Community OR

Community as a concept has a myriad of interpretations, even though these are usually associated in one way or another to “a body of people who live in the same place, usually sharing a common cultural or ethnic identity” (OED, 2022). Therefore, their study covers communities as groups of people who share certain identities (Somerville, 2011). In this context, the term has had a series of extensions, which for example have freed the requirement of people being in the same physical place; some instances of these being communities of practice (Wenger, 2009) or online communities (Kozinets et al., 2010).  

Communities can also be seen to organize different social forms of resistance (Nisbet, 2010). Historical examples of this can be found in the Revolts of the Comuneros in Castille (1521-1522), Paraguay (1717) and Colombia (1791), or in multifaceted processes such as the German Peasant’s War (1524-1525). In other cases, where governments have been seen as inert, complacent, or even corrupt actors, communities have self-organized and led actions to deal with challenges, such as in natural disasters or humanitarian crisis (Mexico, 1985-2017), or self-organize social movements, for instance, as campaigning on climate emergency. Instances of the later are Extinction Rebellion’ (2018) and ‘Fridays for Future’ (2018). 

Community OR (C+OR) is a systemic and systematic way to study everyday forms of self-organization and resistance to external imposition. C+OR has been described as a sub-domain of OR, where citizens’ concerns are addressed as complex systemic problems. This approach allows the study of different forms of “meaningful engagement of communities” (Midgley et al., 2018) that deal with challenges of a localized nature and individuals associated to specific characteristics, such as marginalized groups (Johnson, 2011). In a nutshell, the focus of C+OR has been contributing “to practical impact on the functioning of organized human activities” (Rosenhead, 1986). 

In this edition of the Community OR stream, the focus is on knowledge co-creation. Theoretical and practical examples of requisite engagement mechanisms and how collective knowledge is built, codified, stored, and made accessible within communities are invited. It is important to emphasize that experiences from different parts of the world that illustrate such knowledge co-creation process are more than welcome, as approaches may find fertile soil in other places and contexts. 


Eliseo Vilalta-Perdomo (photo).jpg

Eliseo Vilalta-Perdomo, Aston University

David Ernesto Salinas-Navarro (photo).jpg

David Salinas-Navarro, Aston University

Rebecca Herron (photo).jpg

Rebecca Herron, University of Lincoln