FLOCK THEORY: COOPERATION AND DECENTRALIZATION IN COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
Research has shown that decentralized organizations and groups perform better and have more satisfied members than centralized ones. Further, decentralized self-organizing groups are particularly superior when solving complex problems. Despite mounting research in support of decentralization, the means of how to foster and maintain a decentralized, coordinated group remains a particular problem for organizations. The current line of research proposes a theory of decentralized organizational communication, flock theory, and conducts preliminary tests of the theory. Grounded in literature from social networks, flock theory represents a theoretical model for the decentralized evolution of communicative systems. The flock model is then extended to integrate roadmap based flocking, bipartite networks, and findings from small world research to create a theory of cooperation, coordination, and navigation within decentralized communication networks. Empirical illustrations of flock theory are conducted via two studies on two different research-based organizations, as research organizations focus on complex problem solving and coordination of knowledge. Findings provide initial support for flock theory, confirm parallel research on decentralization, and indicate that research-based organizations may be different from traditional corporate organizations in several ways.
Communication; Social Networks; Communication networks; Self-organizing systems; Cooperation; Decentralization
dissertation or thesis