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2018/2019  KAN-CSOLO3000U  Organizing Technologies

English Title
Organizing Technologies

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course Autumn, Second Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Peter Skærbæk - Department of Accounting (AA)
Main academic disciplines
  • Organization
  • Accounting
  • Strategy
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 21-06-2018

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • Account for different conceptual understandings of markets and technologies produced in recent social science, and relate these to each other
  • Account for the performative effects of economics and accounting technologies
  • Analyze empirical examples of markets and technologies as organized achievements
  • Critically reflect on the implications of theories of organizing markets and technologies for managing organizations
  • Critically reflect on the role of markets as organized to solve social or environmental problems
Course prerequisites
The course must be taken together with Organizing Markets, as they have a common exam.
Organizing Markets in Conjunction with Organizing Technologies:
Exam ECTS 15
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 Individual oral exam based on written group product
Number of people in the group 4-5
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
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
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
If a student does not pass the regular exam, the examiner of the ordinary exam decides whether a new, revised or the same project must be handed in by the submission date for the re-exam.

If a student is absent from the oral exam due to documented illness but has handed in the written group product she/he does not have to submit a new product for the re-take. However the group product must be uploaded once again on Digital Exam.

If a whole group fails the oral exam, they must hand in a revised product for the re-exam.
Course content and structure

Accounting technologies and technologies in a broader sense, play a crucial role in organizations and making markets. Rather than being neutral tools to solve problems (or instruments to steer processes), they can be considered transformative of organizational realities. To provide an understanding of the constitutive role of technology in organizing, this course introduces the material and practice turn in social science and organization and accounting studies. The aim of the course is to support students in identifying and analyzing how various (accounting) technologies are part of Strategy-making, Organizational practices, and Leadership/management, and to use these insights in relation to understand how they become part of practices in organizations. In a more popular sense the aim is to learn about how accounting technologies (inscriptions and devices) become part of strategy making or other organizational transformations, to show and discuss specific practices and to learn how practitioners calculate when changing organizations.
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 controllable, transparent and accountable, such as user satisfaction surveys, cost calculations, evaluations, risk management, etc.


The course covers four dimensions:


  1. The material turn in organization and accounting studies is introduced, as a background for understanding the relationships between:
  2. Accounting technologies and Strategy (The role of accounting to strategy and the like)
  3. The role of technology in organizational transformations and developments (for instance, the role of calculations in outsourcing processes)
  4. Technology and Leadership/management (how technologies are used to underpin leadership and management).

The first part of the course introduces various perspectives on technologies and organizing – the so called material and practice turn, and establishes a broad understanding of ‘technology’. We critically examine the claim that technology tends to be left out of the picture when managers discuss strategy, organizational processes and leadership/management in organizations. We then reflect on how we may use insights from the material and practice turn in social science to broaden the view of strategy, organization and leadership. In particular, the notion of performativity – i.e. how economic theories participate in performing organizational practices - will allow us to open up otherwise naturalized technologies and reflect upon how they play a part in the constitution of organizational and market 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 Markets

Both Organizing Markets (OM) and Organizing Technologies (OT) discuss recent social scientific developments that challenge how organization and markets are usually understood and analyzed. Drawing extensively on Actor-network Theory, OT discusses and analyses the role of management technologies (such as accounting, budget, marketing, and strategy tools) in shaping and transforming the practice of contemporary organization. OM uses recent developments in economic sociology and science and technology studies that challenge the traditional dichotomy between markets and organization. It presents work that analyzes, in different forms, how markets are organized.

Description of the teaching methods
Dialogue-based lectures and case discussions. A workshop will be held with Organizing Processes.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feed-back will be given to the groups during the workshop and during office hours.
Student workload
Lectures 33 hours
Readings and preparation for the exam 173 hours
Expected literature

Callon, M. (1998). The Laws of the market. Blackwell Publishers.
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
Chapman, C., Chua, W.F and Mahama, H. (2015). Actor-Network-Theory and strategy as practice. In D. Golsorkhi, L. Rouleau, D. Seidl and E. Vaara (Eds., Cambridge Handbook of Strategy as Practice, (pp. 267-282). 2nd Edition.

Hayne, C. and Free, C. (2014). Hybridized professional groups and institutional work: COSO and the rise of enterprise risk management, Accounting, Organizations and Society, 39, 309-330.
Tryggestad, K.( 2005).Technological strategy as macro-actor: How humanness might be made of steel. In B. Czarniawska and T. Hernes. Actor-Network-Theory and Organizing, , Liber and Copenhagen Business School Press.

Power, M. (1996). Making things auditable. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 21(2/3), 289-315
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
Christensen, M., Skærbæk, P. and Tryggestad, K. (2017). On the stronger and weaker roles of accounting in military (out-) sourcing: Programs on trial, Working Paper .

Christensen, M. and Skærbæk, P. (2010). Consultancy outputs and the purification of accounting technologies. Accounting, Organization and Society, 35, pp. 524-545.

Last updated on 21-06-2018