The role of space in the emergence and endurance of organizing: How independent workers and material assemblages constitute organizations

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Where do new organizations come from, and how do they persist? Based on an ethnographic study of two creative hubs in Amsterdam, in which creative independent workers rented studio space, we show how space plays a role in constituting new organizations and making them last. Focusing on challenging moments in the development of these two creative hubs, we propose that space, understood as a material assemblage, participates in providing endurance to organizing practices. It does so because space and practice reflexively account for each other. In other words, space may constrain or enable practices, and provide them with meaning, as the literature abundantly illustrates, but practices also define and shape space. Rather than emphasizing either of these two options, we argue that they should be understood as integral to each other. Furthermore, it is precisely their reflexive relation that contributes to the emergence of new organizations. Our study contributes to the literature on the communicative constitution of organizations, and more broadly to the knowledge of organizing in the creative industries.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1057-1080
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 01.06.2019

    Research areas

  • Entrepreneurship - CCO, constitution of organisation, creative industries, independent workers, practices