Given the excessive power of Google and other large technology firms, transparency and accountability have turned into matters of great concern for organization scholars. So far, most studies adopt either a causal or critical perspective on the relationship between the two concepts. These perspectives are pitted against each other but share some basic assumptions – a fact which limits organization theory’s ability to fully grasp the management of (digital) visibilities. To address these limitations, we therefore propose a third, constructive perspective on these concepts. A constructive perspective turns transparency and accountability from analytic resources into topics of inquiry, allowing organization scholars to study how people in and around organizations put them to work and with what consequences. We introduce sites of ethical contestation as a new methodological strategy to conduct surprising and unintuitive empirical research from a constructive perspective.
Hosted by the the Business & Society Program within the renowned Aspen Institute, the “Ideas Worth Teaching Award” is one of the most prestigious awards for teaching in business and management education. And I am very happy and proud to announce that the collaborative open course “Organizing in Times of Crisis” is among the winners of the 2020 competition – selected out of over 100 nominations.
As recipients of the award, Elke Schüßler (University of Linz) and myself had the honor to introduce our joint course in no longer than 45 seconds:
Over the course of the past decade, we can observe a growing trend towards (calls for) greater openness in various organizational contexts such as open innovation, open government, open strategy or open science. To some degree openness has been recast as a programmatic organizing principle, promising not just gains in efficiency (e.g., Chesbrough & Appleyard, 2007) but also in terms of transparency (Ohlson & Yakis-Douglas, 2019), accountability (Whittington, 2019) and inclusiveness (Mack & Szulanski, 2017). At the same time, we can observe a growing body of literature on diversity and inclusion that addresses openness in terms of inclusive organizing (Ferdman & Deane, 2014; Mor Barak, 2016; Nkomo et al., 2019; Shore et al., 2018; Zanoni et al., 2010).
Particularly regarding inclusiveness, however, we see a detachment of research on openness in various organizational contexts (e.g. strategy or innovation) from other scholarly debates on diversity and inclusion that address inclusive organizing as such (for an exception see Dobusch et al., 2019). With this sub-theme we seek to make a connection between these two separate research streams because we see three particular avenues for crosspollination that will advance our knowledge about inclusion, diversity and open organizing:
Openness and collaboration in scientific research are attracting increasing attention from scholars and practitioners alike. However, a common understanding of these phenomena is hindered by disciplinary boundaries and disconnected research streams. We link dispersed knowledge on Open Innovation, Open Science, and related concepts such as Responsible Research and Innovation by proposing a unifying Open Innovation in Science (OIS) Research Framework. This framework captures the antecedents, contingencies, and consequences of open and collaborative practices along the entire process of generating and disseminating scientific insights and translating them into innovation. Moreover, it elucidates individual-, team-, organisation-, field-, and society‐level factors shaping OIS practices. To conceptualise the framework, we employed a collaborative approach involving 47 scholars from multiple disciplines, highlighting both tensions and commonalities between existing approaches. The OIS Research Framework thus serves as a basis for future research, informs policy discussions, and provides guidance to scientists and practitioners.
Ali Aslan Gümüsay, Head of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Research Group at the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) and Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Hamburg, is among the contributors to the collaborative open course “Organizing in Times of Crisis”. Together, we have published a brief reflection piece on organizational coping-strategies with the Corona crisis from reactive to proactive:
Wie kaum je zuvor, leben wir im Moment. Jede tagtägliche Veränderung hat gravierende und weitreichende Auswirkungen auf Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft. Gebannt blicken wir auf Entwicklungen der Zahlen von Neu-Infektionen, wirtschaftliche Auswirkungen und tief greifende Eingriffe in das persönliche Leben. […] Doch welche weiteren Veränderungen in Zusammenarbeit, Management und Technologie haben nun langfristige Auswirkungen?
Die Veranstaltung findet ohne Publikum aber live im Internet statt, Zugangsdaten werden nach der Anmeldung zeitgerecht übermittelt.
Every summer term I offer the master-level elective module “Current Issues in Theory and Practice of Organizations”. Last year I focused on “Open Organizations and Organizing Openness” with a wiki-based flipped-classroom approach (check out the open access course wiki). In 2020, however, there is no issue more current than the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. As result, I teamed up with Elke Schüßler (University of Linz) to design a collaborative open course on “Organizing in Times of Crisis: The Case of Covid-19”. From the course description:
The worldwide spread of the Covid19 virus poses a grand social challenge. Seriously threatening the health of the world’s population and accompanied by huge social and economic disruption, it is one of the largest immediate crises for Western societies since World War II and a humanitarian disaster for humankind around the world. Drawing on classic and contemporary organization theory, this course aims to illuminate many pressing questions surrounding the pandemic, such as how supply chains can be organized to ensure adequate supplies of health material, the strengths and difficulties of open science approaches to the development of a vaccine or capabilities of different forms of organization and coordination to quickly and adequately respond in times of crisis.
Most controversially, we omitted quality of peer review, even though negligent peer review is often a prominent feature of predatory journals. We are not saying that peer review is unimportant, only that it is currently impossible to assess.
In our response, we argue that there is no point in any definition of predatory journals that leaves peer review quality out:
If misuse of the peer-review label is not included in the definition of predatory journals, it could strengthen rather than weaken them. Formal listings of those journals might shrink under such a definition: many journals would be removed because their questionable peer-review procedures have escaped scrutiny and they seem otherwise respectable. They could then become attractive outlets to potential authors.
Tim Pritlove ist seit ein – wenn nicht der – deutscher Podcast-Pionier, für den Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft gestaltet er mit Forschergeist einen der meistgehörten deutschsprachigen Wissenschaftspodcasts. Umso mehr hat es mich gefreut, dass ich mit ihm in Folge 77 knapp 2,5 stunden zum Thema “Organisationsforschung” plaudern durfte.