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Organization as Information – a Space Odyssey

Child, John; Ihrig, Martin; Merali, Yasmin


John Child

Martin Ihrig


This Vita Contemplativa has been written in recognition of Max Boisot, who died in 2011. It reflects on his work and its contributions to organization studies and beyond. Boisot created a knowledge-based lens for studying complex organizational phenomena. He argued that the ways in which agents process information have fundamental implications for our understanding of groups and organizations within the emerging knowledge society. He articulated this argument with a set of elegant conceptual frameworks that have been widely used by scholars and practitioners to address the dynamics of information, knowledge and learning and the organization of social and scientific activity. We provide an overview of Boisot’s conceptual frameworks before reviewing the impact of his work in the organizational field, which included contemporary developments in China, the role of information in organizations, and more recently organizational complexity and the management of Big Science at CERN. Boisot’s analysis opens up a number of avenues for further development, which are also discussed.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2014-06
Journal Organization Studies
Print ISSN 0170-8406
Electronic ISSN 1741-3044
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 35
Issue 6
Pages 801-824
Institution Citation Child, J., Ihrig, M., & Merali, Y. (2014). Organization as Information – a Space Odyssey. Organization Studies, 35(6), 801-824.
Keywords Big science; China; Complexity; I-space; Knowledge; Social learning
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