Call for Proposals to SMS Special Conference on “Open, Crowd and Participatory Strategy: Strategy, Technology & Power”

At next year’s special conference of Strategic Management Society (SMS) on “Designing the Future: Strategy, Technology and Society in the 4th Industrial Revolution”, March 27-27, 2020 in Berkeley, Julia Hautz from the neighbouring Department on Strategic Management is co-organizing Track on “Open, Crowd and Participatory Strategy: Strategy, Technology & Power”:

Strategy processes are becoming more open by increasing transparency and inclusion. This openness is even more relevant when managers engage with grand societal challenges and complex, emergent technologies characterized by radical uncertainty. Inclusive strategizing makes more strategic information available and enables more internal and external stakeholders to engage in strategic conversations. Under which conditions is it beneficial for companies to open their strategy process, and when should they opt for more secrecy? What are the intended and unintended consequences of openness along the strategy process? What are potential “side effects?” What is the right balance of “openness” and “closure” in the strategy process? What are the barriers for more openness, and how can they be overcome? Additionally, it is intriguing to investigate how new technologies alter the very process of strategy and, consequently, impact social and organizational structures, power distribution and roles of an organization. This track welcomes all research proposals related to these themes across a variety of methodological and theoretical perspectives.

Deadline for the submission of proposals is October 3, 2019. Please check out the full call for proposals as a PDF.

New Course Syllabus: »Organizing the Digital in the Public Sphere«

Last year our Faculty of Business and Management launched the new master’s program “Digital Business”. As part of this program I had the opportunity to design the course “Organizing the Digital in the Public Sphere”. From the syllabus, which I am happy to make available as a PDF download (licensed CC BY):

Digitalization is affecting not just private sector businesses but also the public sector. At the same time, the whole notion of “public” is changing in the course of ongoing digital transformations. By referring to the “Public Sphere”, this course seeks to capture both these dynamics. Consequently, the course comprises two main parts. The first part focuses on the digital transformation of public sector institutions such as public administrations, public service providers and public utilities. The second part addresses the public more broadly and looks at new forms of platform-based publics as well as provision of public goods with private means.

Didactically this is the first course that I designed following a point-counterpoint format: in each session two students will open with talks representing oppositional viewpoints on the subject before we enter into a joint plenary discussion of the readings.

Looking back on the Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2019 in Boston

At the AoM meeting in Boston together with the current chair of the SAP Interest Group, Sotirios Paroutis and my predecessor as PDW chair Katharina Dittrich (both from University of Warwick)

Recently I had been elected to the leadership track of the  Strategizing Activities and Practices (SAP) Interest Group in the Academy of Managment (AoM). This means that I will be responsible for co-organizing the interest group’s program at the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management for the next five years, starting in 2020. So at this year’s Academy of Management Annual Meeting in Boston I was not only taking part in the academic program but also had several meetings preparing me for my duties in this regard. In 2020, my main responsibility will be to organize the various Professional Development Workshops (PDWs) of the Interest Group. In case you have ideas or proposals regarding this part of the meeting’s program, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Below is a list of my scholarly contributions at this year’s AoM Annual Meeting:

  • “From Programmatic to Constitutive Perspectives: Two Approaches to Studying Openness in Strategy and Beyond” in a Professional Development Workshop on “Open Strategy: Practices and Perspectives” (see slides below; slides of all contributors are available at the Open Strategy Network).

Continue reading “Looking back on the Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2019 in Boston”

New Article on »Creating digital innovation« in Research Policy

In the article “Creating digital innovation: Bridging analog and digital expertise” I, together with my co-authors Raissa Pershina and Taran Thune (both University of Oslo), investigate how digital innovation is created. The empirical setting for our study is the development of digital serious games, a novel breed of digital learning products whose creation involves a wide range of gaming/digital and learning/analog expertise. We look at how experts rooted in digital and analog knowledge domains jointly innovate. Continue reading “New Article on »Creating digital innovation« in Research Policy”

New Book Chapter: »Alternating between Partial and Complete Organization«

Building upon a previous joint article on “Fluidity, Identity, Organizationality: The Communicative Constitution of Anonymous”, my co-author Dennis Schoeneborn and I dig deeper into issues related to the concept of “partial organizations” in a new book chapter entitled “Alternating between Partial and Complete Organization: The Case of Anonymous”. Specifically, the case of the hacker collective Anonymous illustrates that longer periods of ‘partialness’ may alternate with temporary punctuations, during which a social collective accomplishes a ‘completion’ of its organizationality. As a consequence, with our book chapter we seek to contribute to a processual and dynamic theory of partial organization, thereby applying a communication as constitutive of organization (CCO) perspective.

The chapter is part of the volume “Organization outside Organizations
The Abundance of Partial Organization in Social Life” (2019, Cambridge University Press), edited by Göran Ahrne and Nils Brunsson. A pre-print version of the Chapter is openly available as a PDF.

New Book Chapter: “The Relation between Openness and Closure in Open Strategy”

In any case, I would have been happy to contribute to the brand new “Cambridge Handbook of Open Strategy”, co-edited by David Seidl, (Universität Zürich), Richard Whittington (University of Oxford) and Georg von Krogh (ETH Zürich). Given that the chapter’s co-author is my sister Laura (Radboud University Nijmegen), I am even more proud about our contribution on “The Relation between Openness and Closure in Open Strategy: Programmatic and Constitutive Approaches to Openness”.  A short excerpt from the Introduction:

Two facets are all but universally present in current works on Open Strategy. First, while being aware of and addressing challenges and dilemmas associated with openness in strategy making (Hautz et al., 2017), increasing openness is mostly perceived as normatively good, as an ideal that should be achieved. […] Second, openness is mostly considered to be the opposite of closure, or at least the other endpoint of a continuum from closedness to various degrees of openness in terms of greater transparency or inclusion (Whittington et al., 2011).

Taken together, an affirmative perspective on openness as opposed to closure is central to a currently dominant programmatic approach, which is mainly concerned with putting openness into practice and unleashing its respective potential. However, as we will argue in this chapter, addressing many of the tensions or dilemmas observed in empirical endeavours to implement greater ‘openness’ could potentially benefit from another perspective, which understands openness (and closure) as a paradox (Putnam et al., 2016) where openness and closure appear contradictory but yet simultaneously depend on each other. Key for such a constitutive approach towards openness is that this paradox cannot be dissolved entirely but only addressed in a specific way, namely by legitimate forms of closure.

A pre-print version of the article is open access available at the Open Strategy Network, which features pre-prints of all chapters in the Handbook.

SCOS Talk on “Secret organizers: The ‘spectrogenic’ process of profiling and the effects of ‘ghostly demarcations’”

Right after the EGOS Colloquium in Edinburgh I had the opportunity to give a talk at the “Ghosts Conference York”, which is part of the Standing Conference on Organizational Symbolism (SCOS).  The following provides a short summary of my talk on “Secret organizers: The ‘spectrogenic’ process of profiling and the effects of ‘ghostly demarcations’”.

Profiles’ are important technologies of organizing that are used in a multiplicity of contexts: customer-profiling, profiling for employment screening, credit-scoring, criminal investigations, immigration policy, health-care management, forensic biometrics, etc. Profiles organize perception and seeing and they are important media in (algorithmic) decision-making. They are ‘used to make decisions, sometimes even without human intervention’ (Hildebrandt, 2008: 18). All profiles are abstractions. In the process of profiling images of the person are created for the purpose of diagnosis or prediction. In the process of profiling ‘complex personhood’ (Gordon, 1997) is reduced to a finite number of traits, indicators, etc. Created models or figures may be fictions but these fictions are operationally effective, as they shape and intervene in the world. In the paper profiles are theorized as ‘ghosts’ that are produced in a ‘spectrogenic process’ (Derrida, 1994). The spectrogenic process describes the process of abstraction, in which (a) thoughts, ideas, data etc. are ‘torn loose’ from the ‘living body’ and integrated in a more abstract or ‘artifactual body’ and (b) the return of the abstraction (ghost) to the world of real life events in the process of ‘application’ where it ‘haunts’ those with whom profiles are associated. Continue reading “SCOS Talk on “Secret organizers: The ‘spectrogenic’ process of profiling and the effects of ‘ghostly demarcations’””