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2013/2014  KAN-SOL_OS51  Organizing technologies

English Title
Organizing technologies

Course information

Language English
Exam ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Course period Second Quarter
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Ursula Plesner - Department of Organization (IOA)
Course responsible: Ursula Plesner (up.ioa@cbs.dk)
Course secretary: Mette Ellekrog (mbe.ioa@cbs.dk)
Main academic disciplines
  • Organization
Last updated on 05-08-2013
Learning objectives
At the exam, students should be able to:
  • Critically reflect on implications of the theories of organizing processes and technologies for managing in organizations
  • Demonstrate thorough understanding of theories of sensemaking and framing, and how they relate to each other
  • Account for how the theories in the course may be used to understand the dynamics of organizing processes
  • Account for various perspectives on technology and organizing
  • Identify and analyze how different types of technologies are constitutive elements of Strategy-making, Organizational practices, and Leadership/management
Course prerequisites
The course must be taken together with Organizing Processes, as they have a common exam.
Organizing Technologies in conjunction with Organizing Processes:
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Group exam, max. 5 students in the group
The oral exam is individual and based on a group project.
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
10 pages for a single student.
Assignment type Project
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Preparation time No preparation
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and external examiner
Exam period December/January
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
If a student is ill during the oral exam, he/she will be able to re-use the project at the make-up exam. If the student was ill during the writing of the project and did not contribute to the project, the make-up/re-exam project can be written individually or in groups (provided the other students are taking the make-up/re-exam). If the student did not pass the regular exam, the examiner decides whether a new or revised project, must be handed in to a new deadline specified by the line secretariat. Reexam takes place in Feb/March
Course content and structure
Technologies play a crucial role in organizations and organizing processes. Rather than being neutral tools to solve problems ((or instruments to steer processes)), they can be considered constitutive of organizational realities. To provide an understanding of the constitutive role of technology in organizing, this course introduces the material turn in social science and organization studies. The aim of the course is to support students in identifying and analyzing how various technologies are part of Strategy-making, Organizational practices, and Leadership/management, and to use these insights in relation to specific cases.
The course offers a very broad conception of technology. It places emphasis on technologies for managing economic aspects and the quantification of organizational life, for instance the tools that organizations use to make themselves transparent and accountable, such as user satisfaction surveys, evaluations, etc. However, the definition of technology is extended to include physical arrangements, including architecture and the use of material artefacts, and the course addresses for instance the role of physical set-ups in the creation of markets. Finally, the discussion of technologies covers Information and Communication Technologies that impact coordination or the management of collaboration.
The course covers four dimensions:
  1. The material turn in organization studies is introduced, as a background for understanding the relationships between:
  2. Technology and Strategy
  3. Technology and Organizational practices
  4. Technology and Leadership/management
The first part of the course introduces various perspectives on technologies and organizing, and establishes a broad understanding of ‘technology’. We examine the claim that technology tends to be left out of the picture when we discuss strategy, organizational processes and leadership/management in organizations. We then reflect on how we may use insights from the material turn in social science to broaden the view of strategy, organization and leadership. In particular, the notion of performativity will allow us to open up otherwise naturalized technologies and reflect upon how they play a part in the constitution of organizational realities.
The rest of the course is divided into three sections, each discussing how strategy, organizational processes and leadership/management are closely intertwined with various technologies. Each session explores a particular type of technology, to provide empirically rich examples of how otherwise unobtrusive elements of organizations and businesses play a decisive role for their constitution and conduct. The cases also serve to illustrate how development and implementation processes may benefit from an understanding of the organizing role of technologies.

Overlap with the course Organizing Processes

Both Organizing Processes (OP) and Organizing Technologies (OT) focus on the role of various of technologies in maintaining and transforming organizations. OT concentrates on the role of technologies, and draws extensively on Actor-network Theory. OP includes technologies in a narrower sense, by focusing on material framing of organizing processes. The theories used in OP are analytically consistent with those used at OT. The OP and OT courses are integrated in a shared workshop
Teaching methods
Dialogue-based lectures and case discussions. A workshop will be held with Organizing Processes.
Expected literature
Bloomfield, B. (1995). Power, Machines and Social Relations: Delegating to Information Technology in the National Health Service. Organization, 2(3-4), 489-518.
Boll, K. (forthcoming). Representing and Performing Businesses: A Segmentation Model in Action. Journal of Cultural Economy, accepted for publication
Callon, M. (2008). Economic Markets and the Rise of Interactive Agencement. In T. Pinch & R. Swedberg (Eds.), Living in a Material World: Economic Sociology Meets Science and Technology Studies (pp. 29-56). Cambridge: MIT press.
Callon, Michel (1986). Some elements of a sociology of translation: domestication of the scallops and the fishermen of St Brieuc Bay in J. Law, Power, action and belief: a new sociology of knowledge? Routledge, London, pp. 196-223
Chua, W.F (2007) Accounting, measuring, reporting and strategizing – Re-using verbs: A review essay. Accounting, Organizations and Society 32, 487-494
Dale, K. (2005) Building a Social Materiality: Spatial and Embodied Politics in Organizational Control, Organization 12(5), 649-678
Frandsen, A.-C. (2009). From psoriasis to a number and back. Information and Organization, 19(2), 103-128.
Orlikowski, W.J. (2007). Sociomaterial Practices: Exploring Technology at Work. In Organization Studies 28(9), 1435-1448
Power, M. (1996) Making things auditable. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 21(2/3), 289-315
Raviola & Norbäck (forthcoming): Bringing technology and meaning into institutional work: Making news at an Italian business newspaper in Organization Studies
Skærbæk & Tryggestad (2010): The role of accounting devices in performing corporate strategy. In Accounting, Organizations and Society 35, 108-124
Skærbæk, P. & S. Thorbjørnsen (2007). The commodification of the Danish Defence Forces and the troubled identities of its officers. Financial Accountability & Management, 23(3), 0267-4424
Skærbæk, Peter (2005) Annual reports as interaction devices: the hidden constructions of mediated communication. In Financial Accountability & Management 21(4), (pp.385-411)
Last updated on 05-08-2013