New ICTs and the Innovation Capacity of Political and Commercial Organisations
How do political and commercial organisations use new information- and communication technologies (new ICTs)? Do new ICTs create innovative forms of organizations? Is the emphasis more on top-down than on bottom-up information? How important are participatory elements? What role do new ICTs play for internal organizational development and communication? These questions were center stage in the project “New ICTs in political and commercial organisations.”. We differentiated the use of new ICTs in political and commercial organizations on different organizational levels: besides political parties represented in parliament we also empirically analysed interest groups as well as new social movements; on the economic side, we included the large corporations, mid-sized companies as well as start-ups. This research design enabled us to analyse the impact of new ICTs on different organizations in different spheres (politics vs. economics). The project concentrated on organizations in Germany. Our central empirical findings – emerging from web side coding as well as in-depth interviews with the responsible web managers – show that new ICTs do not bring about innovative organizational forms in the “big tankers”. New ICTs are used to rationalize existing forms of communication. The emphasis clearly is on top-down communication. However, new ICTs show a tremendous potential when looking at small political organizations: here they create a new fluid form of organization. It remains to be seen how long this flexible form of organization can remain. The project also triggered new ideas regarding communication in political and commercial organizations – a new project was launched (Ladenburger Diskurse) emphasizing this difference.