In a recent article Charles Petrie sketches a theoretical draft of the social-economic evolutions that root in the new technological possibilities of recent years. According to Charles Petrie, the future of our businesses is in what he calls emergent collectives. These emergent collectives are spontaneously created cooperation structures between organizations, companies and individuals to the advantage of each of the participating parties in the collective.
Our research initiative is aimed at analysing the emergence of new forms of cooperation rooted in modern technological developments. Considering the current state of the research we have formulated two general research objectives: 1) to extend our knowledge of emerging collectives and 2) to explore the relevance of emerging collectives in empirical settings. To achieve this goal multiple explorative case studies will be conducted from three perspectives. The first perspective is that of local and federal government agencies. E-Government initiatives support new forms of collaboration and interaction with citizens and organizations and government agencies are constantly looking for new opportunities. A second perspective is the educational stance. Secondary schools, colleges and universities have a major task of transferring new technologies and initiatives to an audience of juveniles and young adolescents and are therefore considered as a major target group in our enquiry. Finally our third perspective is that of the local businesses and business organizations. Special focus goes to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) who should be helped in discovering and understanding these new emerging structures.
The research was started in the beginning of 2011 and runs for two years. It is supported by the Chamber of Commerce of West-Flanders Belgium.

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