Beyond Enterprise: Organizations and Meta-Organizations As a Form of Collective Action in Colombia. 1950-2015

Friday, 20 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Karem SANCHEZ DE ROLDAN, Facultad de Ciencias de la Administración - Universidad del Valle, Colombia
Oscar Iván VÁSQUEZ, Facultad de Ciencias de la Administración Universidad del Valle, Colombia
Since its inception, organization studies in Colombia have assumed enterprises, firms, and corporations in the productive economic sectors as its units of analysis par excellence. So far, the research made have contributed to a deeper understanding of the managerial and administrative dimension of this particular type of organizations. However, the theoretical and methodological approaches embedded in the managerial thought have diverted attention from the broader organizational phenomena. From an empiric perspective, the current organization’s typology (for-profit, not-for-profit, public /state sector) set rigid boundaries not allowing the appraisal of those features pointing to the fluid and adaptive nature of contemporary organizational entities. Such characteristics make of organizations and meta-organizations social actors in their own right able to meet economic, social and political needs. This paper, drawing on a sociological theoretical approach, presents an analytical and empirical map of organizations and meta-organizations in Colombia in the time span of 1950-2015 and studies their role as actors in collective action. Using an historic-document analysis, it identifies a wide array of existing organizations and establishes their field of action –economic activities; social goods and services provision; politics and culture; socio-demographic groups; and civic organizations. Furthermore, it characterizes types of meta-organizations assessing the differential power they can exert from their social and political location. Not surprisingly, the meta-organizations with greater influence in the economic and the political are those that originate in the economic activities: Chambers of Commerce, Associations of merchants, professional associations, guilds, and unions. Finally, the paper concludes that in the Colombian context meta-organizations play a strategic role as social actor in collective action. The success or failure achieving the goals of such actions mirror the capacity of exercising economic, social and political power by the individual organizations composing the meta-organizations.