Theorizing the Digital

Summer Term 2021

Course Objectives:

This course is designed to develop well-founded knowledge and transdisciplinary perspectives on digitization as well as foster the exchange among participants regarding their PhD projects. We will critically reflect and discuss papers that examine “the digital” from various angles and offer PhD candidates the possibility to discuss their project with the other students and the DP faculty.

The main objective of the course is to equip students with a transdisciplinary lens on digital phenomena and to establish a common basis of knowledge among the participants of the doctoral program #OrganizingtheDigital. Moreover, the specific setting of this course allows participants and faculty members of the DP to share knowledge, insights, develop a common interest and collective identity.

Reading List:


Short introductory lecture and discussion by Andrea Hemetsberger & Leonhard Dobusch

 Session I - Host: Kerstin Neumann Presenter: Kraft & Wesnitzer

Barnett, M.L., Henriques, I. and Husted B.W. (2020): The Rise and Stall of Stakeholder Influence: How the Digital Age Limits Social Control. Academy of Management Perspectives Vol. 34, (1), 48–64.


Have stakeholders increased their influence over firm behavior in the digital age? We draw from cognitive theory to argue that although social media has made it easier for stakeholders to broadcast their demands, the methods used to cope with the drastic change in quantities and qualities of information in the digital age have limited stakeholder influence in the aggregate. Even secondary stakeholders now have the ability to engage mass audiences, but the likelihood of success of most stakeholders’ efforts to alter firm behavior has been constrained amid the torrent of information flows. We develop a revised framework that accounts for the cognitive mechanisms that buffer firm–stakeholder relationships from change and thereby limit the overall effects of the digital age on stakeholder influence over firm behavior.


Laaksonen, S., & Porttikivi, M. (2021): Governing with conversation culture – conditioning organizational interaction in a digital social movement. Information, Communication & Society 

 Session II - Host: Ulrich Remus / Presenter: Königstein & Mrozowski

Möhlmann, M., Zalmanson, L., Henfridsson, O., Gregory, R. W. (2021): ALGORITHMIC MANAGEMENT OF WORK ON ONLINE LABOR PLATFORMS: WHEN MATCHING MEETS CONTROL. MIS Quarterly, forthcoming

RemusOnline labor platforms (OLPs) canuse algorithmsalongtwodimensions matching and control. While previous researchhas paidconsiderable attentiontohowOLPs optimize matchingandaccommodate market needs, OLPs canalsoemployalgorithms tomonitor andtightlycontrol platformwork. Inthis paper, we examine the nature ofplatformworkonOLPs,andthe role ofalgorithmic management inorganizinghowsuch work is conducted. Usinga qualitative studyofUberdrivers’perceptions, supplementedbyinterviews withUber executives andengineers, we present a groundedtheorythatcaptures algorithmic managementofworkonOLPs. Inthe context ofbroadalgorithmic control,platformworkersexperience tensions relatingtoexecution, compensation, andbelonging. We showthat these tensions trigger market-likeand organization-like response behaviors by platform workers. Our research contributes tothe emergingliterature on OLPs.

    Paper availiable only on OLAT

Alaimo C, Kallinikos J.(2020): Managing by Data: Algorithmic Categories and Organizing. Organization Studies 1-23. 

nadeggerData and data management techniques increasingly permeate organizations and the contexts in which they are embedded. We conduct an empirical investigation of, an online music discovery platform, with a view to unpacking the work of data and algorithms in the process of categorization. Drawing on Eleanor Rosch and her colleagues, we link the making of categories with the construction of basic objects that function as key filters or registers for perceiving and organizing the world and interacting with it. In contexts such as the ones we have studied, basic objects are made out of data rather than expert or community-based knowledge. In such settings, basic objects work as pervasive reality filters and as the entities on which other organizational objects and categories are built. As they diffuse, such objects and the categories they instantiate become naturalized, increasingly reconfiguring the social order of organizations and their environments as a data order. Once key  organizational activities such as the making of objects and categorizing are rearranged by data and algorithms, organizations can no longer be framed as separate from the technologies they deploy.

 Session III - Host: Andrea Hemetsberger / Presenter: Molnar & Pallhuber

Nieborg DB, Poell T. (2018): The platformization of cultural production: Theorizing the contingent cultural commodity. New Media & Society. 20(11):4275-4292.

 This article explores how the political economy of the cultural industries changes through platformization: the penetration of economic and infrastructural extensions of online platforms into the web, affecting the production, distribution, and circulation of
cultural content. It pursues this investigation in critical dialogue with current research in business studies, political economy, and software studies. Focusing on the production of news and games, the analysis shows that in economic terms platformization entails
the replacement of two-sided market structures with complex multisided platform configurations, dominated by big platform corporations. Cultural content producers have to continuously grapple with seemingly serendipitous changes in platform governance, ranging from content curation to pricing strategies. Simultaneously, these producers are enticed by new platform services and infrastructural changes. In the process, cultural
commodities become fundamentally “contingent,” that is increasingly modular in design
and continuously reworked and repackaged, informed by datafied user feedback.

Janice Denegri-Knott , Rebecca Jenkins & Siân Lindley (2020): What is digital possession and how to study it: a conversation with Russell Belk, Rebecca Mardon, Giana M. Eckhardt, Varala Maraj, Will Odom, Massimo Airoldi, Alessandro Caliandro, Mike Molesworth and Alessandro Gandini, Journal of Marketing Management, 36:9-10, 942-971.

schwarzThe platformisation of digital consumption, means that increasingly many of the things that we call ours – our messages, photos, music, achievements – are entangled in complex socio-technical arrangements which require ongoing market mediation. In this context, refining our understanding of what digital possessions are and how to study them is vital. This requires refocusing research away from existing comparative analyses between digital and material possessions. To do so, we organised an interdisciplinary roundtable discussion with critical marketers and digital media scholars, consumer researchers, digital sociologists and researchers in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) at the 11th Interpretive Consumer Research Conference held in Lyon in May 2019. The result of that discussion is this curation of comments which deal with theoretical, methodological and critical issues and a bold agenda for future research.

 Session IV - Host: Leonhard Dobusch / Presenter: Erhart & Eisenstecken 

Burrell, J. (2016): How the machine ‘thinks’: Understanding opacity in machine learning algorithms. Big Data & Society, 3(1), 1-12.


This article considers the issue of opacity as a problem for socially consequential mechanisms of classification andranking, such as spam filters, credit card fraud detection, search engines, news trends, market segmentation andadvertising, insurance or loan qualification, and credit scoring. These mechanisms of classification all frequently relyon computational algorithms, and in many cases onmachine learningalgorithms to do this work. In this article, I draw adistinction between three forms of opacity: (1) opacity as intentional corporate or state secrecy, (2) opacity as technicalilliteracy, and (3) an opacity that arises from the characteristics of machine learning algorithms and the scale required toapply them usefully. The analysis in this article gets inside the algorithms themselves. I cite existing literatures in com-puter science, known industry practices (as they are publicly presented), and do some testing and manipulation of codeas a form of lightweight code audit. I argue that recognizing the distinct forms of opacity that may be coming into play ina given application is a key to determining which of a variety of technical and non-technical solutions could help toprevent harm.

Florian Cramer WHAT IS ‘POST-DIGITAL’?

koernerIn January 2013, a picture of a young man typing on a mechanical typewriter while sitting on a park bench went ‘viral’ on the popular website Reddit. The image was presented in the typical style of an ‘image macro’ or ‘imageboard meme’ (Klok 16-19), with a sarcastic caption in bold white Impact typeface that read: “You’re not a real hipster — until you take your typewriter to the park”. The meme, which was still making news at the time of writing this paper in late 2013 (Hermlin), nicely illustrates the rift between ‘digital’ and ‘post-digital’ cultures. Imageboard memes are arguably the best example of a contemporary popular mass culture which emerged and developed entirely on the Internet.

    Paper availiable only on OLAT

 Session V - Host: Richard Weiskopf / Presenter: Körner & Rojkowski

Weiskopf R. (2020): Algorithmic Decision-Making, Spectrogenic Profiling, and Hyper-Facticity in the Age of Post-Truth (

weiskopfThis paper investigates algorithmic decision-making and data-driven profiling as particular ways of producing truth by which "(wo)men govern themselves and others." It starts with problematizing some of the fundamental assumptions on which algorithmic decision-making relies. It then conceptualizes profiling as a "spectrogenic process" in which abstractions are produced that haunt the world, thereby generating material effects of sorting people in/out from a distance. In the final section, the paper discusses emerging forms of governance and the modes of subjectification associated with the current condition of multiple profiling machines. Paradoxically, in the context of post-truth, these forms produce a hyper-facticity that governs by circumventing reflexivity, grounding government in computational truth, and substituting ethico-political decisions by calculations.

Viera Magalhães, João and Couldry, Nick (2021): Giving by taking away: big tech, data colonialism and the reconfiguration of social good. International Journal of Communication, 15.343–362. 

poonBig Tech companies have recently led and financed projects that claim to use datafication for the “social good.” This article explores what kind of social good it is that this sort of datafication engenders. Drawing mostly on the analysis of corporate public communications and patent applications, it finds that these initiatives hinge on the reconfiguration of social good as datafied, probabilistic, and profitable. These features, the article argues, are better understood within the framework of data colonialism. Rethinking “doing good” as a facet of data colonialism illuminates the inherent harm to freedom these projects produce and why, to “give,” Big Tech must often take away.

 Session VI

PhD Presentations 16.06.2021


More details will be announced shortly before the date.

Syllabus 2021



Summer Term 2020

Course Objectives:

This course is designed to develop well-founded knowledge and transdisciplinary perspectives on digitization as well as foster the exchange among participants regarding their PhD projects. We will critically reflect and discuss papers that examine “the digital” from various angles and offer PhD candidates the possibility to discuss their project with the other students and the DP faculty.

The main objective of the course is to equip students with a transdisciplinary lens on digital phenomena and to establish a common basis of knowledge among the participants of the doctoral program #OrganizingtheDigital. Moreover, the specific setting of this course allows participants and faculty members of the DP to share knowledge, insights, develop a common interest and collective identity.

Reading List:


Short introductory lecture and discussion by Andrea Hemetsberger & Leonhard Dobusch

 Session I - Host: Leonhard Dobusch

Seaver, N. (2019). Captivating algorithms: Recommender systems as traps. Journal of Material Culture, 24(4), 421-436


Algorithmic recommender systems are a ubiquitous feature of contemporary cultural life online, suggesting music, movies, and other materials to their users. This article, drawing on fieldwork with developers of recommender systems in the US, describes a tendency among these systems’ makers to describe their purpose as ‘hooking’ people – enticing them into frequent or enduring usage. Inspired by steady references to capture in the field, the author considers recommender systems as traps, drawing on anthropological theories about animal trapping. The article charts the rise of ‘captivation metrics’ – measures of user retention – enabled by a set of transformations in recommenders’ epistemic, economic, and technical contexts. Traps prove useful for thinking about how such systems relate to broader infrastructural ecologies of knowledge and technology. As recommenders spread across online cultural infrastructures and become practically inescapable, thinking with traps offers an alternative to common ethical framings that oppose tropes of freedom and coercion.

Ziewitz, M. (2019). Rethinking gaming: The ethical work of optimization in web search engines. Social Studies of Science, 49(5), 707-731.


When measures come to matter, those measured find themselves in a precarious situation. On the one hand, they have a strong incentive to respond to measurement so as to score a favourable rating. On the other hand, too much of an adjustment runs the risk of being flagged and penalized by system operators as an attempt to ‘game the system’. Measures, the story goes, are most useful when they depict those measured as they usually are and not how they intend to be. In this article, I explore the practices and politics of optimization in the case of web search engines. Drawing on materials from ethnographic fieldwork with search engine optimization (SEO) consultants in the United Kingdom, I show how maximizing a website’s visibility in search results involves navigating the shifting boundaries between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ optimization. Specifically, I am interested in the ethical work performed as SEO consultants artfully arrange themselves to cope with moral ambiguities provoked and delegated by the operators of the search engine. Building on studies of ethics as a practical accomplishment, I suggest that the ethicality of optimization has itself become a site of governance and contestation. Studying such practices of ‘being ethical’ not only offers opportunities for rethinking popular tropes like ‘gaming the system’, but also draws attention to often-overlooked struggles for authority at the margins of contemporary ranking schemes.

 Session II - Host: Kathrin Fighl / Presenter: Patrick Neef

Wojdynski, B.W., Binford, M.T., Jefferson, B.N. (2019): Looks Real, or Really Fake? Warnings, Visual Attention and Detection of False News Articles. Open Information Science 3, 166-180.

wojdynskietal2019In recent years, online misinformation designed to resemble news by adopting news design conventions has proven to be a powerful vehicle for deception and persuasion. In a 2 (prior warning: present/absent) x 2 (article type: false/true) eye-tracking experiment, news consumers (N=49) viewed four science news articles from unfamiliar sources, then rated each article for credibility before being asked to classify each as true news or as false information presented as news. Results show that reminding participants about the existence of fake news significantly improved correct classification of false news articles, but did not lead to a significant increase in misclassification of true news articles as false. Analysis of eye-tracking data showed that duration of visual attention to news identifier elements, such as the headline, byline, timestamp on a page, predicted correct article classification. Implications for consumer education and information design are discussed.

Pennycook, G., Bear, A., Collins, E.T., Rand, D.G. (2020): The Implied Truth Effect: Attaching Warnings to a Subset of Fake News Headlines Increases Perceived Accuracy of Headlines Without Warnings. Management Science 2020 (21.2.20 online).

pennycooketal2020What can be done to combat political misinformation? One prominent intervention involves attaching warnings to headlines of news stories that have been disputed by third-party fact-checkers. Here we demonstrate a hitherto unappreciated
potential consequence of such a warning: an implied truth effect, whereby false headlines that fail to get tagged are considered validated and thus are seen as more accurate. With a formal model, we demonstrate that Bayesian belief updating can lead to such an implied truth effect. In Study 1 (n = 5,271 MTurkers), we find that although warnings do lead to a modest reduction in perceived accuracy of false headlines relative to a control condition (particularly for politically concordant headlines), we also observed the hypothesized implied truth effect: the presence of warnings caused untagged headlines to be seen as
more accurate than in the control. In Study 2 (n = 1,568 MTurkers), we find the same effects in the context of decisions about which headlines to consider sharing on social media. We also find that attaching verifications to some true headlines—which removes the ambiguity about whether untagged headlines have not been checked or have been verified—
eliminates, and in fact slightly reverses, the implied truth effect. Together these results contest theories of motivated reasoning while identifying a potential challenge for the policy of using warning tags to fight misinformation—a challenge that is particularly concerning given that it is much easier to produce misinformation than it is to debunk it.

 Session III - Host: Julia Rapp-Hautz / Presenter: Eva Kaczko

Ozalp, H., Cennamo, C., Gawer, A. (2018): Disruption in Platform-Based Ecosystems. Journal of Management Studies 55(7), 1203-1241.  

 We study intergenerational platform-technology transitions as instances of potentially disruptive innovation at the ecosystem level. Examining the launch of 12 platform technologies in the U.S. videogame industry covering three console generations from 1993 until 2010, we show that incumbents introducing next-generation platform technologies with advanced capabilities increase the challenges of developing complements for the platform technology, steepening complementors’ learning curves and disrupting the very same complementors that platform owners need to thrive in the next-generation competition. We

find that, because of these struggles, platforms with advanced capabilities but high complement-development challenges show a pattern of defection of complementors toward rival, less challenging platforms. Our study extends mainstream disruptive-innovation theory to the context of platform-based ecosystems by offering a systemic view that accounts for disaffection on the part of technology complementors—rather  than end users—as the main reason for disruption.

 Der zweite Artikel wird nur im Rahmen des Kurses besprochen und steht nicht online zur Verfügung.

 Session IV - Host: Bernd Gössling / Presenter: Marylin Poon

Edwards, R., & Fenwick, T. (2016). Digital analytics in professional work and learning. Studies in Continuing Education, 38(2), 213-227


In a wide range of fields, professional practice is being transformed by the increasing influence of digital analytics: the massive volumes of big data, and software algorithms that are collecting, comparing and calculating that data to make predictions and even decisions. Researchers in a number of social sciences have been calling attention to the far-reaching and accelerating consequences of these forces, claiming that many professionals, researchers, policy-makers and the public are just beginning to realise the enormous potentials and challenges these analytics are producing. Yet, outside of particular areas of research and practice, such as learning analytics, there has been little discussion of this to date in the broader education literature. This article aims to set out some key issues particularly relevant to the understandings of professional practice, knowledge and learning posed by the linkages of big data and software code. It begins by outlining definitions, forms and examples of these analytics, their potentialities and some of the hidden impact, and then presents issues for researchers and educators. It seeks to contribute to and extend debates taking place in certain quarters to a broader professional education and work audience.

Callan, V. J., Johnston, M. A., & Poulsen, A. L. (2015). How organisations are using blended e-learning to deliver more flexible approaches to trade training. Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 67(3), 294-309


Training organisations are being asked to respond to the growing levels of diversity around the contexts for training and to examine a wider range of training solutions than in the past. This research investigates how training organisations in Australia are using blended forms of e-learning to provide more responsive, flexible and innovative training, particularly in areas of skills shortage in four trade industries. Twenty-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with key stakeholders across the bakery, building and construction, plumbing and stonemasonry industries. Findings report on the perceived benefits of e-learning in promoting greater flexibility, improvements in teacher–student communication and interpersonal relationships, higher levels of student satisfaction and cost savings for employers. However, major barriers include the attitudes of many teachers to the use of new technologies in the classroom, including the associated strategies of the recognition of prior learning and e-portfolios to support of e-learning delivery. Finally, the study identifies future directions for research around the factors that may determine the greater adoption of e-learning strategies in the learning and training environments of our workplaces.

 Session V - Host: Andrea Hemetsberger / Presenter: Andreas Körner

Appel, G., Grewal, L., Hadi, R., & Stephen, A. T. (2020). The future of social media in marketing. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 48(1), 79-95


Social media allows people to freely interact with others and offers multiple ways for marketers to reach and engage with consumers. Considering the numerous ways social media affects individuals and businesses alike, in this article, the authors focus on where they believe the future of social media lies when considering marketing-related topics and issues. Drawing on academic research, discussions with industry leaders, and popular discourse, the authors identify nine themes, organized by predicted imminence (i.e., the immediate, near, and far futures), that they believe will meaningfully shape the future of social media through three lenses: consumer, industry, and public policy. Within each theme, the authors describe the digital landscape, present and discuss their predictions, and identify relevant future research directions for academics and practitioners.

Ruckenstein, M., & Granroth, J. (2020). Algorithms, advertising and the intimacy of surveillance. Journal of Cultural Economy, 13(1), 12-24


This article develops the notion of the intimacy of surveillance, a characteristic of contemporary corporate marketing and dataveillance fueled by the accumulation of consumers’ economically valuable digital traces. By focusing on emotional reactions to targeted advertisements, we demonstrate how consumers want contradictory things: they oppose intrusive and creepy advertising based on tracking their activities, yet expect more relevant real-time analysis and probabilistic predictions anticipating their needs, desires, and plans. The tension between the two opposing aspects of corporate surveillance is crucial in terms of the intimacy of surveillance: it explains how corporate surveillance that is felt as disturbing can co-exist with pleasurable moments of being ‘seen’ by the market. The study suggests that the current situation where social media users are trying to comprehend, typically alone with their devices, what is going on in terms of continuously changing algorithmic systems, is undermining public culture. This calls for collective responses to the shared pleasures and pains while living alongside algorithms. The everyday distress and paranoia to which users of social media are exposed is an indicator of failed social arrangements in need of urgent repair.

 Session VI

PhD Presentations

Pleas send you papers to by May 31st

The course slides can be found here.


Paperslots 17.6.2020




Stephanie Kogler


Jonathan Schöps


Christiane Aufschnaiter


Bianca Schönherr


Monica Nadegger


Aleksander Groth


Conclusion & Feedback

 Syllabus 2020


Summer Term 2019 

Course Objectives:

This course is designed to develop well-founded knowledge and transdisciplinary perspectives on digitization. We will critically reflect and discuss papers that examine “the digital” from various angles. 

The course will be held in the format of a reading group. The main objective of the course is to equip students with a transdisciplinary lens on digital phenomena and to establish a common basis of knowledge among the participants of the doctoral program #OrganizingtheDigital. Moreover, the specific setting of this course allows participants and faculty members of the DP to share knowledge, insights, develop a common interest and collective identity.

Reading List:


Short introductory lecture and discussion

 Session I

Felix Stalder (2018): The Digital Condition


Our daily lives, our culture and our politics are now shaped by the digital condition as large numbers of people involve themselves in contentious negotiations of meaning in ever more dimensions of life, from the trivial to the profound. They are making use of the capacities of complex communication infrastructures, currently dominated by social mass media such as Twitter and Facebook, on which they have come to depend.

Amidst a confusing plurality, Felix Stalder argues that are three key constituents of this condition: the use of existing cultural materials for one's own production, the way in which new meaning is established as a collective endeavour, and the underlying role of algorithms and automated decision-making processes that reduce and give shape to massive volumes of data. These three characteristics define what Stalder calls 'the digital condition'. Stalder also examines the profound political implications of this new culture. We stand at a crossroads between post-democracy and the commons, a concentration of power among the few or a genuine widening of participation, with the digital condition offering the potential for starkly different outcomes.

This ambitious and wide-ranging theory of our contemporary digital condition will be of great interest to students and scholars in media and communications, cultural studies, and social, political and cultural theory, as well as to a wider readership interested in the ways in which culture and politics are changing today.

 Session II  

Elliot, S. (2011). Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Environmental Sustainability: A Resource Base and Framework for IT-enabled Business Transformation. Mis Quarterly, 35(1), 197-236


The quality and future of human existence are directly related to the condition of our natural environment, but we are damaging the environment. Scientific evidence has mounted a compelling case that human behavior is responsible for deterioration in the Earth's natural environment, with the rate of deterioration predicted to increase in the future. Acknowledging this evidence, the governments of 192 countries have formally agreed to take action to resolve problems with the climate system, one of the most highly stressed parts of the natural environment. While the intention is clear, the question of how best to proceed is not.

The research reported here undertook a three-phase approach of selecting, analyzing, and synthesizing relevant literature to develop a holistic, transdisciplinary, integrative framework for IT-enabled business transformation. The focus on business transformation is because business is recognized as being a critical contributor in realizing the challenges of environmental sustainability due to its potential capacity for innovation and change—locally, nationally, and globally. This article also serves as a resource base for researchers to begin to undertake significant information systems and multidisciplinary work toward the goal of environmental sustainability. Through selection and analysis of illustrative examples of current work from 12 academic disciplines across 6 core categories, the framework addresses the key issues of uncertainty:
(1) What is meant by environmental sustainability?
(2) What are its major challenges?
(3) What is being done about these challenges?
(4) What needs to be done?

Vergne, J. P., Wernicke, G., & Brenner, S. (2018). Signal Incongruence and Its Consequences: A Study of Media Disapproval and CEO Overcompensation. Organization Science, 29(5), 796-817


We draw on the signaling and infomediary literatures to examine how media evaluations of CEO overcompensation (a negative cue associated with selfishness and greed) are affected by the presence of corporate philanthropy (a positive cue associated with altruism and generosity). In line with our theory on signal incongruence, we find that firms engaged in philanthropy receive more media disapproval when they overcompensate their CEO, but they are also more likely to decrease CEO overcompensation as a response. Our study contributes to the signaling literature by theorizing about signal incongruence, and to infomediary and corporate governance research by showing that media disapproval can lead to lower executive compensation. We also reconcile two conflicting views on firm prosocial behavior by showing that, in the presence of incongruent cues, philanthropy can simultaneously enhance and damage media evaluations of firms and CEOs. Taken together, these findings shed new light on the media as agents of external corporate governance for firms and open new avenues for research on executive compensation.

 Session III
Discussant presentation 

Mazmanian, M., Orlikowski, W. J., & Yates, J. (2013). The Autonomy Paradox: The Implications of Mobile Email Devices for Knowledge Professionals. Organization Science, 24(5), 1337-1357


Our research examines how knowledge professionals use mobile email devices to get their work done and the implications of such use for their autonomy to control the location, timing, and performance of work. We found that knowledge professionals using mobile email devices to manage their communication were enacting a norm of continual connectivity and accessibility that produced a number of contradictory outcomes. Although individual use of mobile email devices offered these professionals flexibility, peace of mind, and control over interactions in the short term, it also intensified collective expectations of their availability, escalating their engagement and thus reducing their ability to disconnect from work. Choosing to use their mobile email devices to work anywhere/anytime—actions they framed as evidence of their personal autonomy—the professionals were ending up using it everywhere/all the time, thus diminishing their autonomy in practice. This autonomy paradox reflected professionals’ ongoing navigation of the tension between their interests in personal autonomy on the one hand and their professional commitment to colleagues and clients on the other. We further found that this dynamic has important unintended consequences—reaffirming and challenging workers’ sense of themselves as autonomous and responsible professionals while also collectively shifting the norms of how work is and should be performed in the contemporary workplace.

Dery, K., Kolb, D., & MacCormick, J. (2014). Working with Connective Flow: How Smartphone Use is Evolving in Practice. European Journal of Information Systems, 23(5), 558-570


Smartphones, those handheld devices that connect us via telephone and the Internet to virtually everyone and everything in the world, are becoming an integral part of everyday life. While there are significant individual and collective benefits from being more connected, there are also concerns associated with ‘always on’ work practices. This paper reports on a two-phase case study of smartphone users in a global financial services firm comparing the use of smartphones and their impact on work over time. We found that mobile communication technology practices have evolved within a relatively short (5-year) period of time as users seek to manage connectivity across work and non-work spaces. Disconnecting from work is no longer possible, nor desirable, for many users, who exercise choice (agency), switching between work and non-work interactions to regulate the connective flow across multiple connective media.

 Session IV  

Ballantyne, D., & Nilsson, E. (2017). All that is Solid Melts into Air: The Servicescape in Digital Service Space. Journal of Services Marketing, 31(3), 226-235


Ailawadi, K. L., & Farris, P. W. (2017). Managing Mulit-And-Omni-Channel Distribution: Metrics and Research Directions. Journal of Retailing, 93(1), 120-135


The increase in the variety of channel formats, and the progression from single, to multi-, then to omni-channel marketing has made shopping and buying more convenient for consumers, but trickier to manage for marketers—both upstream suppliers and downstream retailers. The first step in managing multi- and omni-channel distribution is to find the specific metrics that will facilitate reliable analysis of the relationship between distribution and marketing objectives. That is our primary goal in this article—to present the metrics, both old and new, that marketers, both suppliers and retailers, need to monitor, and that academic researchers, both theoretical and empirical, should incorporate in their models. We present a basic framework for managing distribution, and summarize the metrics that are relevant to each element of the framework. Then, we lay out what we believe are important questions that multi- and omni-channel marketers are grappling with, refer the reader to what existing academic research has to say about them, and suggest how future research can build off our framework and metrics to supplement what is known and address what is not.

 Session V  

Zuboff, S. (2015). Big Other: Surveillance Capitalism and the Prospect of an Information Civilization. Journal of Information Technology, 30(1), 75-89


This article describes an emergent logic of accumulation in the networked sphere, ‘surveillance capitalism,’ and considers its implications for ‘information civilization.’ The institutionalizing practices and operational assumptions of Google Inc. are the primary lens for this analysis as they are rendered in two recent articles authored by Google Chief Economist Hal Varian. Varian asserts four uses that follow from computer-mediated transactions: data extraction and analysis,’ ‘new contractual forms due to better monitoring,’ ‘personalization and customization, ’ and continuous experiments. ’ An examination of the nature and consequences of these uses sheds light on the implicit logic of surveillance capitalism and the global architecture of computer mediation upon which it depends. This architecture produces a distributed and largely uncontested new expression of power that I christen: Big Other. ’ It is constituted by unexpected and often illegible mechanisms of extraction, commodification, and control that effectively exile persons from their own behavior while producing new markets of behavioral prediction and modification. Surveillance capitalism challenges democratic norms and departs in key ways from the centuries-long evolution of market capitalism.

Newell, S., & Marabelli, M. (2015). Strategic Opportunities (and Challenges) of Algorithmic Decision-Making: A Call for Action on the Long-Term Societal Effects of 'Datafication'. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 24(1), 3-14


Today, digital data are captured through a variety of devices that have the ability to monitor the minutiae of an individual’s everyday life. These data are often processed by algorithms, which support (or drive) decisions (termed ‘algorithmic decision-making’ in this article). While the strategic value of these data (and subsequent analysis) for businesses is unquestionable, the implications for individuals and wider society are less clear. Therefore, in this Viewpoint article we aim to shed light on the tension between businesses – that increasingly profile customers and personalize products and services – and individuals, who, as McAfee and Brynjolfsson (2012, p. 5) suggest, are ‘walking data generators’ but are often unaware of how the data they produce are being used, and by whom and with what consequences. Issues associated with privacy, control and dependence arise, suggesting that social and ethical concerns related to the way business is strategically exploiting digitized technologies that increasingly support our everyday activities should be brought to the fore and thoughtfully discussed. In this article we aim to lay a foundation for this discussion in the IS community and beyond.

 Session VI   

Hug, T. (2013). On the Medialization of Knowledge in the Digital Age. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 3(11), 22-35


It is widely accepted that media play an increasingly significant role in regard to processes of generating, transferring and passing on knowledge. The range of modes and ways by which the topic can be addressed is extremely broad: Knowledge is edited and secured in ontologies; knowledge media are developed and tested; knowledge workers provide contributions to the design of knowledge spaces; furthermore, knowledge is socially redistributed, reflected with a knowledge-political intention.
Beginning with a short reply to selected modelings of the digital turn, this paper compares and contrasts some current discourses on knowledge. It raises the question to which extent, for example, talking about knowledge media can be seen as part of the problem or part of the solution. Moreover, it discusses in what way the common metaphorical modes of expression are useful or misleading, and how concepts of medialization can be successfully applied to the development of knowledge.

Grassmuck, V. (2012). The Sharing Turn: Why we are generally nice and have a good chance to cooperate our way out of the mess we have gotten ourselves into. In W. Sützl et al. (eds.), Media, Knowledge and Education: Cultures and Ethics of Sharing (pp. 17-34). Innsbruck: iup.


After a period of neoliberal blind faith in the power of economic self-interest and of austerity to tackle its catastrophic effects, we are re-discovering our more pleasant sides. There is currently a surge of interest in sharing – in research in various developmental sciences, in popular debate and most of all in practice. This paper proposes that our society is undergoing a Sharing Turn that has its roots in human nature and in cultural history, is media-technologically enabled by networked computers and is fueled by the rising anger over societal systems that fail to serve the public in- terest. It attempts to set out some of the roots, diverse manifestations and dynamics of this paradigmatic shift, and it expresses hope that the ‘trending’ values of sharing and cooperating will change the world for the better.

 Session VII  

Scott, S. V., & Orlikowski, W. J. (2012). Reconfiguring Relations of Accountability: Materialization of Social Media in the Travel Sector. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 37(1), 26-40


Expanding use of Web 2.0 technologies has generated complex information dynamics that are propelling organizations in unexpected directions, redrawing boundaries and shifting relationships. Using research on user-generated content, we examine online rating and ranking mechanisms and analyze how their performance reconfigures relations of account- ability. Our specific interest is in the use of so-called ‘‘social media’’ such as TripAdvisor, where participant reviews are used to rank the popularity of services provided by the travel sector. Although ranking mechanisms are not new, they become ‘‘power-charged’’—to use Donna Haraway’s term—when enacted through Web 2.0 technologies. As such, they per- form a substantial redistribution of accountability. We draw on data from an on-going field study of small businesses in a remote geographical area for whom TripAdvisor has changed ‘the rules of the game,’ and we explore the moral and strategic implication of this transformation.

Kornberger, M., Pflueger, D., & Mouritsen, J. (2017). Evaluative Infrastructures: Accounting for Platform Organization. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 60, 79-95


Platform organizations such as Uber, eBay and Airbnb represent a growing disruptive phenomenon in contemporary capitalism, transforming economic organization, the nature of work, and the distribution of wealth. This paper investigates the accounting practices that underpin this new form of organizing, and in doing so confronts a significant challenge within the accounting literature: the need to escape what Hopwood (1996) describes as its “hierarchical consciousness”. In order to do so, this paper develops the concept of evaluative infrastructure which describes accounting practices that enable platform based organization. They are evaluative because they deploy a plethora of interacting devices, including rankings, ratings, reviews, and audits to establish orders of worth. They are infrastructures because they provide the invisible yet essential mechanisms for the flow of economic activity and exchange on platforms. Illustrating the concept of evaluative infrastructure with the example of eBay, the paper's contribution is to (1) provide an analytical vocabulary to capture the accounting practices underpinning platforms as new organizational forms, and in so doing (2) extend accounting scholars' analytical focus from hierarchical settings towards heterarchies. Conceptually, this shift from management accounting to evaluative infrastructures entails a focus on relationality (evaluative infrastructures do not represent or reference but relate things, people and ideas with each other); generativity (evaluative infrastructures do not territorialize objects but disclose new worlds); and new forms of control (evaluative infrastructures are not centres of calculation; rather, control is radically distributed, whilst power remains centralized).

 Session VIII  

Hoffman, D. L., & Novak, T. P. (2017). Consumer and Object Experience in the Internet of Things: An Assemblage Theory Approach. Journal of Consumer Research, 44(6), 1178-1204


The consumer Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to revolutionize consumer experience. Because consumers can actively interact with smart objects, the traditional, human-centric conceptualization of consumer experience as consumers’ internal subjective responses to branded objects may not be sufficient to conceptualize consumer experience in the IoT. Smart objects possess their own unique capacities and their own kinds of experiences in interaction with the consumer and each other. A conceptual framework based on assemblage theory and object-oriented ontology details how consumer experience and object experience emerge in the IoT. This conceptualization is anchored in the context of consumer-object assemblages, and defines consumer experience by its emergent properties, capacities, and agentic and communal roles expressed in interaction. Four specific consumer experience assemblages emerge: enabling experiences, comprising agentic self-extension and communal self-expansion, and constraining experiences, comprising agentic self-restriction and communal self-reduction. A parallel conceptualization of the construct of object experience argues that it can be accessed by consumers through object-oriented anthropomorphism, a nonhuman-centric approach to evaluating the expressive roles objects play in interaction. Directions for future research are derived, and consumer researchers are invited to join a dialogue about the important themes underlying our framework.

Klostermann, J., Plumeyer, A., Böger, D., & Decker, R. (2018). Extracting Brand Information from Social Networks: Integrating Image, Text, and Social Tagging Data. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 35(4), 538-556


Images are an essential feature of many social networking services, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Through brand-related images, consumers communicate about brands with each other and link the brand with rich contextual and consumption experiences. However, previous articles in marketing research have concentrated on deriving brand information from textual user-generated content and have largely not considered brand-related images. The analysis of brand-related images yields at least two challenges. First, the content displayed in images is heterogeneous, and second, images rarely show what users think and feel in or about the situations displayed. To meet these challenges, this article presents a two-step approach that involves collecting, labeling, clustering, aggregating, mapping, and analyzing brand-related user-generated content. The collected data are brand-related images, caption texts, and social tags posted on Instagram. Clustering images labeled via Google Cloud Vision API enabled to identify heterogeneous contents (e.g. products) and contexts (e.g. situations) that consumers create content about. Aggregating and mapping the textual information for the resulting image clusters in the form of associative networks empowers marketers to derive meaningful insights by inferring what consumers think and feel about their brand regarding different contents and contexts.

 Session IX  

Eckhardt, G. M., & Bardhi, F. (2015). The Sharing Economy isn't about Sharing at all. Harvard Business Review, 28(01).


The sharing economy has been widely hailed as a major growth sector, by sources ranging from Fortune magazine to President Obama. It has disrupted mature industries, such as hotels and automotives, by providing consumers with convenient and cost efficient access to resources without the financial, emotional, or social burdens of ownership. But the sharing economy isn’t really a “sharing” economy at all; it’s an access economy.

Trenz, M., Frey, A., & Veit, D. (2018). Disentangling the Facets of Sharing: A Categorization of What we Know and don't Know about Sharing Economy. Internet Research, 28(4), 888-925


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to develop a categorization of sharing practices from a structured interdisciplinary literature review on the Sharing Economy. Instead of striving for a new definition, the authors distinguish nine types of sharing practices and provide an overview of prior investigations on sharing practices across three levels of analysis and 15 research areas. The structured analysis is translated into opportunities for future research on the Sharing Economy.

Design/methodology/approach: The study follows a structured literature review approach to uncover practices related to the Sharing Economy and similar phenomena. The authors analyze 210 articles from a broad number of disciplines, and develop a categorizing framework for Sharing Economy practices.

Findings: The paper identifies nine different types of sharing practices and provides a structured way for analyzing, comparing and positioning research on the Sharing Economy and related phenomena.

Research limitations/implications: The categorization of sharing practices and the embedded interdisciplinary overview of studies on the Sharing Economy help to explain potentially contradictory research results and uncovers opportunities for future research in the topic area.

Originality/value: Given the variety of disciplines dealing with the Sharing Economy and the plenitude of definitions and related concepts, the categorization and research overview provides a consolidated view of the knowledge in the topic area and an effective tool for identifying paths for future research.

 Session X  

McIntyre, D. P., & Srinivasan, A. (2017). Networks, Platforms, and Strategy: Emerging Views and Next Steps. Strategic Management Journal, 38(1), 141-160


Research summary: A substantial and burgeoning body of research has described the influence of platform-mediated networks in a wide variety of settings, whereby users and complementors desire compatibility on a common platform. In this review, we outline extant views of these dynamics from the industrial organization (IO) economics, technology management, and strategic management perspectives. Using this review as a foundation, we propose a future research agenda in this domain that focuses the on the relative influence of network effects and platform quality in competitive outcomes, drivers of indirect network effects, the nature and attributes of complementors, and leveraging complementor dynamics for competitive advantage.
Managerial summary: In many industries, such as social networks and video games, consumers place greater value on products with a large network of other users and a large variety of complementary products. Such “network effects” offer lucrative opportunities for firms that can leverage these dynamics to create dominant technology platforms. This article reviews current perspectives on network effects and the emergence of platforms, and offers several areas of future consideration for optimal strategies in these settings

Van Alstyne, M. W., Parker, G. G., & Choudary, S. P. (2016). Pipelines, Platforms, and the New Rules of Strategy. Harvard Business Review, 94(4), 54-62

Van Alstyne

Back in 2007 the five major mobile-phone manufacturers—Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, and LG—collectively controlled 90% of the industry’s global profits. That year, Apple’s iPhone burst onto the scene and began gobbling up market share.

By 2015 the iPhone singlehandedly generated 92% of global profits, while all but one of the former incumbents made no profit at all.

How can we explain the iPhone’s rapid domination of its industry? And how can we explain its competitors’ free fall? Nokia and the others had classic strategic advantages that should have protected them: strong product differentiation, trusted brands, leading operating systems, excellent logistics, protective regulation, huge R&D budgets, and massive scale. For the most part, those firms looked stable, profitable, and well entrenched.

 Session XI  

Allcott, H., & Gentzkow, M. (2017). Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 31(2), 211-236


Following the 2016 US presidential election, many have expressed concern about the effects of false stories ("fake news"), circulated largely through social media. We discuss the economics of fake news and present new data on its consumption prior to the election. Drawing on web browsing data, archives of fact-checking websites, and results from a new online survey, we find: 1) social media was an important but not dominant source of election news, with 14 percent of Americans calling social media their "most important" source; 2) of the known false news stories that appeared in the three months before the election, those favoring Trump were shared a total of 30 million times on Facebook, while those favoring Clinton were shared 8 million times; 3) the average American adult saw on the order of one or perhaps several fake news stories in the months around the election, with just over half of those who recalled seeing them believing them; and 4) people are much more likely to believe stories that favor their preferred candidate, especially if they have ideologically segregated social media networks.

Mebane Jr., W. R., Pineda, A., Woods, L., Klaver, J., Wu, P., & Miller, B. (2017, August). Using Twitter to Observe Election Incidents in the United States. Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco.


Individuals’ observations about election administration can be valuable to improve election performance, to help assess how well election forensics methods work, to address interesting behavioral questions and possibly to help establish the legitimacy of an election. In the United States such observations cannot be gathered through official channels. We use Twitter to extract observations of election incidents by individuals all across the United States throughout the 2016 election, including primaries, caucuses and the general election. To classify Tweets for relevance and by type of election incident, we use automated machine classification methods in an active learning framework. We demonstrate that for primary election day in one state (California), the distribution of types of incidents revealed by data developed from Twitter roughly matches the distribution of complaints called in to a hotline run on that day by the state. For the general election we develop hundreds of thousands of incident observations that occur at varying rates in different states, that vary over time and by type and that depend on state election and demographic conditions. Thousands of observations concern long lines, but even more celebrate successful performance of the election process—testimonies that ”I voted!” proliferate.

 Session XII  

Gasevic, D., Dawson, S., & Siemens, G. (2015). Let's not forget: Learning Analytics are about Learning. Tech Trends, 59(1), 64-71.


The analysis of data collected from the interaction of users with educational and information technology has attracted much attention as a promising approach for advancing our understanding of the learning process. This promise motivated the emergence of the new research field, learning analytics, and its closely related discipline, educational data mining. This paper first introduces the field of learning analytics and outlines the lessons learned from well-known case studies in the research literature. The paper then identifies the critical topics that require immediate research attention for learning analytics to make a sustainable impact on the research and practice of learning and teaching. The paper concludes by discussing a growing set of issues that if unaddressed, could impede the future maturation of the field. The paper stresses that learning analytics are about learning. As such, the computational aspects of learning analytics must be well integrated within the existing educational research.

Pardo, A, & Siemens, G. (2014). Ethical and Privacy Principles for Learning Analytics. British Journal of Educational Technology, 45(3), 438-450. 


The massive adoption of technology in learning processes comes with an equally large capacity to track learners. Learning analytics aims at using the collected information to understand and improve the quality of a learning experience. The privacy and ethical issues that emerge in this context are tightly interconnected with other aspects such as trust, accountability and transparency. In this paper, a set of principles is identified to narrow the scope of the discussion and point to pragmatic approaches to help design and research learning experiences where important ethical and privacy issues are considered.


Summarizing discussion and outlook


Syllabus 2019


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