable that communication partners exchange very different communicative items (text, pictures, videos, software programs etc.) and engage in highly variable (e. g. work-related and play-related, personal and impersonal) modes of communication, Consequently, there are many examples of studies that find rich, multiplex relations to flourish online, and include information exchange, social support, work and play (see Jones, 1998; Smith & Kollock, 1998; Sudweeks, McLaughlin & Rafaeli, 1997; Haythornthwaite, & Wellman, 1998).
From the point of view of Web publishers, this unspecificity and volatility imply high risks and high chances at the same time. The risks include the insecurity to which extent users will go on reading to a specific document rather than switch to other pages or non-reading activities.
For any voluntary organization, the basic dilemma of going online is: providing a gateway into a world of infinite alternative information sources (all equally accessible within extremely short time): so that the union site has to compete for "user eyeballs" with sites of completely different nature (e. g. sex sites, political sites, media sites etc.). Thus, unions are exposing themselves to a highly critical test: whether the information they convey is competitive with all the other information available on the Net. And even more paradoxical: the more an association tries to motivate a heterogeneous (and/or weakly motivated) membership to visit its Webpage frequently (e. g. by offering a portal site loaded automatically whenever the user starts his/her browser), the more it has to provide opportunities for "personal customization" and gateways to many other sites: thus reducing the degree to which any focusing on common collective issues can be achieved. On the other hand, the opportunities include the challenge of influencing effectively what users will do next: e. g. by inducing people who look at advertisements to order the product at the same session, or by inducing visitors of a campaign site to participate in votings or sign petitions.
Given this intrinsic unspecificity in the use of online media, users are in a constant state of openness for influences of all kinds. For instance, while individuals visiting a concert are specifically focusing on music and customers in shopping mall are just interested in buying nourishment or clothes, hooking up to the Internet does not imply any such restrictions. Of course, users may go online for rather specific purposes, but there are no physical structures (like shopping malls or concert halls) to channel their attention to very specific activities or goals. On the contrary, they may have to exert constant self-discipline in order not to be distracted by any attractive links drawing their attention away to different, unexpected topics or non-anticipated activities.
For Web publishers, this diffuseness is a resource which opens them many opportunities not available in the real world. In particular, new symbiotic relationships can be exploited when actors with very different goals and affiliations enter into mutual profitable cooperations. Thus, media publishers of all kinds (including the Encyclopaedia Britannica) offer their whole content freely by affiliating with commercial advertisers who see good opportunities to use their visitors as a market for profitable transactions; and whenever an association succeeds in attracting many users to its information sites or discussion fora, it can easily exploit this audience for increasing its membership or for winning support for collective actions.
Whenever a publisher succeeds in gathering visitors for any specific purpose, he can exploit this pool of "eyeball contacts" for a variety of other purposes - or he can ally with another publisher who pays for being allowed to engage in such exploitations. For instance, the premise may hold that whenever a customer is buying a product online, he is present in the Net not exclusively as a commercially minded consumer, but as an entire human being also susceptible to quite different (e. g. aesthetic or philanthropic) values at the same point of time. If this is admitted, many far-reaching implications concerning goal orientation and behavioral rationality of online actors have to be faced. While we certainly don't want to dismiss the notion that Internet surfers too tend to optimize utility (by minimizing costs and maximizing return), we have to accept that this concept assumes more ambiguity than in most offline settings.
To take an example: When I maximize utility as a conventional buyer of books, I may do this by visiting the store with the cheapest prices - or in the case prices are equal: the store next to my apartment, or the one where I'm certain to get the most friendly service. When I want to order books online, my situation is different in many ways: First of all, many utility and cost factors are irrelevant, because all outlets are in equal "proximity" and "friendly service" is offered nowhere. Consequently, I'm in search for alternative selection criteria in order to decide where to buy my books. Secondly, I'm likely to focus my mind not so exclusively on book buying than when I leave my house with the explicit intention of going to the store, because the Internet provides me a highly unspecified environment where I can easily satisfy very different interests almost at the same time. Consequently, maximizing utility may mean: maximizing the variety of different need-fulfillments within a given span of time.
Thus, online book buyers may well prefer e-vendors who connect book sales with quite different additional gratifications: e. g. by providing access to lively discussion groups and online communities, or by convincing the buyer that his money will be instrumental for additional causes (e.g. for alimenting reputable non-profit organizations). This logic is exemplified by GreaterGood.com: a site which opens a gateway for voluntary associations to raise funds by sharing the profits of online retailers:
Evidently, this intermediary service provider is successfully empowering individual online surfers to maximize utility: by enabling them to satisfy economic and philanthropic goals uno actu with a single (polyvalent) transaction.
As a conclusion, it might be hypothesized that the fusion of different values and interest on the level of individual roles gives rise to isomorphic cross-alliances on the level of organizations or societal institutions, thus generating tactical relationships among extremely divergent collective actors which never had to do anything with each other in the past. For voluntary associations, this implies that they face a more complex environment where survival and growth depends on the capacity to discover and exploit such surprising new symbiotic relationships. This new symbiosis between profit and non-profit organizations is vividly exemplified by charity malls like "iGive-com": a profit site living from sales commissions it gets for all transactions it stimulates in the name of any "worthy causes" (Kirby 1999):
Another illustration is offered by union sites which use their site to market products manufactured by union-friendly firms. By doing this, they provide their members with the opportunity to broaden the scope of union-related solidary action to their roles as consumers. To the degree that e-commerce is expanding, we may see unions as new actors exploiting their member adherence for initiating B2C relationships which can be highly effective to the degree that widespread and stable member solidarity exists. As a consequence, unions may increase their effectiveness because they have a new kind of positive sanction available for firms which are ready to fulfill their demands. (Darlington 2001). Or stated otherwise: the Internet enables unions to transform member solidarity more efficiently into economic power.
15. On the Declining Functionality of (Large) Bureaucratic Organization
Many previous arguments can be synthesized by the proposition that one of the most profound societal impacts of online communications results from their functional capacities to reduce the advantages of large-scale corporate structures and to undermine the classic (Weberian) principles of bureaucratic organization.
15.1. The declining return for high investments in technology, professional staff and organizational structures
The Internet opens vast opportunities to organize encompassing collective activities without the prior hiring of professional staff and the antecendent establishment of large-scale bureaucratic organizations. Thus, the known disfunctions of bureaucracies (red-tape, ritualism, inflexibility) can also be avoided: so that social movements can remain in a highly informal and decentralized states which allows all participants to express their spontaneous values and motivations.
In the realm of online communication, therefore, highly professional organizations are not likely to have much better functional capacities than rather unprofessionalized volunteer associations. In fact, large, bureaucratized organizations may even experience bigger problems because
On the other hand, all their financial, technical and organizational capacities as well as their superior professional knowledge and personal skills are of little value insofar as successful online communication can be realized on a very low level of efforts and qualifications. For instance, it has been found that technical communicators in firms typically have received very little formal training. Most skills necessary for net communication and Net publishing are acquired informally within the work process, or most often even during leisure hours at home (Silker/Gurak 1996). In other words: employing professionalized and highly paid communicators does not help much to improve the organization's Webpages and Web communication - as little as it helps to outsource online communication to specialized professional firms (like conventional advertising campaigns).
Thus, the Internet is apt to reduce the functional advantages associated with higher organizational size and professional skills. In the case of labor unions for example, it is interesting to note that in the initial phases, online technologies were mainly applied by the union levels with rather low organizational resources: by smaller local and regional union chapters on the one hand and by the thinly-staffed international unions of the other. The - far more potent and powerful - national unions have followed only after 1990. This may be explained by the fact that national organizations felt less need for new communication channels because they were in control of highly sophisticated and widely established conventional print media - while infra- as well as supranational levels saw online media as a tool for compensating their deficiencies in these respects.36
15.2. The growing "communicative marginality" of associational leaders
In a second way, online communication challenges principles of bureaucratic organization because it doesn't lend itself easily to centralized formal control. Conventional associational leaders and headquarters are accustomed to exercise tight control over the multilateral communication among members. Of course this is much facilitated by the fact that multilateral communications take place almost exclusively at official meetings which usually are prepared, organized and monitored by the associational staff and leadership.
Online channels allow multilateral interaction completely dissociated from organizationally embedded physical meetings - and thus outside the reach of formal associational control. Members well maintain intensive networks of group communication without the knowledge and support of organizational staff - or they may use self-selected monitoring persons not appointed by the formal organization. Nevertheless, the leaders may make use of the new situation by assuming an active role in online communication networks themselves: by providing disciplined monitoring and by guiding discussions in a way that they contribute to fact-finding, consensus building and to the legitimization of collective decisions. Doing this, they always remain in a precarious position because they can anytime be "dethroned" by informal moderators - or they may become irrelevant because new discussion forums emerge which rely on non-moderated horizontal exchange.
On the other hand, the role of leaders is considerably enhanced by the fact that "meetings" (e. g. board assemblies) are no longer restricted to hours of physical sessions, but become more extended by the use of computer-supported communication. Thus, a need for "group facilitators" arises who are skilled to act in the preparatory stages of meetings:
Similarly, the role of chairmanship no longer finishes when assemblies are dissolved, because participants may wish to see summaries and results of their meeting on the WWW, to receive additional interesting materials - or just to continue their deliberations by electronic mail.
15.3. The declining formal control over the spread of information
Thirdly, digitalization lowers the degree to which information can be kept secret or at least under exclusive control within any defined system boundaries. Whenever classified or secret information is leaking to an unauthorized recipient, it is highly probable it will copied, sent to other recipients, or finally even made public in newsgroups or the WWW. Thus, governments and organizations have to increase security measures so that nothing of this sort happens: because potential damage is far higher than in the past when stolen paper documents often remained at one single place (because nobody had the means for copying and distribution).
A wiser strategy may be to take possible publication into account from the beginning: so that even secret negotiations are enacted in a way that publicized minutes would not be too embarrassing for the participating organizations. These new risks have been exemplified in the drafting of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) initially promoted by the OECD.
From this case, Stephan Kobrin has rightly drawn the conclusion that because the Internet makes it difficult to maintain the secrecy of such elite negotiations it will be necessary for the institutional actors to increase their investments in generating widespread public support (Kobrin 1998).
15.4. The emancipation of members and subsystems from encompassing organizational controls
Fourthly, the Internet makes it more difficult for any organized systems to keep the system level neatly separated from the level of subsystems or individual members. For instance, whenever the leadership of such an organization tries to present an "official" face to its environment, it is likely to be counteracted by any internal subgroups or individuals publishing on their own. As a consequence, there is a tendency for system levels to collapse, because it is no longer possible to know which communications have to be attributed to the encompassing system or to subsystemic entities of any kind. This trend toward de-differentiation is vividly seen in cases of war where official governmental communications are superseded (and invalidated) by "internal witnesses" communicating their own experiences and views:
The Zapatista movement shows that by using new Net technologies, modern social movements are able to spread information and to reach global public visibility within a very short time, without needing any support by conventional mass media. As a consequence, governmentally controlled media systems are no longer able to suppress any intranational information:
Generally, online publication channels are disposed to convey rather direct, "authentic" communications not distorted or by intermediary editing or filtering agencies and not delayed by any organizational or technical restraints. A first reason for this stems from the fact that in contrast to classical advertisement campaigns or demanding paper publication, Web publishing tasks are less likely to be outsourced to specialized external firms, but are most often organized as "in-house activities" accomplished by employees (or volunteers) within the association. On the one hand, such "amateurism" certainly hampers the achievement of professional quality levels as well as the influx of complicated tactical considerations. But on the other hand, it makes it easier to convey "genuine" information expressing exactly what the communicating association members think, feel and intend - and nothing else. Secondly, the Internet allows to propagate very quick "just-in-time information" because (in contrast to weakly, monthly or even yearly paper publications) there are no deadlines which collide with current events and developments and no operational delays by printing firms, distribution agencies or other intermediary actors. Of course, this lack of decelerating mechanisms is negatively felt when too spontaneous uploadings have to be corrected because in the meantime, heated emotions have cooled down or more rational, less short term argumentations have gained ground.
Given the low need for resources, skills and social cooperation, the Net facilitates the unpredictable emergence of single activists who act not only as initiators, but as effective organizers of far-reaching campaigns. Thus, it provides a new environment for the rise of charismatic "heroes" as the very antipodes of conventional bureaucratic officials and managerial leaders. Similarly to the epic literature regularly associated with the primary discovery and conquest of new territories in the past, the first endeavors to colonize Cyberspace have produced a wealth of stories telling about the adventurous activities of single individuals who succeeded in the their "mission impossible" against adverse circumstances and mighty countervailing powers:
While it may never be ascertained to what extent Irene's web campaign were in any way decisive for the Congressional decision, there is no doubt that such anecdotal stories are widely hold true: providing new nourishment o the old American myth that any individual can successfully stand up against "biggest powers" whenever he/she chooses to be fully committed to a specific cause. Another famous case is the Nobel Prize Winner of 1997; Jody Williams from Vermont, who used the Internet successfully to create pressure for an International agreement on the banishment of land mines:
Despite these empowerments of lower organizational strata, many inequalities in the usage of the new media persist which are more related to personal characteristics than to the formal status within the association. Thus, it is not surprising to find union discussion groups dominated by males of younger age and higher education: individuals not quite apt to represent the average union members. 38 In addition, international union communication is badly hampered by the dominance of the English language which is usually not mastered by workers of non-Anglo-Saxon countries. This handicap was quite manifest in the case of striking Brazilian docker workers in Santos who were able to establish worldwide contacts only because the British Labournet was helpful to translate their core documents into English.39
As this volatile new "communicative Internationalism" is not structured by frameworks of formal low, contracts and organizations, it is shaped primarily by informal factors on the level of psychology and culture.
As a consequence, all these new movements are directly vulnerable to fragmentations stemming from differences of language, values or behavioral styles. (Waterman 1999).
More than that: the lack of formal organizational mechanisms (e .g. equal voting rights for all members) opens that gate for highly informal inequalities of influence of power based much more on "cultural capital" than on material resources.
15.5. The decentralization and informalization of extra- and trans-associational interactions
The bureaucratic character of traditional labor unions and most other established associations is particularly manifested in their tendency to keep external relationships in the monopolistic control of their leadership and a restricted group of peak functionaries. Evidently, this centralization facilitates speedy decisions and effective collective action, the maintenance and public display of a specified and consistent "corporate identity", the cultivation of reliable relationships to other centralized collective actors (employer, parties, other unions etc.) and the regular participation in corporatist political structures. On the other hand, bottlenecks may result from the fact that the few authorized elite members are easily overloaded when many and intensive external relationships to different actors and on different levels have to be managed at the same time, and many member categories may find their own demands ignored because they have no representative who articulates their views vis-à-vis the employers or governmental agencies.
Undoubtedly, such centralized structures are supported by conventional mass media which make it impossible for non-elite members to "go public" on their own or to cultivate intensive informal communication without the knowledge and consent of associational leaders. This is particularly seen in the case of international unions in which only peak members have the resources for maintaining regular relationships to national member associations (e. g. by visiting worldwide conferences or by centrally produced and distributed written publications). By contrast, online technologies empower all members and subgroups to engage in autonomous external interactions, so that many more actors than in past will contribute to the public appearance of the association, and apart from the "official" relationships maintained by the leaders, many transorganizational contacts and alliances on much lower levels (e. g. between parallel specialized work groups in different associations) may come into existence.
Given these developments, cyber-unionists seem well advised to complement their tactical knowledge by studying the activities of new alternative movements (e. g. ecological or feminist groupings) (Waterman 1999). In a rather moderate version, these new tactics have been exemplified by the famous dockers of Liverpool who occupied Montreal gantry crane in June 1996 in order to gain the support of their Canadian colleagues in their fight against the CAST shipping line. As this action did not get any attention by the British newspapers, the dockers at home could only be informed by publishing Canadian press articles (which have appeared in the Montreal Gazette) on the union's Website. This same Web publication was unexpectedly successful because it helped to mobilize the support of the "Maritime Union of Australia" as well as a Japanese docker union.40
Interestingly enough, this pioneering campaign has not been initiated by new kinds of "knowledge workers", but by a "very old kind of working class: male, manual or clerical, proudly local, identified with their work community." (Waterman 1999). Such examples illustrate how the Internet can help to actualize international union solidarity on a very tactical, operative level, because cooperative relationships can be established and extended "on the spot" within very short time.
By contrast, the Internet seems to give rise to a new "operative Internationalism" of labor which is based neither on common ideology and values nor on far-reaching formal contracts and organizational structures, but on current ad hoc-issues and on fluid, constantly changing processes of communication (Waterman 1999). This implies that the scope and intensity of transnational worker solidarity and the success of coordinated transnational actions is less dependent on formal union policies, inter-union relationships or intergovernmental agreements than anytime in the past:
At a time where employment conditions and industrial relations become more and more homogenized due to global market liberalization, multinational corporations and the internationalization of law, the Internet is very functional for the unions in order to keep pace with these developments and to transfer experiences made at one place to many others. Thus Australian Unions have found it necessary to learn from American Unions the practices of "enterprise bargaining", because they increasingly have to engage in such negotiations themselves:
While broader member strata then ever will become involved in extraorganizational communication, many inequalities in the usage of the new media nevertheless persist: differences which are more related to personal characteristics than to the formal status within the association. Thus, it is not surprising to find transnational discussion groups between unions dominated by males of younger age and higher education: individuals not quite apt to represent the average union members. In fact, international union communication is badly hampered by the dominance of the English language which is usually not mastered by workers of non-Anglo-Saxon countries. This handicap was quite manifest in the case of striking Brazilian docker workers in Santos who were able to establish worldwide contacts only because the British Labournet was helpful to translate their core documents into English.
15.6. The reduced significance of formal representation and delegation
Finally, institutionalized structures of deliberation and decision making become eroded because there is less need for formal delegation and representation. The functional necessity for representation - even in associations tightly committed to grassroots democracy - stems mainly from the fact that it is technically impossible to ascertain the opinion of all rank-and file members on any significant issues - particularly when much information is needed and little time is available for decision. In addition, representation allows the formation of smaller bodies able to engage in deliberations and negotiations, while larger aggregates of members cannot do anything else than deliver their votes.
When online communication becomes ubiquitous, mechanisms of representation are weakened like many other intermediary structures. First of all, there is less need for representative roles or bodies, because opinions of very large membership bases can be empirically assessed by surveys or straw votes within rather short times. And secondly, the position of such representative agents is weakened because they can no longer just pretend to speak in the name of a consensual "silent majority". Instead, they may be confronted with the expectation to ascertain the attitudes of their clientele before they take position - or they may be "falsified" ex post by dissident members using e-mail (or protest Websites) to articulate their dissatisfaction.
In particular, representatives find it ever more difficult to assume the role of "trustees" who rely on their own inner judgment when deciding what is best for their clientele. Instead, they are more driven toward the role of responsive "delegates" who see themselves just as authentic transmitters of member opinions, without assuming a personal responsibility of their own. But it is even more probable that they will adopt a new role as "facilitators" or "consensus catalysts" by engaging in an extensive virtual discourse with their clientele: trying to synthesize divergent opinions and to hammer out new integrative concepts in order to maximize support and legitimization.
On a very general theoretical level, it might be hypothesized that by increasing system complexity and system volatility, online communication reduces the degree to which organizational activities and performances can be deliberately controlled and predicted. Typically, organizations install Websites and Intranets with the aim of facilitating the distribution of information, and of increasing the efficiency in storing, retrieving and transmitting data relevant to their activities. This rather narrow view regularly ignores all the unintended second-level effects associated with the new means of communication: effects which can easily erase the intended goals or induce completely unpredicted new developments (Gundry/Metes 1997). While explicit intentions by management focus on centralized top-down communication, the members typically tend to shift the use to more informal horizontal and diagonal communication (as well as to extraorganizational interaction). As a result, organizations experience a major change in their entire system of (internal and external) communication: a change management can neither predict nor control. External interaction is less and less monopolized by formal managerial channels; intended gains of efficiency goals may easily be neutralized by information overflows which absorb precious working time of all collaborators; and high priority information does not get the needed attention because members and officials are to much absorbed by less urgent news (Gundry/Metes 1997).
16. On the Organizational Prerequisites for Successful Web Communication
While traditional bureaucratic structures seem to be rather irrelevant (or in some ways even detrimental), associations nevertheless need some organizational capacities in order to make extensive and effective use of the new Net technologies for internal and external communication. This is particularly true for Web activities because Websites have to fulfill increasingly demanding requirements in order to attract the "eyeballs" of many users.
1) Webpages have to be updated frequently, because their attractiveness depends heavily on the actuality and variability of their content. Given the rather easy tasks of daily updating on the one hand and the perpetual flow of site visitors on the other, Web publication endeavors are prone to become highly continuous activities which are best taken care of by regular employees within an association. Consequently, considerable work discipline is particularly needed for being very quick in updating pages (e. g. to announce unexpected events like the death of members etc.). In particular, the leadership has to engage more regularly than in conventional publication endeavors (e. g. when two issues of a journal or newsletter are edited every year).
2) Websites have to convey a consistent public image and identity of an association. As all subsystems always have the opportunity of "going public" themselves, this unity of appearance has to be based on a voluntary commitment of all members and subsystems to a single coherent publication strategy (usually implemented by the headquarter). In order to generate this coherence, associations may have to install more powerful mechanisms of internal consensus-building and legitimization.
3) Ideally, associational Websites have to mirror all major aspects of organizational activities. Consequently, the members or functionaries charged with Web publication have to be placed in the very center of intraorganizational communication. In particular, they have to be universally acknowledged as "clearing agencies" who are disposed to receive, filter and forward anything of interest going on anywhere within the system. In addition, extensive cooperative relationships have to be built up in order to secure that various work groups or local subunits regularly report their activities and announcements.
Overall, there is certainly an edge for associations which can either rely on at least at least a small paid professional staff or on highly motivated and regularly active volunteer members. Given the low and sporadic work 44commitments of most (even rather activated) association members, it seems evident that Webmaster responsibility has to be shared by different individuals (Pells 1998). As a consequence, we may hypothesize particularly within unprofessional associations, that Web publishing often causes a shift toward centralization: because only very few highly active members supply the needed continuous commitment, Even more staff expansion may be necessary when the site results in high bottom up communication: so that officials at the headquarters are busy to answer emails from members or the general public. In the not-for-profit world, the introduction of new technology, specifically introducing the use of electronic mail and establishing a presence on the World Wide Web, seems to have demanded new staff resources rather than less.
As a new ubiquitous in-house-activity based on identical principles of hardware, software and design procedures, Web Publishing increases the degree to which all voluntary associations are similar to each other. As a consequence, they all have more reasons to look at each other and to learn from each other even if they are active in completely different spheres. Thus, Web activities add the field of overarching associational problems and tasks which are articulated by respective meta-associational associations (like the ASAE: the "American Society of Association Executives").
17. The New Unlimited Options of Combining Public, Semipublic and "Private" Social Communications
The immense functional unspecificity of computer networks implies that they are equally fitted for processing public, intraorganizational and completely private (or highly classified) communications. In fact, while the WWW allows to give information the utmost degree of publicity (because they can be retrieved anytime anywhere on the globe), Email messages encrypted by PGP may well represent the most secret form of technologically supported communication, because in contrast to phone talks of radio transmissions, they cannot even be deciphered by governmental police or secret service agencies.
In his book "fundraising in the Internet", Michael Stein gives labor unions the advice to establish Web sites with two layers: a public zone accessible to everybody and a more exclusive zone for formally registered and paying members. 45 This recommendation is based on the realistic premise that even in the online age, Mancur Olsons argument is still true that in order to prevent "free riding", associations have still to motivate members by distributing selective incentives not accessible to outsiders: e.g. by giving them insight into more confidential documents, by providing opportunities to participate in high-level discussions or to ask experts for professional advice, or by opening channels for initiating into personal contact with leaders and high-ranking officials.46
Apart from offering selective incentive, providing nonpublic zones accessible only to formal members has other useful functions. First, they offer a channel for propagating sensible information which should not be available to employers (e. g. information relating to future strike or boycott activities) And secondly, they offer better possibilities to encourage free talk and solicit honest opinions because workers have not to fear that their articulations will be set against them by any outside actors..
Behind this "semi-public" sphere, there may even more secretive communicative exchanges based (e. g. by mailing lists including only leading elite members and/or incumbents) on formal roles. In fact, the most important intraorganizational online communications may be those least visible for outsiders (and therefore: least amenable for social research): bilateral or multilateral contacts among board members who use e-mail for circulating classified materials, preparing sessions or deliberating on important decisions.
The establishment and refinement of such multilayered communication systems represents a new major organizational task involving all parts of an association on a continuous basis. Designing such "communication policies" is a complex and highly demanding endeavor because decisions "what shall be communicated on what channels" have not only to be guided by considerations of functional efficiency, but also by reflecting the expressive, symbolic aspects inseparably connected with all strategies and acts of communication. Thus, the establishment of an "inner circle" reserved to registered members has the effect of headlighting the salience of the formal membership in an new way. And to know about the existence secretive "mail-lists" used by leaders can cause non-leaders to feel more marginal than ever, because there are now more centralized communication processes from which they are systematically excluded.
The larger the spectrum of different communication technologies and transmission channels, the more norms have to be created and the more careful reflections have to be made in order to decide which modes should be used in which situation. Thus, making phone calls or writing snail mail letters has different symbolic connotations since sending Email is a ready alternative options; and still selling paper documents on order can appear more "nasty" in times when they could as well be published for free on the WWW.
18. Conclusions and Outlooks
We have started this text with the premise that voluntary associations are particularly prone to embrace the new Net technologies, because on the basis of these new tools, they are better able to be what they always aspired to be: democratically constituted collectivities relying on a complex interplay between internal and external, vertical and horizontal, upward and downward, informal and formal, bilateral and multilateral communications.
Considering the immense polyvalence of online communication technologies, it seems rather safe to predict that they will be used in ever more extensive ways; but paradoxically, this same versatility (which is increasing with the spread of every new hardware appliance and software application) makes it very hard to forecast which uses will predominate in the near and more distant future. On a very general level, Kubicek seems to be right in stating that the Internet - as the most flexible, adaptive of all media - has very different functions and consequences under different environmental conditions, so that it can be fitted into almost existing socio-cultural settings and is more likely to consolidate and strengthen them than to act as a causal agent of change.47 Likewise, the conclusion is warranted that primary face to face interactions as well as conventional mass media communications will not become obsolete with expanding computer-supported interactions. On the contrary, they may have to be expanded and intensified before the full potentials of online communication can be exploited.48 More than that: online interactions provide the background in front of which the manifold functions and merits of conventional communication modes appear in a new light: For example, they make more visible to what extent physical meetings of all kinds are not instrumental for facilitating multilateral verbal communication but fulfill many additional. expressive functions as well: e. g. by ritually reinforcing common values and norms, or by providing opportunities for socio-emotional gratifications.
Looking at the years immediately ahead, the following developments are very likely to encourage the application of net technologies in associations, and to reinforce at least some of the trends identified in the sections above:
1) As the number of Internet users will increase, more and more associations will reach the point where they can expect the large majority of their members to be hooked up. Arriving at this threshold, they can realize disproportionate cost savings and functional empowerments by switching from conventional to online communication strategies in a fundamental, encompassing way: e. g. by giving up their paper editions of journals and newsletters or by forcing members to use online channels for various transactions (e. g. renewing membership, notifying address changes, subscribing to special services, paying yearly contributions or for articulate demands, grievances or proposals). Especially for larger associations, the advantages connected with such fundamental changes will be so considerable that they will readily help poorer members to become hooked up (e. g. by offering them cheap computers or by subsidizing their ISP).49
2) The very rapid diffusion of mobile Internet appliances (palmtops, organizers, cellular phones) will have the consequences that almost everybody can be online almost everywhere and under all environmental conditions. Consequently, it will be even more true that volunteers will be able to relate to their associations at any time, within any social setting and without interrupting any other (e. g. private or occupational) activities. Thus, the volatility and unpredictability of participation and influence pattern will increase even more, and effective collective activities will even become more independent from any organizational frames or environmental conditions.
3) The introduction of legally valid signatures will destroy the last refugium where traditional snail mail letters have still remained indispensable up to the present. At least theoretically, associations will become able to practice all their formal activities and procedures over the Net: admissions and withdrawal of members; payments of compulsory fees and voluntary contributions, legally binding elections and votings - and even the holding of statuary meetings or the signings of contracts with other organizations.
Arquilla, John / Ronfeldt, David (1996): The Advent of Netwar. Santa Monica: RAND.
Bollier, David: Reinventing Democratic Culture in an Age of Electronic Network. http://www.netaction.org/bollier/index.html
Bonchek, Mark S. (1995): Do Computer Networks Facilitate Collective Action? A Transaction Cost Approach. Presented at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association "Why Do People Join Interest Groups?" Chicago, IL - April 6-8. http://www.ifcss.net/grassroots.htm
Burns,T./Stalker, G.M.: The Management of Innovation. Tavistock Publications, London 1961)
Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS): Anti-Globalization - A Spreading Phenomenon. . Report # 2000/08 August 22, 2000
Clark, P.B., and Wilson J.Q. (1961) "Incentive Systems." Administrative Science Quarterly 6: 129-166.
Clark, James P. (1995) Non-profits in cyberspace: The fund raiser's guide. (Fund Raising Management Vol. 26, Nr. 8, p. 28ff.)
Cleaver Jr., Harry M. (1999): Computer-linked Social Movements and the Global Threat to Capitalism. Austin Texas. http://www.eco.utexas.edu/faculty/Cleaver/polnet.html
Cleaver, Harry M. (1994): "The Chiapas Uprising and the Future of Class Struggle in the New World Order," ", Riff-Raff: attraverso la produzione sociale (Padova, Italy), marzo, pp. 133-145. http://www.eco.utexas.edu/faculty/Cleaver/hmchtmlpapers.html
Cleaver, Harry M. (1998): The Zapatista Effect: The Internet and the Rise of an Alternative Political Fabric. In: Journal of International Affairs 51. pp. 621ff.
Daly, Nancy R. (1996): Reaching board decisions online. In: Association Management 48, 1. pp. 43ff.
Darlington, Roger (2001): The Creation of the E-Union: The Use of ICT by British Unions. Text of a presentation made to an Internet Economy Conference at the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics http://members.tripod.co.uk/rogerdarlington/E-union.html
DeLoach, Amelia (1996): Being Online. In: CMC Magazine, November. http://www.december.com/mag/1996/nov/last.html
Demko, Paul: Acting up On Line. In: The Chronicle of Philanthropy. http://philanthropy.com/articles
Dropkin, Greg (1996): Sending a Strike Message in a Bottle. In: CMC Magazine, November. http://www.december.com/cmc/mag/1996/nov/dropkin.html
Dunn, Andrew J. (1996): Shaping a Web for inclusion. In: CMC Magazine, November. http://www.december.com/cmc/mag/1996/nov/dunn.html
Fernback, J. (1997): The Individual within the Collective: Virtual Ideology and the Realisation of Collectivist Principles. In: Jones, S. (ed.): Virtual Culture: Identity and Communication in Cyberspace. Sage: London.
Fink, Christine: The Internet and Indigenous Groups. World Report on the Rights of Indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities. http://www.cs.org/publications/CSQ/csqinternet.html
Frederick, Howard H. (1992): Computer Communications in Cross-Border Coalition-Building North American NGO Networking Against NAFTA. In: Gazette 50. pp. 217-242.
Goodman, Paul. S./Darr, Eric D. (1998): Computer-aided systems and communities: mechanisms for organizational learning in distributed environments. In: MIS Quarterly 12, pp. 417ff.
Gundry, John/Metes George: Intranet Challenges: Online Work and Communication A Working by Wire White Paper. http://www.knowab.co.uk/wbwintra.html
Habermas, Jürgen (1962): Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit. Untersuchungen zu einer bürgerlichen Kategorie der Gesellschaft. Neuwied: Luchterhand.
Hair, Jay D. (1999): Fund raising on the Internet: Instant access to a new world of donors In: Fund Raising Management, 30 (8), pp. 16-18.
Halleck, DeeDee (1999): Active Media Subjects/Observers in a TWO world. Infrastructure and Funding for Independent Media. http://commposite.uqam.ca/videaz/docs/dehaen.html
Haythornthwaite, C., & Wellman, B. (1998): Work, friendship and media use for information exchange in a networked organization. In: Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 46(12), pp. 1101-1114.
Haythornthwaite, C. (1999): A social network theory of tie strength and media use: A framework for evaluating multi-level impacts of new media. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. http://alexia.lis.uiuc.edu/~haythorn/sna_theory.html
Jenkins, J. Craig (1983): Resource Mobilization Theory and the Study of Social Movements. In: Annual Review of Sociology 9, pp. 527-553.
Jones, S.G.(Ed) (1998): Cybersociety 2.0: Revisiting Computer-Mediated Communication and Community. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Klein, Naomi (2000): The Vision Thing: Were The DC And Seattle Protests Unfocused, Or Are Critics Missing The Point? (The Nation, June 23, 2000) http://www.d2kla.org/pipermail/d2kdiscuss/2000-June/000186.html
Kobrin, Stephen J. (1998): The MAI and the Clash of Globalizations. In: Foreign Policy, No. 109, Fall 1998, pp. 97-109.
Kotamraju, Nalini P. (1996) A not-for-profit Internet, Berkeley 1996. http://is.gseis.ucla.edu/impact/f96/Projects/nalinik/
Krause, Audrie: The Virtual Activist. A training course. http://www.netaction.org/training/part1.html
Krause, Audrie:(1997) The Online Activist. Tools for Organizing in Cyberspace. http://www.mojones.com/hellraiser_central/features/krause1.html
Kubicek, Herbert: Demokratie im Netz - Vernetzte Demokratie? http://www.heise.de/tp/deutsch/html/result.xhtml?url=/tp/deutsch/special/pol/8002/2.html&words=Kubicek
Lee, Eric (1993): Computer Communications and the Labour Movement. In: Bulletin of the International Federation of Worker's Education Associations, Nr. 3. http://www.poptel.org.uk/ifwea/ifwwe03.html
Lee, Eric (1995): Labour and the Internet. In: Internet Business Journal. http://www.solinet.org/LEE/ibj.html
Lee, Eric: The Labour Movement and the Internet. Chapter 4 (selection) http://www.solinet.org/LEE/labour34.html
Lee, Eric: Using the Internet to promote international labour solidarity - bridging the gap between vision and reality. http://kpd.sing-kr.org/labormedia/article/w4-4e.html
Lee, Eric: Workers Unite. Labor Unions are moving to the Net to forge worldwide solidarity http://www.iw.com/print/monthly/1995/08/workers.html
Lee, Eric: World Solidarity Online. http://www.oneworld.org/vso/pubs/orbit/65/solidarity.htm
Liff, Allen (1998): Fostering Online Collaboration and Community. In: Association Management, 50 (9), pp. 33ff.
Lipset, S. M.: Political Man. The Social Bases of Politics. New York 1960
Lipset, Seymour M. und Rokkan, Stein (1967): Party Systems and Voter Alignments: Cross National Perspectives. New York: Free Press.
Marcus, Ph. M. (1966): Union Conventions and Executive Boards: A Formal Analysis of Organizational Structure. In: American Sociological Review 31, pp. 61-70.
Mark, Truby and Dina ElBoghdady (2000): Consumers turn Web into Action. The Detroit News 6. April 2000.
McAdam, Doug (1986): Freedom Summer. New York: Oxford University Press.
Melucci, Alberto (1989): Nomads of the Present: Social Movements and Individual Needs in Contemporary Society. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Monge, P.R. (1987): The network level of analysis. In C.R. Berger & S.H. Chaffee.
Motavalli, Jim (1996): The virtual Environment. In: E - Environmental Magazine 7 (32), pp. 28ff.
Myers, Daniel J. (1998): Social Activism through Computer Networks. University of Notre Dame. http://www.nd.edu/~dmyers/cbsm/vol1/myers2.html
Olson, Mancur 1971: The Logic of Collective Action. Public Goods and the Theory of Groups, Cambridge: Harvard University Press
Pells, Michael (1998): The Webmaster demystified. In: Association Management 46 (6), pp. 46ff.
Powell, Walter W. (1990): Neither Market nor Hierarchy: Network Forms of Organization. In: Research in Organizational Behavior, 12, pp. 295-336.
Pugh, M. (1998): Post-Conflict Rehabilitation: The Humanitarian Dimension. Paper to be presented to the Third International Security Forum, Zurich, 19 - 21 October, 1998.
Raphael, Edna E. (1965): Power Structure and Membership Dispersion in Unions. In: American Journal of Sociology, 71, pp. 274-283.
Rauch, Herbert (1983) Partizipation und Leistung in Grossgruppensitzungen (in: Neidhardt, Friedhelm [Hrsg.] Gruppensoziologie. Perspektiven und Materialien. Sonderheft 25 der Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, Westdeutscher Verlag Opladen 1983:256-274).
Rheingold, H. (1993): The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier. Reading, MA.: Addison Wesley.
Rilling, Rainer: Auf dem Weg zur Cyberdemokratie. http://www.heise.de/tp/deutsch/special/pol/8001/1.html
Romano, Gerry (1998): Meet me in Cyberspace. In: Association Management 50 (9), pp. 24ff.
Rosencrance, Debra (2000): The Internet's Impact on meetings. In: Asosciation Management 52 (3), pp. 49ff.
Ryan, Barbara (1992): Feminism and The Women's Movement. New York: Routledge.
Schaaf, Allen (1996): Unions, the Rank and File, and the Internet. In: CMC Magazine, November. http://www.december.com/cmc/mag/1996/nov/schaaf.html
Schwartz, Ed. (1996): How Citizens use the Internet (excerpt). http://www.ora.com/catalog/netactivism/excerpt/index.html
Shuping Frances (1998): Changing the way volunteer leaders communicate: high-tech options abound for board-staff communication. In: Association Management 50 (1), pp. 77ff.
Silker, Christine M. Gurak, Laura J. (1996): Technical communication in Cyberspace: report of a qualitative study. In: Technical Communication, 43 (4), pp. 357ff.
Smith, M.A. & Kollock, P.(Eds.) (1999): Communities in Cyberspace. London: Routledge.
Stone, Roger Allan (1999) 20'000 emails in two weeks: the NEA example (Campaigns & Elections, 2, 1999).
Stubbs, Paul (1998): Conflict and Co-Operation in the Virtual Community: eMail and the Wars of the Yugoslav Succession. In: Sociological Research Online, 3 (3). http://www.socresonline.org.uk/socresonline/3/3/7.html
Sudweeks, F., Mclaughlin, M.L. & Rafaeli, S. (Eds.)(1998): Network and Netplay. Cit Press.
Taylor, Verta and Nancy E. Whittier (1992): Collective Identity in the Past and Future of the Resource Mobilization Research Program.
Turner, Ralph H. and Lewis M. Killian (1972): Collective Behavior. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall
Wagner, Cynthia G. (2000) Cyberunions: Organized Labor Goes Online. (The Futurist, 34/1)
Ward, Kevin (1998): The Militia Movement and the Internet, Rutgers University. http://camden-www.rutgers.edu/~wood/445/ward.html
Waterman, Peter (1999): Problems in Creating a Global Solidarity Culture. Cybersociology Magazine, Issue 5, March 1999. http://www.socio.demon.co.uk/magazine/5/5waterman.html
Watson, N. (1997): Why We Argue About Virtual Community: A Case Study of the phish.net Fan Community. In: Jones, S. (ed.): Virtual Culture: Identity and Communication in Cyberspace. Sage: London.
Werber, Niels: Ungeahnte Einigkeit Die Rolle des Internet in der Parteipolitik. http://www.heise.de/tp/deutsch/inhalt/te/1446/1.html
Zald Mayer N. / McCarthy John D. (eds.), Social Movements in an Organizational Society, Transaction Books, New Brunswick 1987
Part I | Part II
27 The possibility of "direct democracy", enabled by the new media, is feared as a challenge to "representative democracy" especially by the CDU/CSU and the FDP, whereas the Greens and the PDS (as well as parts of the SPD) tend to recognize additional channels of influence for their own ends in the new media (T. Armstroff, S. Peisker, S.K.Schmudlach: Nutzung der Neuen Medien zur Öffentlichkeitsarbeit von Parteien in der BRD). http://selab24.informatik.uni-bremen.de/Lehre/politik/
28 Conjuring communities. In: The Village Voice. Vol. 43, Npo. 34; pp. 31ff.
30 For definition of these terms, see Burns/Stalker 1961).
31 Paul Demko: Acting up On Line. In: The Chronicle of Philanthropy. http://philanthropy.com/articles/dir/v10.dir/il2.dir/12advocacy.htm
32 International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Worker's Union
34 See Amelia DeLoach (1996): Being Online. In: CMC Magazine, Nov. 1996, http://www.december.com/mag/1996/nov/last.html
35 Paul Demko: Acting up On Line. In: The Chronicle of Philanthropy. http://philanthropy.com/articles/dir/v10.dir/il2.dir/12advocacy.htm
36 Another paradox is that until today, the unions displaying the most intensive online activities are not those with computer-savvy members (e. g. unions organizing office workers or public servants), but organizations particularly busy in the field of internal education. Allen Schaaf (1996): Unions, the Rank and File, and the Internet. In: CMC Magazine, Nov. 1996, http://www.december.com/cmc/mag/1996/nov/schaaf.html
37 Washington Post Oct. 11th, 1997
38 See for example Eric Lee: Workers Unite. Labor Unions are moving to the Net to forge worldwide solidarity. http://www.iw.com/print/monthly/1995/08/workers.html
39 Intersindical Portuária de Santos (Brazil) http://www.web-brazil.com/arquivo/cosipa/release3.html
40 Greg Dropkin (1996): Sending a Strike Message in a Bottle. In: CMC Magazine, Nov. 1996, http://www.december.com/cmc/mag/1996/nov/dropkin.html
41 International Federation of Building and Wood Workers
42 Labour Web Site of the Week: The First Year. http://www.solinet.org/LEE/labour22.html
43 See Andrew J. Dunn (1996): Shaping a Web for inclusion. In: CMC Magazine, Nov. 1996, http://www.december.com/cmc/mag/1996/nov/dunn.html
44 Thus, it is not astonishing to find that the Journal edited by the ASAE ("Association Management") is increasingly filled with articles related to associational Web publishing (and other Net related activities)..
45 Michael Stein: Tools you can use online. http://fundrisingonline.com/book/ch3.html
46 Olson, Mancur, 1971: passim.
47 Herbert Kubicek: Demokratie im Netz - Vernetzte Demokratie? http://www.heise.de/tp/deutsch/special/pol/8002/1.html
48 For example, Website addresses have to be made public by press publications when the number of visitors is to be increased.
49 This is well exemplified by the "workingfamilies.com".- Initiative of AFL-CIO which aims at hooking up almost all of its 16 Mio members by selling them low-price PC's and offering them cheap providing services (see: http://www.workingfamilies.com/).
Last update: 06 Mrz 17