“WE MUST DEMYSTIFY PARTICIPATION”: TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZING & THE UNITED NATIONS SUMMIT ON NON-COMMUNICABLE DISEASES
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This dissertation sought to better understand the connection between participation and organizing through the examination of a contemporary transnational organizing form: the United Nations Special Summit on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases. The author took the concept of participation, an idea that has been on the periphery of organizational studies and has been studied in traditional workplace conceptions of the organization, and expanded it to alternative organizing forms outside of the workplace (i.e. the Summit). The UN Summit presented an interesting case to expand this concept in organizational literature because of the different types of organizations it brought together and the central role of participation within it. Stohl and Stohl’s (2005, 2007) assumptions of network theory were used to understand the Summit’s organizing form while development literature on participation was drawn upon to explore the participatory nature of the UN Summit and its policy outcomes. The findings identified emergent forms of participation in the Summit, which challenged taken-for-granted ideas surrounding participation in organizations, and identified connections between participation and organizing. By extending the concept of participation beyond the workplace and using development literature to supplement the process, this study addresses Ashcraft’s (2006) argument for studies to develop grounded models of post-bureaucratic forms that challenge our theorized assumptions about organizing. While the Summit identified theoretical and practical applications for communication scholars to better understand transnational organizing forms and provided empirical examples of the ways participation emerges within them, much more work is needed to “demystify” participation in these forms.