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Governance of hybrid organisations


International Research Symposium:
“Governance and Leadership in Hybrid Organizations”

  • Date: December 5-6, 2011
  • Funded by: Stiftung Volkswagen
  • Contact: Gorgi Krlev (CSI Heidelberg)

Hybridity has become a widely discussed subject lately, with Social Entrepreneurship as one of its most prominent examples. Ever more organizations seem to be described insufficiently by applying ‘traditional’ logics of the three sector model, subdividing society into three distinct spheres: the market, the state and civil society. An increasing number of organizations perceptibly mix and merge traits from the different sectors. Various societal developments may have triggered the evolution of such organizations and their reciprocal effects.

First, there is the impact of macro level policy shifts on the institutional infrastructure of modern societies. Irrespective of their intended goals, such major policy shifts trigger institutional changes, bring about changes to supply and demand conditions, open up new opportunities and markets, yet limit ‘space for operating’ for others. Such changes are typically accompanied by higher frequencies of hybridity and varieties of legal forms as existing organizations try to adapt and new ones are entering the field. They may lead to a subsequent blurring of the established sector boundaries; in terms of responsibilities, oversight, behavior, and outcomes.

Second, hybridity has an impact on governance at the micro and meso level and the leadership challenges and opportunities implied. As hybridization increases, governance problems, new and old, could arise: e.g. arising from asymmetric information, opportunism and profiteering, lack of fit between task environments and organizational capacity, lack of transparency and accountability, legitimacy deficits etc.
On the other hand, hybridization opens up new opportunities for innovation in terms of governance too, be it through multiple stakeholder involvement, new forms of ownership and participation or innovative models of risk and profit sharing. In any case, it seems that hybrids have typically more and more complex governance problems and related management and leadership issues than comparable business corporations or nonprofit organizations.

Third, there is an impact of governance potentials and problems at organizational and field level on a macro level, in terms of democratic control, policy oversight and political goal achievement. Since fields with high degrees of hybridity tend to be complex and fast changing, how can policy makers ensure governability toward set goals in terms of steering and controlling?

The Symposiums seeks to address this complex set of interrelations from an interdisciplinary perspective in order to develop a forward-looking research agenda and thereby to contribute to an informed, proactive discourse about the future of governance and leadership in the wake of hybridization.

Detailed Event Description

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   Volkswagen Stiftung

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