Anonymous Agencies, Backstreet Businesses, and Covert Collectives: Rethinking Organizations in the 21st Century

Anonymous Agencies, Backstreet Businesses, and Covert Collectives: Rethinking Organizations in the 21st Century

Anonymous Agencies, Backstreet Businesses, and Covert Collectives: Rethinking Organizations in the 21st Century

Anonymous Agencies, Backstreet Businesses, and Covert Collectives: Rethinking Organizations in the 21st Century

Synopsis

Many of today's organizations "live in public"; they devote extensive resources to branding, catching the public eye, and capitalizing on the age of transparency. But, at the same time, a growing number of companies and other collectives are flying under the radar, concealing their identities and activities.

This book offers a framework for thinking about how organizations and their members communicate identity to relevant audiences. Considering the degree to which organizations reveal themselves, the extent to which members express their identification with the organization, and whether the audience is public or local, author Craig R. Scott describes collectives as residing in "regions" that range from transparent to shaded, from shadowed to dark. Taking a closer look at groups like EarthFirst!, the Church of Scientology, Alcoholics Anonymous, the KKK, Skull and Bones, U.S. special mission units, men's bathhouses, and various terrorist organizations, this book draws attention to shaded, shadowed, and dark collectives as important organizations in the contemporary landscape.

Excerpt

On certain days, I take a back route to the Rutgers University campus where I work. Part of that journey takes me past a business park that I never used to notice, but which one day began to strike me as a bit odd. the lot houses two somewhat similar multistory office buildings with dark windows but no identifying information on the structures at all. in fact, the only real signage to be found is along the road where two address markers read 45 Knightsbridge Road and 53 Knightsbridge Road. the occasional appearance of a delivery truck and the rare sighting of people entering/leaving suggest to me that the complex is not abandoned. the presence of a few dozen cars in the back of the buildings, several with state government tags, seems to confirm the existence of one or more organizations. An online search of the addresses reveals at least a management company and a law office in one building; moreover, the other seems to include a state youth and family services office, a church, a children’s learning and skills development center, a business intelligence software company, an it company, a religious foundation, and the office of a registered nurse—though few of these have their own websites (and most of those that do seem to downplay the location). As a result, this place and the organizations inside are essentially invisible. Most people would never drive by these addresses, and even if you did there are few clues as to what organizations may reside there.

For me, this obscure office park began to symbolize an entire range of organizations that are hidden by their own design and circumstances—tucked . . .

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