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[cp] Re:Activist community, shadow organisations

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  • fwnickols
    More data? I had absolutely NO data. I wasn t making a data-based decision; I was making a prediction. My point is that any time the formal organization
    Message 1 of 7 , Jan 11, 2002
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      "More" data? I had absolutely NO data. I wasn't making a data-based
      decision; I was making a prediction. My point is that any time the
      formal organization moves to incorporate or involve elements of the
      informal organization -- for good or bad or whether properly or
      improperly motivated -- that incorporation/involvement is the very
      essence of co-optation which, according to my dictionary, has the
      following definitions:

      1a to choose or elect as a member
      1b to appoint as a colleague or assistant
      2a to take into a group (i.e., absorb or assimilate)
      2b to take over

      I had 2a mainly in mind when I made my remarks although the others
      apply even if less strictly.

      Regards,

      Fred Nickols
      nickols@...

      --- In com-prac@y..., drjmpirone@m... wrote:
      > Fred,
      > Not sure that atomic fire instance referred to was "co-optatiion".
      Would you
      > not have to have more data prior to that judgment?
      > Joseph----- Original Message -----
      > From: "fwnickols" <nickols@a...>
      > To: <com-prac@y...>
      > Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2002 5:57 PM
      > Subject: [cp] Re:Activist community, shadow organisations
      >
      >
      > > John D. Smith asks if my post about the subject line above
      > > isn't "implying that the formal organization can't help but co-opt
      > > communities of practice and is somehow clueless about the inquiry
      > > that goes on in a community?
      > >
      > > Not at all. The formal organization can opt for a heavy-handed
      > > approach or a lighter touch. My experience is that, more often
      than
      > > not, the formal organization will attempt to co-opt and exploit
      any
      > > informal organizations that spring up. CoPs were hidden from view
      > > until spotted and reported upon. That, as we all know, has
      triggered
      > > a very large effort to nourish, launch and, yes, exploit, CoPs.
      Is
      > > that beneficial or destructive? I don't know. I guess we'll all
      > > have to wait and see.
      > >
      > >
      > > John goes on to make his point, namely, "that the "formal
      > > organization" is not so inert and brain dead that it doesn't
      react or
      > > isn't susceptible to being influenced by the informal
      organization as
      > > represented by its communities of practice.
      > >
      > > I never said it wasn't. But, being blissfully ignorant of the
      > > situation involving the nuclear physicists, I'll wager that the
      > > formal organization will take steps to make that informal
      > > organization a part of the formal organization and that, after
      all,
      > > is the essence of co-optation.
      > >
      > > Regards,
      > >
      > > Fred Nickols
      > > nickols@a...
      > > http://home.att.net/~nickols/articles.htm
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > ::: http://www.egroups.com/group/com-prac
      > > ::: Email com-prac-unsubscribe@e... to unsubscribe
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
      http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      > >
      > >
    • seank02472
      Thanks to John and Fred for raising the issue of defining terms. On the one hand, we face the impracticality of glossing every statement with the intended
      Message 2 of 7 , Jan 11, 2002
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        Thanks to John and Fred for raising the issue of defining terms. On
        the one hand, we face the impracticality of glossing every statement
        with the intended connotations. On the other, in wrestling with the
        meaning of these terms, we may be able to clarify our thinking.

        Fred Nickols wrote:

        > ........I'll wager that the
        > formal organization will take steps to make that informal
        > organization a part of the formal organization and that, after
        > all,is the essence of co-optation.

        I'd like to suggest that the motivation for this type of action is
        reflected in a problem of terminology we've recently touched on.
        Namely the idea that "formal organization" = "legitimate
        organization". It seems to me that countering this perception is a
        key to cultivating CoP's. If a company holds this position, it will
        want to legitimize communities by bringing them into the formal
        organization. This would inevitably co-opt CoP's (in the sense of
        neutralizing/marginalizing through assimilation).

        If a company can recognize the legitimacy of informal communities,
        then it may create the conditions necessary for them to flourish.
        I'd like to suggest that "adopt" may be a useful term here, in the
        senses of
        1. To take into one's family through legal means and raise as one's
        own child.
        2a. To take and follow (a course of action, for example) by choice or
        assent: adopt a new technique. b. To take up and make one's own:
        adopt a new idea.

        I could wade a bit farther into the semantic waters here, and try to
        unpack terms like "formal", "legitimate" and "family", but I'd rather
        turn back. Instead I'd like to pose a question: How do we help
        organizations recognize the legitimacy of CoP's?
        I have my own answers, but they're ill-formed, and I've said enough
        already. I'd prefer to hear yours.

        Thanks,
        Sean
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