New Article in Organization Studies: »From Universalizing Transparency to the Interplay of Transparency Matrices«

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.

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New Article: Predatory Publishing in Management Research: A Call for Open Peer Review

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.

The article is available as an open access full text.

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.

New Article: »Dynamics of the Sharing Economy between Commons and Commodification«

The essay “Dynamics of the Sharing Economy between Commons and Commodification” is based upon a conference paper presented at the conference “A Great Transformation? Global Perspectives on Contemporary Capitalisms” in 2017. It has now  been published in the most recent issue of Momentum Quarterly:

Revisiting scholarly debates around the weal and woe of the so-called “sharing economy,” this essay proposes a distinction between commons-based and market-based forms of the sharing economy. Applying a Polanyian lens to these two types of sharing economy not only reveals countervailing developments between commons and commodification depending on the type of platform governance; in addition, such a perspective also directs attention to externalities regularly associated with the expansion of market logics in previously nonmarket territories.

Check out the open access full text.

Die Verfinsterung des digitalen Traums: Shoshana Zuboffs Analyse des “Überwachungskapitalismus”

Bei diesem Text handelt es sich um die deutsche Fassung einer Rezension, die in gekürzter Form und auf Englisch im Journal Organization zur Veröffentlichung angenommen ist erschienen ist. Von Richard Weiskopf.

Erinnern Sie sich an den Skandal, um den Ge- und Missbrauch von Facebook-Profilen durch die Firma Cambridge Analytica? Oder daran, wie vor allem um 2016 herum Horden von Menschen, meist junge, umherzogen, begeistert und wie ferngesteuert auf der Jagd nach dem „Pokèmon“? Waren auch Sie überrascht zu hören, dass die (österreichische) Post mit den Daten ihrer Kund_innen einen regen Handel betreibt? Waren Sie auch schon erstaunt darüber, wie genau Amazon über Ihre Wünsche Bescheid weiß? Waren auch Sie schon in Versuchung, den smarten Kühlschrank über die Einkaufsliste entscheiden zu lassen oder das Smartphone über den idealen Heimweg? Erscheinen Ihnen solche Phänomene zuweilen als unheimlich oder gar bedrohlich?

Shoshana Zuboff, ihres Zeichens emeritierte Professorin für Business Administration in Harvard, ist in ihrem neuen Buch dieser Erfahrung nachgegangen und sie fragt nach den Kräften, die sie hervorbringen. Das Buch ist eine Fortsetzung von Work in the Age of the Smart Machine, ihrem grundlegenden Werk aus dem Jahr 1988. Hier studierte sie Veränderungen, die sich in der Arbeitswelt durch die Automatisierung und Informatisierung abzeichnen. Als eine der ersten Autor_innen erkannte sie schon damals das panoptische Potenzial der modernen Informationstechnologie. Seither sind mehr als drei Jahrzehnte vergangen. Es wurde nicht nur das Internet erfunden (und zunehmend als Geschäftsfeld erschlossen); auch die Möglichkeiten und Potentiale der Erfassung, Speicherung und Verarbeitung von Daten haben sich exponentiell erweitert. „Big Data“ verspricht nichts weniger als eine „Revolution“, die „die Art und Weise, wie wir leben, arbeiten und denken“ fundamental transformiert (Mayer-Schönberger & Cukier, 2013). Während optimistische Szenarien die großartigen Möglichkeiten von „data-rich markets“ hervorheben (Mayer-Schönberger & Ramge, 2018), warnen Kritiker_innen vor den Gefahren, die mit der „Datafizierung“ einhergehen. Mit den neuen digitalen Möglichkeiten ist die Überwachung vielfältig und „flüchtig“ geworden (Bauman & Lyon, 2013), sie dringt in alle Bereiche des Alltags vor und prägt die „surveillance culture(s)“ (Lyon, 2018; Harding, 2018) der Gegenwart.

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