2012 in Review

WordPress has a nice new feature at the end of the year, it compiles some statistics for your blog. So here you go, orgcom.org in plain numbers. Have a great 2013!

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.


The Role of Objects in CCO: Rennstam on “Object-control”

Materiality is nocell-phone-1t an unfamiliar concept to CCO scholars. In fact, understanding the role of objects, bodies, and spaces is one of the most interesting challenges for CCO theorizing. In his recent article,  Object-Control: A Study of Technologically Dense Knowledge Work published in Organization Studies, Rennstam (2012) advances a theoretical framework to investigate the role of organizational objects in processes of control in knowledge work. His framework articulates the concept of object-control, or how objects participate in organizational processes of control by interpellating organizational members. More specifically, object-control shows how objects 1) establish knowledge relationships, 2) stabilize the formal organization, and 3) rearrange those relationships, enabling elicitation of organizational knowledge. Rennstam documents object- control through an analysis of a technology redesign process, from its inception to its eventual dissolution. The analysis shows how the technology was a site of struggle between different actors who were interpellated by the technology in different ways, how the technology was a stabilizer of formal organizational relationships through reminders of the past (as previous bodies of knowledge were materialized or made present by the technology), and how the technology “acts back” through a material limitation in its design, ultimately prompting the (non-hierarchical) decision to abandon the technology redesign all together.

The concept of object-control makes several contributions to CCO scholarship. First, object-control is a practice-based alternative to normative control; an explanation amenable to organization as an ongoing accomplishment. This alternative shows how objects give rise to temporary knowledge communities, and thus can play a role in the governance of knowledge directly, operating inside the labor process rather than through norms and values shaped by managers at a distance. Second, object-control extends theory about objects in CCO by theorizing knowledge objects as participants in knowing.

To stimulate thought about materiality in CCO, I leave you with a few questions posed by Rennstam: “On behalf of which objects do people speak?” “How do objects of knowledge interpellate various actors to speak on their behalf?” (p. 1086).


Sneak Peek: Network of Communication Episodes at EGOS

Next year’s EGOS is approaching fast with the deadline on January 14, 2013, only a few weeks away. Several tracks are of interest to CCO/OaC scholars. Of course, there is The Communicative Constitution of Organization: Organizations as Precarious Accomplisments hosted by our very own Dennis Schoeneborn, Francois Cooren, and Tim Kuhn. Also hosted by another member of this here circle of scholars, namely, Alex Wright, is Organizing Performativity: Bridging Theory and Practice within and across Organizations.

It’s common courtesy at EGOS to stay with your track throughout the entire conference, which is why you need to choose to participate in just one. Let me give you a sneak peek at what you may be in for if you decide to join Dennis, Francois, and Tim.

 

oanoc

What you see is an organization displayed as a network of communication episodes, much like the one you already saw in our respective paper recently published in Organization Studies. There 439 communication episodes, each one represented by a vertex. 55,754 edges hold these vertices together, each one representing the participation of at least one individual in two linked vertices. Thus, the network of communication episodes provides a quick overview of the themes and topics that (re)produce the organization.

I’ve put in two additional information on the (re)production of themes and topics. First, the size of a vertex indicates the number of individuals who participate in a communication episode (e.g., the number of people who attend a meeting). Second, the color of a vertex indicates the time spell a communication episode takes place; there are 24 time spells on a grayscale ranging from the first spell all black to the last spell all white.

With that information at hand, see how the organization comes full circle from big themes and topics central to many individuals (black vertices at the center of the network) to many, many small communication episodes clustering in the periphery, finding it’s finish with, once more, big themes and topics.

I can zoom into single communication episodes and cluster thereof, making them easily accessible to qualitative interpretation of the conversations among individuals. But that’s about as far as I’ve gotten with my analysis. The general idea is to use the network (and many more quantitative and qualitative information) to illustrate organizational failure. Because it’s in there, just not that obvious right now.

I won’t reveal the organization behind the network, all I’m saying is that many of you are intimately familiar with it. (If you already know the organization I’m talking about because I told you, please don’t reveal it in the comments; all other speculations are welcome.)

Now I only have to convince Dennis, Francois, and Tim to accept my half-finished paper. Four weeks to go.