Research interests:

- Sociology of innovation

- Innovation research with a focus on open and user innovation

- Sociology of Community

Dissertation project:

My dissertation project is positioned in the research on open, distributed and collaborative innovation projects, which has increasingly replaced the idea or paradigm of purely intra-enterprise processes of innovation as the dominant mode. In this context and from a sociological perspective the relationship between "innovation-" or "user-communities" and ventures will be put into focus, as this collaborative relationship is considered to be very significant in these emerging innovation processes. For this purpose, the previous concepts will be expanded, and the side of "communities" specified. Indeed, while we have a strong understanding about the collaborative actor - the firm - in this relationship, there is a lack of robust findings on the side of research on innovation communities, more specifically: a concept for understanding them as collective actors on par with enterprises. 

While many approaches are promising, e.g., conceptualizing communities as "organized informality", and thus understanding the relationship between organization and community as a cross-border one, previous attempts at defining community only allowed to a limited extent to disentangle the phenomenon of innovation community from the unidirectional functionalist connection by, among others, the enterprise. Therefore, it is not possible to understand empirically comprehensible conflicts between these two forms of social order or social coordination beyond the micro level, i.e. the conflicts between individuals.

The aim of the project is to redefine and empirically explore the relationship between mostly online "communities" and enterprises and, in doing so, to expand Innovation Studies and its concepts. The project can be roughly divided into three phases: (1) conception of a preliminary understanding of community fed by Innovation Studies and the sociology of community including its contested meaning; (2) qualitative field research online; (3) final adjustments and discussion of theoretical presuppositions including empirical evidence. 


Felix Brockmann

Faculty of Social Sciences
Institute of Sociology
Industrial Sociology and
Organizational Studies

Visiting address
Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 6
Campus-Westend – PEG-Building
Room 3.G 036
60323 Frankfurt am Main

Mail address
Campus Westend
PEG - internal post 31
60629 Frankfurt am Main

Tel. +49 69 798 36663