Anonymous Agencies, Backstreet Businesses, and Covert CollectivesRethinking Organizations in the 21st Century

Anonymous Agencies, Backstreet Businesses, and Covert CollectivesRethinking Organizations in the 21st Century

Craig Scott

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780804781381

Publisher: Stanford University Press

Abstract

Many organizations and their members devote extensive resources to promoting themselves and being known to others. However, not all organizations want or need their identity to be recognized and not all organizational members want to have their membership or affiliation known by at least certain audiences. As we consider secret societies, anonymous support programs, hate groups, terrorist cells, covert military units, organized crime, gangs, parts of the underground economy, front organizations, stigmatized businesses, and even certain hidden enterprises tucked away in quiet office parks, we have to question what we think we know about the identity goals of organizations and their members. This book offers a framework for thinking about how a wide range of organizations and their members communicate their identity to relevant audiences. Considering the degree to which organizations strategically make themselves visible, the extent to which members express their identification with the organization, and whether the relevant audience is more mass/public or local, we can describe various “regions” in which these collectives reside-ranging from transparent and shaded to more shadowed and dark. Importantly, organizations operating in these spaces differ in how they and their members communicate identity to others. The perspective offered here helps draw attention to more shaded, shadowed, and dark collectives as important organizations in the contemporary landscape.