Strategizing networks of power and influence: the internet and the struggle over contested space

Steve Conway, Ian Combe, David Crowther

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Whilst some authors have portrayed the Internet as a powerful tool for business and political institutions, others have highlighted the potential of this technology for those vying to constrain or counter-balance the power of organizations, through e-collectivism and on-line action. What appears to be emerging is a contested space that has the potential to simultaneously enhance the power of organizations, whilst also acting as an enabling technology for the empowerment of grass-root networks. In this struggle, organizations are fighting for the retention of “old economy” positions, as well as the development of “new economy” power-bases. In realizing these positions, organizations and institutions are strategizing and manoeuvering in order to shape on-line networks and communications. For example, the on-line activities of individuals can be contained through various technological means, such as surveillance, and the structuring of the virtual world through the use of portals and “walled gardens”. However, loose groupings of individuals are also strategizing to ensure there is a liberation of their communication paths and practices, and to maintain the potential for mobilization within and across traditional boundaries. In this article, the unique nature and potential of the Internet are evaluated, and the struggle over this contested virtual space is explored.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-262
Number of pages9
JournalManagerial Auditing Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • internet
  • globalization
  • localization
  • postmodernism
  • empowerment


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