This body of research aims to examine processes of organizational transformation, with a specific emphasis on the use of hyperlink and other forms of web-based technology, to enable transformation through the formation of alliances and the exchange on information between organizations.
Recently, a number of scholars have advocated the use of evolutionary theories (Miller et al., 2011) and methods (Monge et al., 2011) as ideally suited to study processes of change over time, particularly in organizational settings. The community perspective of organizational evolution provides a framework for scholars to understand the interaction between different populations in competition for a common pool of resources. The Web provides a unique sandbox within which we can explore these mechanisms. Thus, merging new methods with organizational communication theories, we are able to present a new examination of the growth of organizations through the World Wide Web. An evolutionary approach to the study of the political media ecosystem provides a framework for examining each population within an ecosystem in interaction with other populations of organizations. The evolutionary approach to organizations is well established as an explanatory framework within the social sciences (Freese, Li, & Wade, 2003). Organizational scholars have used this approach to study organizational boundaries (Aldrich & Ruef, 2006), patterns of organizing (Weick, 1979), the growth of populations and niches (Hannan, Carroll, & Polos, 2003; Hannan & Freeman, 1977), and the effect of disruptions (McKendrick & Carroll, 2001). The community perspective focuses on the dynamics of interaction between populations of organizations; this places the emphasis on mechanisms of interaction and survival, and inherently emphasizes change at multiple levels of organizations (Nelson & Winter, 1982; Ruef & Scott, 1998). This perspective lays forth a number of postulates about how populations compete for resources, interact with one another, gain legitimacy, evolve over time, adapt to new innovations, and ultimately succeed or fail.