Hyperlinks as Extensions of offline instrumental collective action

Andrew Pilny, Michelle Shumate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Many nongovernmental organizations' (NGOs') instrumental collective action networks exist to produce tangible public goods. Moreover, these organizations' hyperlinks function to express collective identity. The extent to which both types of collective action are related is unknown. To examine this gap in the research, hyperlinks from 181 NGO websites were analyzed to determine if instrumental collective action offline is related to expressive collective action online. The results of this research suggest that NGO hyperlinks are an extension of offline instrumental collective action behavior. Several offline characteristics, including common social aims, financial ties, membership ties, collaborative ties, and media visibility, are related to hyperlinking. The results contribute to hyperlink scholarship by investigating the impact of offline instrumental collective action on online networks. Implications for the theory of collective action and information technology and society are drawn from the results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-286
Number of pages27
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • collective action
  • hyperlinks
  • nongovernmental organizations
  • social network analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Library and Information Sciences


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