Click and mortar: Organizations on the web

The webpages of organizations are both a form of representation and a type of narrative. They entertain, persuade, express a point of view, and provide a means to organize collective action and economic exchange. Increasingly, webpages are the primary point of access between an organization and its environment. An organization’s online presence offers a major new source of rich information about organizations. In this paper, we develop three perspectives on websites from an organizational point of view: as identity projects, tools, and relational maps. We draw on data from the online and offline presences of “brick and mortar” nonprofit organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area to both illustrate how a digital transformation shaped these organizations and identify a host of new methods that can be used to study organizations using webpages. Finally, we reflect on both the strengths of these new sources of data as well as possible limitations and conclude with theoretical implications for organizational scholars.