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Title: Do-It-Yourself Biology: Analysis of an Emerging Organizational Form
Authors: Senesac, Lauren G.
Advisors: DiMaggio, Paul
Contributors: Sociology Department
Keywords: amateur participation
citizen science
do-it-yourself biology
emerging forms
organizational forms
Subjects: Sociology
Organization theory
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Processes of emergence for new organizational forms have developed along three lines: processes that emphasize identity (Fiol and Romanelli 2012), processes that focus on organizational context (Ruef 2000) or network changes (Padgett and Powell 2012), and processes that emphasize recombinations of existing features (Powell and Sandholtz 2012a). In this dissertation, I use data from the fifteen community biology labs in the United States to examine how these processes work for organizations with an emerging form. The data comes from interviews, forum discussions, data, founding documents, and organization websites. I construct the most complete analysis of the earliest stage of emergence possible by examining all of the instances of an emerging organizational form. I highlight relevant factors shaping the emergence of community labs in the United States and help develop an understanding of the mechanisms at work as a new organizational form emerges. I argue that the very earliest stage of a nascent organizational form is characterized by a struggle to structure the organizations in ways that meet a variety of stakeholder goals while also making the organizations sustainable. Members of community labs draw on models of organizing from adjacent fields as they select features to structure the labs. The organizations then undergo changes to these initial structures based on outside pressures and failures within the organizations. I examine the nascent community lab form from three different angles. I first describe the founding of community labs and the factors that shape the organizations during founding, including how the founding team coalesces and the resources available at founding. I then examine the variety of structures that community labs adopt, the factors that shape which features are adopted, and the ways in which a struggle between participation and successful administration influence ongoing structuring of the organizations. Finally, I examine how community labs and their members interact with other organizations in four adjacent fields: professional biology, education, technology, and art. I argue that the labs develop niches that take advantage of gaps that they perceive in each field and examine the narratives members create around their participation in the labs.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Sociology

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