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.