Despite the impressive growth of smart city initiatives worldwide, an organizational theory of smart city has yet to be developed, and we lack models addressing the unprecedented organizational and management challenges that emerge in smart city contexts. Traditional models are often of little use, because smart cities pursue different goals than traditional organizations, are based on networked, cross-boundary activity systems, rely on distributed innovation processes, and imply adaptive policy-making. Complex combinations of factors may lead to vicious or virtuous cycles in smart city initiatives, but we know very little about how these factors may be identified and mapped. Based on an inductive study of a set of primary and secondary sources, we develop a framework for the configurational analysis of smart cities viewed as place-specific organizational fields. This framework identifies five key dimensions in the configurations of smart city fields; these five dimensions are mapped through five sub-frameworks, which can be used both separately as well as for an integrated analysis. Our contribution is conceived to support longitudinal studies, natural experiments and comparative analyses on smart city fields, and to improve our understanding of how different combinations of factors affect the capability of smart innovations to translate into city resilience, sustainability and quality of life. In addition, our results suggest that new forms of place-based entrepreneurship constitute the engine that allows for the dynamic collaboration between government, citizens and research centers in successful smart city organizational fields.
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