Thesis defense “FabLabs, a global and growing network of collaborative organizations: an analysis of intra and inter-organizational coordination modes”

Speaker : Constance Garnier
Télécom Paris
Date: 12/10/2020
Time: 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Location: LINCS Seminars room


This thesis contributes to the understanding of the organizational phenomenon of FabLabs, which aims to democratize personal digital manufacturing and promote knowledge sharing. To this end, we investigate the modes of coordination that have emerged in this global network of local collaborative organizations, whose number has grown rapidly and continuously since 2005. Our work addresses both the intra-organizational level (a FabLab as an organization) and the inter-organizational level (the FabLab network as a whole).

It builds on the literature relative to the modes of coordination in communities of knowledge, and in particular communities of practice, in the context of collective management of common goods as well as in inter-organizational networks. We have adopted a comprehensive approach based on a participatory observation posture. Our work is based on three case studies (one on the FabLab Artilect and two on the Global FabLab Network) and sheds light on the modes of coordination within and between FabLabs, with two main contributions.

We show that the principles shared in a collaborative network can be structuring for organizational configurations that are otherwise diverse. Also, we highlight that in the observed context, two processes of structural fragmentation appear at both the intra and inter-organizational levels. The first process operates according to a core-periphery logic. The second process results in the formation of thematic and, in some cases, geographical proximity sub-groups. Our work suggests that these processes can help preserve collaborative dynamics despite the growth of the organization when “bridge members” are each active in both the core and one of the subgroups.


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ID: 930 6289 7097
Pw : 824751