The PostDoc project on ‘algorithmic management’ confronts contemporary developments in organizational forms precipitated by the ubiquity of computational, networked media. The term ‘algorithmic management’ denotes a field of inquiry dedicated to exploring how algorithms, and in particular software infrastructures, thoroughly transform and affect the way organization takes place today. Where research on algorithms often focuses on phenomena such as high-frequency trading, online search or drone warfare, the ‘grey media’ such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) software at work in organizations receive far less attention. In this project ERP software and similar programs in non-corporate environments are framed and explored as ‘logistical media’, which act as conduits for algorithmic management in supply chains. Developments such as ubiquitous computing and the internet of things, which promise that all things and people will be connected through logistical media, further demonstrate the changing horizons of contemporary organizing.
The inquiry contributes to and seeks to shape the establishment of a transdisciplinary field of study in media and organization. Where organization studies has largely understood networked computers as mere information systems, media studies in turn has discovered the question of organization in relation to computational networks but has largely eschewed an engagement with the more mundane world of the media of organization. The transdisciplinary study of media and organization challenges the boundaries of both disciplines while appropriating their insights. Media theory allows for a focus on processes of mediation and an exploration of the way computational, networked media condition organization, while organization theory provides a critical toolkit for an analysis of the far-reaching social, political and cultural consequences of the new media of organization.