New Publication: »Closing for the Benefit of Openness« in Organization Studies

My sister, Laura (Radboud University in Nijmegen, NL), our colleague Gordon Müller-Seitz (TU Kaiserlautern), and I have looked at an open strategy-making process of Wikimedia, the non-profit foundation behind the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia. In the paper “Closing for the Benefit of Openness?“, which is now open access available at the journal Organization Studies, we find that “simply” opening up preexisting organizational processes tends to reproduce or even reinforce social inequalities already in place. To enable broad participation and to reach out to particularly marginalized groups, openness is depending on certain forms of (procedural) closure. Pleas find the abstract of the paper below:

A growing number of organizations subscribe to ideals of openness in areas such as innovation or strategy-making, supported by digital technologies and fuelled by promises of better outcomes and increased legitimacy. However, by applying a relational lens of inclusion and exclusion, we argue that, paradoxically, certain forms of closure may be necessary to achieve desired open qualities in strategy-making. Analysing the case of Wikimedia, which called for participation in a globally open strategy-making process, we show that openness regarding participation in crafting strategy content depends on certain forms of closure regarding procedures of the strategy-making process. Against this background, we propose a two-dimensional framework of openness, in which content-related and procedural openness are characterized by a combination of open and closed elements.

Thanks to an open access agreement between Dutch universities and the publisher Sage, the fulltext is open availble.

New Publication: »Politics of Disclosure: Organizational Transparency as Multiactor Negotiation«

Creating transparency is oftentimes imagined as something that can easily be turned on or off. Zooming in, transparency is hard work. In a new paper published in Public Administration Review, Leonhard Dobusch and I have traced the multiactor negotiations that led to the creation of an overarching Open Data program in the city administration of Berlin. The abstract reads: Continue reading “New Publication: »Politics of Disclosure: Organizational Transparency as Multiactor Negotiation«”

Neue Studie: »Mögliche Wege zum Schulbuch als Open Educational Resources«

Ausschnitt des Studiencovers von Daniela Gnad, Salzburg Research Forschungsgesellschaft m.b.H., unter Verwendung einer Abwandlung des OER Global Logos von Jonathas Mello (CC-BY 3.0)

Im Rahmen der „Schulbuchaktion“ werden in Österreich seit 1972 Schülerinnen und Schüler unentgeltlich mit Schulbüchern versorgt. Pro Schuljahr werden auf diesem Wege mehr als 100 Millionen Euro für über 8 Millionen Schulbücher verausgabt.

Kein Kriterium für diese substantielle öffentliche Investition sind bislang jedoch offene Lizenzen, die im Zeitverlauf zu einem kontinuierlich wachsenden Bestand an frei zugänglichen Lernunterlagen führen würden. Um die Möglichkeiten für eine Öffnung der Schulbuchaktion für offene Lehr- und Lernunterlagen (Open Educational Resources, OER) näher zu untersuchen, wurde deshalb Salzburg Research vom Bildungsministerium mit der Erstellung einer Machbarkeitsstudie beauftragt. Die von Sandra Schön, Katharina Kreissl, Martin Ebner und mir verfasste Studie ist seit kurzem auch offiziell auf der Webseite des Bildungsministeriums unter Creative-Commons-Lizenz zugänglich (PDF der Studie).

Book Review of »Organizational Wrongdoing« edited by Palmer, Smith-Crowe, and Greenwood

Earlier this year I was asked to serve as an Organization Studies book reviewer for ‘Organizational Wrongdoing’ edited by Donald Palmer, Kristin Smith-Crowe, and Royston Greenwood. My review has now been published in the most recent issue of Organization Studies. The final paragraph summarizes my reading of the volume as follows:

The final chapter of the volume (Chapter 16 by Chugh and Kern) then returns to the individual level in presenting suggestions on how to conceptualize and practice “ethical learning”. The chapter is a truly worthy conclusion, providing concrete suggestions for management practice. At the same time, it is also prototypical for the volume as a whole, focusing on reflection at an individual level instead of more collective and political processes of dealing with organizational wrongdoing. The latter perspective would not only put more emphasis on processes of subjectivation in the course of attributing “wrongdoing” to individuals, but might also arrive at different suggestions for practice such as ideas related to criminal law for corporations. This would reflect the, at least partially, emergent character of organizational wrongdoing. Given the importance of political processes and institutional contexts for organizational wrongdoing highlighted by several of the contributions in this volume, political organizing based on solidarity is probably as important as ethical learning by individuals.

The full text of the book review is available at the journal’s website. As usual, please send me an e-mail in case you are interested but your institution does not provide access to the journal.


Neue Studie: Perspektiven für Open Educational Resources in Nordrhein-Westfalen

Innerhalb der bestehenden Rahmenbedingungen verstärkt die zunehmende Digitalisierung von Lehrmaterial zwei bestehende Probleme an Schulen: Zum einen gefährdet die Verbreitung von minderwertigen oder tendenziösen aber kostenfreien Onlinematerialien das Neutralitätsgebot der schulischen Lehre. Zum anderen bewegen sich LehrerInnen und SchülerInnen im alltäglichen Umgang mit Material mehr und mehr in urheberrechtlichen Graubereichen. In einer kürzlich veröffentlichten Studie (PDF, PDF-Kurzfassung) für das Forschungsinstitut für Gesellschaftliche Weiterentwicklung (FGW) habe ich gemeinsam mit Leonhard Dobusch Vorschläge dazu entwickelt, wie beide Probleme durch eine Öffnung der Lernmittelfinanzierung für Open Educational Resources adressiert werden können.

Continue reading “Neue Studie: Perspektiven für Open Educational Resources in Nordrhein-Westfalen”

New Publication: »Memes as Games: The Evolution of a Digital Discourse Online«

Stylized depiction of the “Hope” meme (Seiffert-Brockmann et al., 2017)

Probably the most pervasive example of how the internet turned popular culture from read-only into read-write (Lessig, 2008) is internet memes. In a new paper published in New Media & Society, Jens Seiffert-Brockmann, Trevor Diehl and myself have tried theoretically capture the communication logic of how memes spread and evolve. This is the abstract:  Continue reading “New Publication: »Memes as Games: The Evolution of a Digital Discourse Online«”

New Publication: »Open strategy-making with crowds and communities«

Academic publication processes often take some time. For example, the article “Open strategy-making with crowds and communities: Comparing Wikimedia and Creative Commons” by Jakob Kapeller and myself, which has now been published in Long Range Planning, is not entirely new. Back in 2013 at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida, we had already received the prestigious Carolyn Dexter Best International Paper Award for a previous version of the article. Several rounds of revision later, we can proudly present the abstract of the now published final version of the paper:

In the wake of new digital technologies, organizations rely increasingly on contributions by external actors to innovate or even to fulfill their core tasks, including strategy-making processes. These external actors may take the form of crowds, where actors are isolated and dispersed, or of communities, where these actors are related and self-identify as members of their communities. While we know that including new actors in strategy-making may lead to tensions, we know little about how these tensions differ when either crowds or communities are concerned. Investigating this question by analyzing open strategy-making initiatives conducted by two non-profit organizations (Creative Commons and Wikimedia), we find that tensions with communities may be resolved with increasing openness in strategy-making, while crowds are better compatible with more exclusive strategy-making practices.

The full text of the article is available at the journal’s website. As usual, please send me an e-mail in case you are interested but your institution does not provide access to the journal.