New Article: “Dis/organising visibilities: Governmentalisation and counter-transparency”

I have published an article in the journal Organization entitled “Dis/organising visibilities: Governmentalisation and counter-transparency”. The article uses the case of Edward Snowden for developing a critical concept of organizational transparency. Here is abstract and link to the article:

This paper situates organisational transparency in an agonistic space that is shaped by the interplay of ‘mechanisms of power that adhere to a truth’ and critical practices that come from below in a movement of ‘not being governed like that and at that cost’ (Foucault, 2003: 265). This positioning involves an understanding of transparency as a practice that is historically contingent and multiple, and thus negotiable and contested. By illustrating the entanglement of ‘power through transparency’ and ‘counter-transparency’ with reference to the example of Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing, the paper contributes to the critique of transparency and to debates on the use of Foucauldian concepts in post-panoptic contexts of organising. By introducing the notion of ‘counter-transparency’, the paper expands the conceptual vocabulary for understanding the politics and ethics of managing and organising visibility.

Please check out the open access article here.

Interview zu Meme-Stocks im Deutschlandfunk: Der Mythos von selbstorganisierten Davids gegen Goliath

Source: Michael Rivera, CC-BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

In den letzten beiden Wochen gab es einigen Erklärungsbedarf rund um sprunghafte Kursanstiege von zuvor niedrig bewerteten Aktien wie jener der Firma GameStop in den USA. Die Erzählung dahinter war, dass sich Kleinanleger:innen in Online-Foren (z.B. im Reddit-Forum #WallStreetBets) erfolgreich gegen große institutionelle Investoren wie Hedgefonds zusammengeschlossen hätten. Eine schöne Geschichte der Selbstorganisation vieler kleiner Davids, die mit Hilfe neuer Werkzeuge wie Foren und Trading-Apps (die noch dazu Namen wie “Robinhood” haben). Leider ist an dieser Geschichte kaum etwas dran.

Continue reading “Interview zu Meme-Stocks im Deutschlandfunk: Der Mythos von selbstorganisierten Davids gegen Goliath”

Medienauftritte zu Wikipedias 20. Geburtstag: Podcasts bis ARD-Tagesthemen

Source: Screenshot

Am 15. Januar 2021 feierte mit der Wikipedia ein historischer Glücksfall einer gemeinnützigen, kostenlosen und werbefreien Wissenssammlung 20. Geburtstag. Da ich mich ungefähr seit 2006 wissenschaftlich (z.B. auch in meiner Antrittsvorlesung hier an der Uni Innsbruck) und bloggend mit der freien Online-Enzyklopädie beschäftige, haben mich aus diesem Anlass einige Medienanfragen erreicht. Im folgende eine kurze Zusammenschau.

Video des Podcast-Gesprächs mit Markus Beckedahl von

Contributing to the Debate on “Surveillance Capitalism”

Recently I was invited to contribute to the debate on emerging forms of surveillance society:

Surveillance capitalism technologies are “polyvalent” and can be used for different purposes: they can facilitate an intensification of (state) surveillance, or they can protect privacy and anonymity (for example, facial recognition technology is a surveillance technology, but it can also be used to protect iPhone owners, as the New York Times reported recently in the case of the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests).

Check out my full contribution here.

Zu Gast bei Corona-Videocast “Ars Boni” von Nikolaus Forgó und in Ö1 Doublecheck

Nikolaus Forgó ist Professor für Technologie- und Immaterialgüterrecht und Vorstand des Instituts für Innovation und Digitalisierung im Recht an der Universität Wien. Im Rahmen einer Videocast-Reihe auf YouTube unter dem Titel “Ars Boni” durfte ich kürzlich mit ihm über eine gute Stunde über die Schnittstelle von Wissenschaft, Politik und Öffentlichkeit in Zeiten der Corona-Pandemie sprechen.

Am selben Tag ausgestrahlt wurde außerdem die jüngste Folge des Ö1-Medianmagazins #Doublecheck, zu der ich auch O-Töne beisteuern durfte:

Continue reading “Zu Gast bei Corona-Videocast “Ars Boni” von Nikolaus Forgó und in Ö1 Doublecheck”

From blind dis/obedience to responsible organizing?

Photo Credit: Pete Linforth

By Richard Weiskopf

On my way home, I often pass a café, which displays an anarchistic saying in its show window: “Even more dangerous than the virus is blind obedience”. There is much about this saying that is correct and important. Much has been written and researched about “blind obedience” and its dangers. “I have only done my duty” – many “obedient” perpetrators have used this justification formula in an attempt to evade responsibility or to justify their own moral failure. But just as dangerous as “blind obedience” is “blind disobedience”. When one thinks of the various so-called “Querdenker” who today protest and defend themselves against the “restrictions” and “coercive measures” of the government in the context of managing the Corona crises, this becomes very clear. One must fear the “blind disobedience” at least as much as the “blind obedience”.

So perhaps the distinction between obedience and disobedience is not the core of the problem, but rather the blindness that is associated with them. Blindness – as a metaphor for the unreflected reaction to some impulse – is the problem.

Continue reading “From blind dis/obedience to responsible organizing?”

LehrePlus!-Preis 2020 für den Kurs “Organizing in Times of Crisis: The Case of Covid19”

Alle zwei Jahre werden an der Universität Innsbruck Preise für exzellente Lehre vergeben. Und angesichts von insgesamt 44 hochkarätigen Einreichungen freut es mich ganz besonders, dieses Jahr den Hauptpreis erhalten zu haben – und zwar für den mit Elke Schüßler von der Universität Linz gemeinsam konzipierten Kurs “Organizing in Times of Crisis: The Case of Covid19”. Vielen Dank auch an alle anderen, die zum Gelingen des Kurses beigetragen haben!

Continue reading “LehrePlus!-Preis 2020 für den Kurs “Organizing in Times of Crisis: The Case of Covid19””

ConJunction 2020 NEXT Friday – Guest Panelists and presenters confirmed!

For the Organization Studies Students and Alumni Day taking place on Zoom next week, guests for the panel on “Organizing in Digital Times” are confirmed. They are alumni Josefin Brüning, currently HR Change & Transformation Manager at Viega Holding GmbH & Co. KG; Sarah Nobis, currently serving as People and Culture Manager at Swarm Analytics; and Hannah Schupfer, currently a doctoral research fellow at the University of Oslo.

For this fifth addition to ConJunction is something new to our format (aside from being held online). Three masters theses will be presented to inspire future research for current students, as well as generate discussion:

Elena Ruh – Corporate Health Programs between the Ethics of Care and Corporate Colonialization
Lukas Nagel – Spaces of responsibility in algorithmic decision-making. An explorative study illustrated by the avalanche risk assessment of Skitourenguru
Melissa Köhler – Ambivalences of spaces for ‘other’ organizing: A heterotopology on Virtual Spaces in a Large-Scale Corporation

The event will be hosted via Zoom by Prof. Richard Weiskopf, Prof. Leonhard Dobusch, and Dr. Birthe Soppe. Representing the graduating class is Alina Seebach, with a valedictory speech.

Who: Organization Studies (OS) community
What: “Organizing in Digital Times”
When: Friday, November 20, 4:00 p.m. – 06:30 p.m.
Where: Zoom

Please find the program under this link and register here.

The event can be accessed via this Zoom link.

We look forward to your online attendance.

New Article in Organization Theory: Transparency and Accountability: Causal, Critical and Constructive Perspectives

Earlier this year, the journal Organization Theory launched as the sister journal to Organization Studies, similar to the distinction between AMJ (empirical) and AMR (theoretical) at the Academy of Management. Part of Organization Theory is a “Conversations and Controversies section”, where Maximilian Heimstädt and I managed to publish an article entitled “Transparency and Accountability: Causal, Critical and Constructive Perspectives”. The abstract of reads as follows:

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.

The other article of the controversy has been authored by Richard Whittington and Basak Yakis-Douglas, who wrote about “The Grand Challenge of Corporate Control: Opening strategy to the normative pressures of networked professionals”. Both articles are available open access.

Save the Date: ConJunction Students and Alumni Day on November 20, 2020

The 5th annual ConJunction Students and Alumni Day of the Organization Studies (OS) community of the University of Innsbruck will take place online.

The theme this year is “Organizing in Digital Times”. The event will take place on November 20, from 4:00 p.m. to 06:30 p.m. on Zoom.

Register for the event here.

The complete program can be access here.