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.
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:
Managing resources and tensions at the frontline is crucial for organizational success. To advance our understanding of how frontline employees turn assets into useful resources under tensions, we draw on research on resourcing and practices of responding to paradoxical tensions. Our ethnographic study of employees in a multinational retail–fashion company finds three resourcing practices – situational reframing, organizational preframing and institutional deframing – that enable frontline employees to balance tensions. We contribute to both the resourcing perspective and to research on individuals’ responses to paradoxical tensions, first, by identifying the varying scopes of meaning (situational, organizational or institutional) that employees infuse potential resources with; second, by extending the notion of framing to understand how resourcing is accomplished interactively in tension-laden situations; and third, by explaining how employees’ construction of tensions is related to their dynamic moves between resourcing practices.
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Algorithmic profiling is a technology and practice that is increasingly used to make decisions, sometimes even without human intervention. Profiles can be traced back to their use in police work and behaviorist psychology of the early 20th century. Thus, long before the emergence of Big Data, profiles were used as a knowledge tool in a wide range of human sciences. Today, profiles and profiling are used in multiple contexts: customer profiling, profiling for employment screening, credit scoring, criminal investigations, immigration policy, healthcare management, forensic biometrics, etc.
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.
Together with Bernadette Loacker (Lancester University) and Randi Heinrichs (Lüneburg) I co-edited and ephemera special Issue (PDF) on truth-telling and whistleblowing in digital cultures. The issue opens a space for discussing the specific ‘conditions of possibility’ of truth-telling and the multiple technologies, which mediate it in contemporary digital cultures.
The notion of the ethico-politics of whistleblowing is introduced to address the irreducible entanglement of questions of ethics, politics and truth in the practice of ‘speaking out’. The special issue brings together a set of papers, acknowledging that forms and mediations of truth-telling are complex and contested. The contributions discuss questions such as: Who is, in digital cultures, considered to be qualified to speak out, and about what? Under which conditions, and with what consequences can ‘the truth’ be told? How do digital infrastructures regulate the truth, and the process of making it heard? How is the figure of the whistleblower constructed, and how do whistleblowers constitute themselves as political and ethical subjects, willing to take risks and pose a challenge, to others and themselves?
On 26 October 2015, BBC News published an article entitled China ‘social credit’: Beijing sets up huge system. It describes how the Chinese government is building an ‘omnipotent “social credit” system that is meant to rate each citizen’s trustworthiness’. Warnings about the advent of ‘digital dictatorship’ and phrases like ‘Big Data meets Big Brother’ have proliferated in research and Western public media ever since, and they reflect a rapidly growing focus on the contemporary global process whereby power and control become entwined with digitalization and result in new and often concerning forms of transparency.
Inspired by a blog post about the dangers of predatory publishing and open peer review as a potential response, Maximilian Heimstädt and I decided to dig deeper into the issue. Specifically, we were able to get access to some data on (potentially) predatory journals in organization and management studies. Based upon the analysis of this data we developed some initial ideas – provocations for debate – regarding the potentials of open peer review for our own discipline. The article has now been published in the journal Management Learning:
Predatory journals have emerged as an unintended consequence of the Open Access paradigm. Predatory journals only supposedly or very superficially conduct peer review and accept manuscripts within days to skim off publication fees. In this provocation piece, we first explain how predatory journals exploit deficiencies of the traditional peer review process in times of Open Access publishing. We then explain two ways in which predatory journals may harm the management discipline: as an infrastructure for the dissemination of pseudo-science and as a vehicle to portray management research as pseudo-scientific. Analyzing data from a journal blacklist, we show that without the ability to validate their claims to conduct peer review, most of the 639 predatory management journals are quite difficult to demarcate from serious journals. To address this problem, we propose open peer review as a new governance mechanism for management journals. By making parts of their peer review process more transparent and inclusive, reputable journals can differentiate themselves from predatory journals and additionally contribute to a more developmental reviewing culture. Eventually, we discuss ways in which editors, reviewers, and authors can advocate reform of peer review.
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”→