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The network society from within

It is often claimed that the contemporary social world can be characterized by a blurring of boundaries. The idea that institutions have a clear-cut inside and outside is argued to no longer hold true. According to several scholars, this blur of boundaries on a global scale has led to insecurity: what used to be well defined is now undefined, and society as a whole is in a state of flux.

The consequences of globalization are on the agendas of politicians, academics and other social commentators. In this discussion it is often argued that technology has a dominant role in the restructuring of society. Technology is, however, often seen in isolation and is considered a key driver in globalization. These assumptions are also applied to the business world, and it is claimed that technology and business, in particular high-tech firms, constitute a major driving force for this development.

Yet, social practices and initiatives such as downsizing, rationalizations, mergers, acquisitions, customization of products, shorter lead-times, new forms of collaborations and expertise are not sufficiently explored in the context of globalization. If the old institutions no longer hold, then the new transcending organizing elements under construction need to be described. A common metaphor to describe this emerging society is that of the network, but what the networks mean to actors involved in them is still unexplored. This is to say that the emerging social world is loaded with ideology and interests, and this rhetoric is by no means neutral.

Rather than a collapse of boundaries, it is possible to view the developments as shifts in the construction of boundaries. Boundaries do not disappear, but take on new forms. Even though boundaries are shaped on a global and supranational level, the boundaries surrounding the personal sphere and the individual are taking new forms. Importantly, new boundary systems are created by individual actors in their everyday life, more or less unconsciously, as a response to new situations and conditions. These new boundaries are created in seemingly boundary-less contexts, such as individual and organizational networks, virtual spaces and supranational cooperation. When these boundary systems meet or collide, some new consequences emerge. It is how these new boundaries are shaped and their consequences that are the focus of The Network Society From Within.

The ongoing collapse of boundaries is no homogenous reality. Instead, alternative realities of the construction of the world are important to bring to the foreground. In order to show these alternative realities, descriptions and analyses of three inter-related geographical regions are suggested: Sweden, Israel and USA (Silicon Valley). The idea is not to compare the three regions, but to describe them in terms of their inter-relationships. This enables an alternative understanding of the emerging, so-called global society. A central feature of the research is thus that its empirical focus is local.

The research program is a collaborative effort between a number of academic institutions in three countries to ensure top expertise within both management and technology. The participating institutions are The Royal Institute of Technology, Gothenburg School of Economics and Commercial Law (Sweden), Tel Aviv University (Israel), and Stanford University (USA).

Related projects

  • Knowing How to Lead
  • Leadership and Organisation in Internet Companies
  • Processes of Inclusion and Exclusion in the Information Society



Dobers, P. & Strannegård, L. (2005) Design, Lifestyles and Sustainability. Aesthetic Consumption in a World of Abundance. Business Strategy and the Environment, 14 (5): pp. 324-336. »

Holmberg, I. & Strannegård, L (2005) Leadership Voices: The Ideology of the New Economy. Leadership, Vol. 1, No 3, pp. 353-374.»

Dobers, P. & Strannegård, L. (2004) The Cocoon – a traveling space. Organization. Vol 14, No. 6, pp. 825-848. »

Berglund, J., Strannegård, L. & Tillberg, U. (2004) High-touch and high-tech – Paradoxical rhetoric in a bank merger. Scandinavian Journal of Management, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp. 335-355. »

Strannegård, L. & Bergström, O. (2004) Temporary Stars -The Rise and Fall of a Talent Agency. In Westenholz, A. & Torben Elgaard Jensen (eds.) Identity in the Age of the New Economy: Life in Temporary and Scattered Work Practice. Camberley, U.K.: Edward Elgar’s. »

Holmberg, I., Salzer-Mörling, M. & Strannegård, L. (2002) (red.) Stuck in the Future – tracing the New Economy. Stockholm: Book House Publishing. »

Holmberg, I., Salzer-Mörling, M. & Strannegård, L. (2002) The Idea of a New Economy. In Holmberg, I., Salzer-Mörling, M. & Strannegård, L. (Eds.) Stuck in the Future - tracing the New Economy, Stockholm: Book House Publishing. »

Strannegård, L. (2002) Nothing compares to the new. In Holmberg, I., Strannegård, L. & Salzer-Mörling, M. (Eds.) Stuck in the Future? Tracing "the New Economy", pp. 221-239. Stockholm: Bookhouse Publishing. »

Strannegård, L., Holmberg, I. & Salzer-Mörling, M. (2002) Epilogue: Creating the Future. In Holmberg, I., Strannegård, L. & Sazer-Mörling, M. (Eds.) Stuck in the Future - tracing the New Economy, Stockholm: Book House Publishing. »

Strannegård, L. & Holmberg, I. (2002) The Ideology of the New Economy. In Strannegård, L., Holmberg, I. & Sazer-Mörling, M. (Eds.) Stuck in the Future - tracing the New Economy, Stockholm: Book House Publishing. »

Conference papers (selected)

Aronescu, D., Bergström, O., Larsson, P. & Strannegård, L. (2004) The Voice of Temporary Doctors. Contingent employment as an act of resistance. Paper presented at the EGOS 20th Colloquium. The Organization as a Set of Dynamic Relationships. Ljubljana, Slovenia, July 1-3. Also presented at the Symposium of Relational Identities in Temporary and Scattered Work Practice. Skagen, Denmark, August 23-25. 2002.

Holmberg, I. & Strannegård, L. (2003) Do it yourself. Leadership Ideology in the Network Society. Paper presented at the 17th Nordic Conference on Business Studies. University of Island, Reykjavik, August 14-16.

Dobers, P. & Strannegård, L. (2002) The Cocoon a traveling space. Paper presented at The Association of American Geographers, 98th AAG Annual Meeting. Los Angeles, California, March 19-23. Also presented at The International Conference on Spacing and Timing: Rethinking Globalization and Standardization. Palermo, Italy, November 1-3, 2001.

Salzer-Mörling, M. & Strannegård, L. (2002) Leadership: From Managing Meaning to Marketing Expressions. Paper presented at The European Academy of Management IInd Annual Conference on Innovative Research in Management. Stockholm, May 9-11.

Strannegård, L. & Bergström, O. (2001) Star Management - Translating High-End Consultant Work to the Labour Market. Paper presented at the 17 EGOS Colloquium: The Odyssey of Organizing. Lyon, France, July 5-7.

Columns, Popularized texts and Press (selected)

Strannegård, L. (2006) Review of Helgesson, C-F., Kjellberg, H. & Liljenberg, A. (eds.) Den där marknaden. Om utbyten, normer och bilder. Lund: Studentlitteratur. In Scandinavian Journal of Management.

Strannegård, L. (2006) Den passionerade ekonomin. Dagens Nyheter, Kultur, Essä, January 4 pp. 8. »

Strannegård, L. (2005) All Marketers are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World, av Seth Godin. Affärsvärlden, 34: pp. 64. »

Strannegård, L. (2004) Chefens jobb snart omejligt. Affärsvärlden, 18: pp. 54, April 28. »

Strannegård, L. (2004) Det goda arvet efter den nya ekonomin. Svenska Dagbladet, Kultur, Under strecket, pp. 10, October, 10.

Strannegård, L. (2005) The Rise of the Creative Class and How it is Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life, av Richard Florida. Affärsvärlden, 6: pp. 56. »

Strannegård, L. (2003) Synpunkten - tillit på avvägar. Ledmotiv - idéskrift om ledarskap, 2: pp. 83-86, August. »

Strannegård, L. (2001) I den trögflytande ytan. Utställningskatalog Maria Friberg 2001.

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