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All Edge

Inside the New Workplace Networks

Work is changing. Speed and flexibility are more in demand than ever before thanks to an accelerating knowledge economy and sophisticated communication networks. These changes have forced a mass rethinking of the way we coordinate, collaborate, and communicate. Instead of projects coming to established teams, teams are increasingly converging around projects. These “all-edge adhocracies” are highly collaborative and mostly temporary, their edge coming from the ability to form links both inside and outside an organization. These nimble groups come together around a specific task, recruiting personnel, assigning roles, and establishing objectives. When the work is done they disband their members and take their skills to the next project.

Spinuzzi offers for the first time a comprehensive framework for understanding how these new groups function and thrive. His rigorous analysis tackles both the pros and cons of this evolving workflow and is based in case studies of real all-edge adhocracies at work. His provocative results will challenge our long-held assumptions about how we should be doing work.

224 pages | 14 halftones, 9 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2015

Economics and Business: Business--Industry and Labor

Rhetoric and Communication


"Through the peerless empirical work for which he is known, Clay Spinuzzi looks under the hood of the contemporary economy, showing how automation, standardization, and interdependence underlie organizational forms of work that seem, on the surface, to run on unadulterated agility, fluidity, and adaptation to change. The invisible labor of bringing stability to work in today’s economy has never been told the way Spinuzzi tells it. This book is essential, fascinating reading for all interested in labor relations, technology in the workplace, and the massive changes in the economy all around us."

Bonnie Nardi, professor, University of California, Irvine and coeditor of Materiality and Organizing: Social Interaction in a Technological World

"In All Edge, Spinuzzi gives us a look at the new workplace, the one we’ve been told is coming for decades now, in striking and compelling detail. Academic readers will appreciate the grounding of the work in scholarship by the author as well as others in areas such as organizational communication and business and technical writing. Professionals and readers with an interest in understanding contemporary workplaces will appreciate the way the book is presented in a clear and anecdotal style, with the scholarly references provided unobtrusively for further reading.
All Edge is a boundary-crossing work that presents a wealth of much-needed evidence to the claims that our work lives are changing in the twenty-first century.  We may still be waiting on jetpacks, but the ’adhocracy’ is here. And if you want to understand how to live and work in one, Spinuzzi’s book is your guide."

William Hart-Davidson, associate professor, Michigan State University and coeditor of Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities

"In the midst of the current upheaval of organizational structures and arrangements, All Edge reveals an illuminating picture of how work is experienced by many people today. Spinuzzi offers timely and exciting case studies full of the grit that marks thoughtfully conducted fieldwork and interviews. His analysis proposes and demonstrates the value of new conceptual frameworks for understanding such important, emerging categories as temporary organizational networks, the unrelenting need for innovation, and the rise of co-working arrangements. As a whole, All Edge develops an engaging interplay of theory, field observations, and analysis that is instructive. This volume is essential reading for researchers interested in understanding the organizational structures and experiences of people’s work and non-work activities today. Its insights into communication, coordination, and collaboration should not be missed."

Mark Zachry, professor, University of Washington

"If you’re obsessed about the future of work, Spinuzzi’s latest is a must-read. All Edge is a fascinating deconstruction and exploration of the future workplace. Spinuzzi looks back, examines the now makes some solid predictions. His grasp of how, where and why we’re going All Edge is smart, logical, and a mandatory reading for trend watchers."

Liz Elam, founder, Link Coworking

Table of Contents


1    Becoming All Edge
2    What Are All-Edge Adhocracies?
3    Stage Management: The Case of Nonemployer Firms
4    The Foundation of All-Edge Adhocracies: Organizational Networks
5    Working Alone, Together: The Case of Coworking
6    The Dynamic Structure of All-Edge Adhocracies: Activities
7    Lone Wolves: The Case of Search Engine Optimization
8    The Configurations of All-Edge Adhocracies: Hierarchies, Markets, Clans, and Networks
9    The Work of All-Edge Adhocracies: The Three Integrations
10  The Future of All-Edge Adhocracies

Appendix: Methodology
Works Cited

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