Stream F – Managing in the Open
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APROS Colloquium 2013
Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, 15-17 February 2013
Stream F: Managing in the Open
Christian Frankel, Department of Organization, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Martin Kornberger, Department of Organization, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
José Ossandón Escuela de Sociología, Universite Diego Portales, Chile
A century ago Frederick Taylor published his book Scientific Management (1911) in which management was elevated to a field of study worthy of professional and scientific inquiry. Consequently, the figure of the manager has become one of the most significant social inventions of the past century (Drucker, 1954). It remains a figure invested with a lot of faith: managers are called for to solve problems and to exploit opportunities, and when management fails, the solution is usually a call for more management.
Management is thought of as organizational by nature: the manager manages what is part of the organization; correspondingly, what lies outside of organizational boundaries is not manageable. The visible hand of the manager (Chandler, 1977) maintains order inside the organization, whereas outside the invisible hand of market forces prevails, or so the story goes.
The proposed stream invites contributions that critically interrogate this dominant narrative. Increasingly we can observe that organizations seek to manage customers, stakeholders, partners, technologies and other elements constituting their environments. A pervasive example of this development is the increasing reliance of firms on open source innovation, co-creation and peer-production (eg von Hippel, 2005; Benkler, 2002). The theoretically interesting point in this development is that management seeks to manage what is beyond its authority. Understand managing in the open and its (intended and unintended) consequences for organizations and society, the proposed stream seeks to address the following questions:
- How does the figure of the manager – its role in organizations, the practices it engages in, the discourses it uses to make sense of action, the props and scripts that furnish its role etc, change?
- How do managers engage in, shape and are shaped by open networks?
- How do managers manage consumers that act (at least partly) as producers?
- And how can managers be accountable and responsible without having authority?
In order to address these questions we suggest supplementing management and organization theory with economic sociology, the anthropology of markets and related approaches which theorize markets and socio-cultural environments of organizations (eg Swedberg and Smelser, 2005; Zelizer, 2010; Çalışkan and Callon, 2009; 2010). These literatures suggest that organizations are embedded in wider socio-cultural networks. Hence organizations are not solely economic objects. Social, cultural, aesthetic and other values are constantly co-produced alongside economic values. The question of managing in the open is an inquiry of how the manager situated at the interface between economic life, organizational practices, and society, goes about doing her job.
Benkler, Y., 2002, Coase’s Penguin, or, Linux and the Nature of the Firm, The Yale Law Journal 112(3): 369-446
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