This essay is provided by Hannah Schupfer, student in the master program Organization Studies at University of Innsbruck, and based on her master thesis.
“The worlds most powerful person is the greatest storyteller” – Steve Jobs (1995)
Nowadays, the Silicon Valley is brimming with firms whose CEOs and founders apparently are role models for today’s generation of young entrepreneurs. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Page and alike are regarded as geniuses in their areas of expertise. To the wider audience they are especially known for their entrepreneurial success story. How often did we hear the story about Bill Gates and how he made up his way from working in his garage to become the CEO of one of the world’s most famous companies? Or Mark Zuckerberg – do we start thinking about Facebook or do we maybe first think about the lucky college dropout?
A relatively coherent group of people that share a similar background and hold certain attributes in common can – theoretically – be defined as a social category. In my master thesis, I investigated how the category of today’s “hero” entrepreneurs has been formed. Specifically, I analyzed how the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs “tell their story” which, I argue, influences how the social category of the hero entrepreneur is shaped and understood.
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.
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.