News

Thomas Gegenhuber receives teaching award for research project on digital platforms

The Faculty of Business and Economics at Leuphana University aims at offering more courses dedicated to the topic of digitization. Prof. Thomas Gegenhuber contributes to this goal with his teaching. For example, he taught for the second time the research project "How do crowd-based platforms operate? Leveraging organization theory to inquire into platforms' organizing processes" in the Master Business & Development, in which he focuses on digital platforms. For this course, Prof. Thomas Gegenhuber received a teaching award from the Faculty of Business and Economics at Leuphana for the year 2019.

Digital platforms organize the exchange of goods, information and services between a supply and demand side. The key to platform success is to mobilize and organize a critical mass ('crowd'): without a crowd, AirBnb would not be able to provide apartments, Uber could not provide taxis and crowdfunding platforms would not be able to find financing for projects.

If platforms play a central role in a digital economy, it is the teachers’ responsibility to examine this phenomenon in their lectures. The question is how to teach students how platforms are organized. The course concept answers this question by taking advantage of the online availability of digital platform organizations: With just a few clicks, students can immerse themselves in the role of the crowd and explore the organization of platforms.

The starting point of this course is making student familiar with the theoretical foundations of platform organization (e.g. role of algorithms and ratings). The theoretical knowledge is acquired by reading scientific publications, which are summarized in memos, as well as through inputs and discussions in the course. In the next step, students are introduced to the basics of netnography and participatory observation. With the help of a catalogue of questions, which should lead step by step through the observation process of a self-chosen platform, the students start their independent research work. Based on the observations made, the students develop and carry out their own small research project.

Thomas Gegenhuber receives research award from Cambridge Digital Innovation for research on digital innovation

Platform-driven business models take over the world. Nevertheless, looking at the development of platforms more closely, the story becomes more complicated. Despite the forward-looking, technology-embracing rhetoric of platforms convincing the consumers, platforms face resistance from other critical stakeholders. Take Uber: it realizes within the last few years that regulators still matter and are critical to the platform’s success. From an institutional perspective, this is not surprising. Legitimacy matters – from all stakeholders.

These and other themes are discussed in an article that deploys an institutional perspective to examine digital innovation and transformation. Bob Hinings, Thomas Gegenhuber, and Royston Greenwood received a research award at this year’s Research Impact and Contributions to Knowledge (RICK) workshop at Cambridge Digital Innovation (Judge School of Business) for this article.

More work in this area is coming up soon. Together with Danielle Logue, Bob Hinings, and Michael Barrett (see picture, from the right), Thomas Gegenhuber is editing a volume for Research in the Sociology of Organizations on this very topic.

 

Participation WK ORG 2019 Münster

Prof. Thomas Gegenhuber presented his research at this year's workshop of the Organization of the Scientific Commission (WK ORG) in Münster. The research paper, co-authored with Markus Ellmer (University of Salzburg) and Prof. Elke Schüßler (JKU Linz), deals with the question of whether and how crowdsourcing platforms in German-speaking countries use voluntary participation instruments to involve crowdworkers. The conclusion: Participation takes place - but limited to functional areas such as work processes.

 

 

THE GERMAN RESEARCH FOUNDATION (DFG) IS FUNDING A RESEARCH NETWORK ON "STRATEGIZING IN A DIGITAL ECONOMY

 

Digital technologies increasingly affect the process of strategy-making – they impact how actors craft, understand, and execute strategies. Despite the impact of the ‘digital’ on strategy-making, strategy research on this topic is still in its infancy.

The goal of this research network –  organized by Prof. Dr. Thomas Gegenhuber together with Dr. Maximilian Heimstädt, Dr. Georg Reischauer and Dr. Violetta Splitter – is thus to build a community of early scholars interested in the topic of digitalization of strategy-making, to develop a joint research agenda, and to stimulate high-quality research on this topic. This network will draw on a strategy-as-practice perspective on the digitalization of strategy-making because this perspective proves particularly suitable to examine changes in strategy making based on the actual activities of strategy practitioners.

In particular, strategy-as-practice draws attention to three main concepts in the ‘doing’ of strategy: 1) strategy practices, which refer to sets of meaningful routinized activities related to strategy making. In the context of digitalization, new strategy practices emerged, such as strategy blogging or crowdsourcing; 2) strategy practitioners, who are the actors who deploy strategizing activities. Through the rise of new digital technologies, strategy is increasingly open, including lower-level employees or outside stakeholders and, 3) strategy praxis, which refers to the actual activities or performance of strategy practitioners in enacting their practices. Through digitalization, algorithms, for example, might increase the velocity of strategic decision making.  

Further information on the research network can be found on ResearchGate and at the DFG.

 

Prof. Thomas Gegenhuber participates in the social discourse on digital platforms

Platform-based organizations are a dominant organizational form in the 21st century. Increasingly, the public is asking what kind of regulatory framework is needed to tame platforms. "I think it is crucial that university experts contribute to this discussion," says Prof. Thomas Gegenhuber.

 

Correspondingly, Prof. Gegenhuber criticizes the dominant position of Facebook in an interview on 9 February 2019 with Deutschlandfunk: "Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp must not be in one hand". In addition, Prof. Gegenhuber held a lecture on 18 February 2019 at a working group of the Digital Association Bitkom on "Regulatory framework for digital platforms" and on the same day he also made an input at the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and Hans Böckler Foundation regarding his view on "Social Innovation and Digital Platforms".

 

 

Prof. Thomas Gegenhuber receives award for Teaching Excellence

Prof. Thomas Gegenhuber received the teaching award from the faculty of Business and Economics for his module „Digital Transformation“ in the master program „Management & Business Development.“ „I am gra­te­ful to the uni­ver­si­ty to ce­le­bra­te our role as edu­ca­tors. I en­joy teaching and it is fun. I think teaching is also the core domain where we can inspire students and create a space for critical thinking and reflection. Mo­re­o­ver, I be­lie­ve that les­sons lear­ned in teaching can in­form re­se­arch and vice ver­sa“ says Prof. Gegenhuber. 

Digitale Transformation: Chance und Herausforderung für Forschung, Lehre und Praxis - Prof. Dr. Thomas Gegenhuber - Inaugural lecture

At the 28th of November Prof. Thomas Gehenhuber gave his inaugural lecture at the Leuphana Universität Lüneburg. After introductory words by university president Sascha Spoun and Peter Niemeyer, dean of the faculty of Business and Economics, Prof. Thomas Gegenhuber started his lecture with the title "Digital Transformation: chances and challenges for research, teaching and practice". In his lecture Prof. Thomas Gegenhuber - embedded in his personal history - spoke about topics as how plattforms are organized and why this organizational form is central for digital transformation. Thereby Thomas Gegehuber underlines that the managerial and economic examination of digital transformation can positively contribute to societal issues. Specifically illustrated by means of the positive interaction in research, teaching and practice in Prof. Thomas Gegenhuber personal work. The slides of his presentation can be retrieved here and the picture gallary below offers an additional impression of the event.

Prof. Thomas Gegenhuber served as host for Leuphana opening week 2018

How to propel the start of new students into the university? The answer of the Leuphana University Lüneburg: Let´s organize an opening week dedicated to a topic where students gather inspirations from talks of leading thinkers, get experience with a small research project and forge a community with other students across disciplinary boundaries. The topic of this year's opening week was "Digital Futures". This year, the university welcomed 1.500 students. "It was an honor to serve together with my colleagues Paula Bialski and Jan Müggenburg as hosts for this event. The work of the students was remarkable - as were the efforts of Leuphana University to create this unique experience for the students. This is how university life should be like," says Thomas Gegenhuber.

Digital Transformation: Dialogue between science and practitioners

Digital transformation is permeating all areas of society. "Part of our mission as researchers is to regularly share our expertise and engage in dialogue with the public - particularly the rather fast-moving area of digitalization," says Prof. Thomas Gegenhuber. To fulfill this mission, Thomas Gegenhuber gave several talks this year:

At the re:publica conference in Berlin, he presented his work, based on a study funded by the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung, whether and how crowdwork platforms organize participation for their workers. The report was also featured on netzpolitik.org (as guest authors) and in the Böckler Impuls magazine.

Drawing on his research in the area of open government and open innovation, Thomas Gegenhuber gave a talk at the annual meeting of the IT administration of the Government of Lower Saxony. The core message of this talk was that public administrations need to act proactively in times of digital transformation - otherwise they face a legitimacy crisis. "Digital transformation is a challenge, but also a great opportunity for public administrations," says Thomas Gegenhuber.

At the digital capitalism conference of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung of Lower Saxony, Thomas Gegenhuber reflected on digital transformation and new forms of organizing production (e.g., digital platforms) and innovation (e.g., various open innovation management practices). In his view, openness and flexibility are at the heart of these new forms of organizing, without necessarily sacrificing stability and routines critical to any organizing effort.

New at the Leuphana: Prof. Dr. Thomas Gegenhuber

Leuphana University Lüneburg news service reports on Prof. Thomas Gegenhuber’s start of the juniorprofessorship (more). 

Talk on digital transformation at University of Cambridge

The widespread application of digital technologies changes how actors organize, such as how to pursue a strategy, to bring about novel innovations or to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities. The term 'digital transformation' captures this notion of change - something new seeks to insert itself into the existing social fabric. From an institutional perspective, digital transformation can be understood as the combined effects of several digital innovations bringing about novel actors (and actor constellations), structures, practices, values, and beliefs that change, threaten, replace or complement existing rules of the game within organizations and fields. Together with the leading organization scientists Prof. Bob Hinings and Prof. Royston Greenwood from the University of Alberta, Prof. Thomas Gegenhuber published an article on digital transformation in the journal Information & Organization. Continuing the research on this issue, Prof. Bob Hinings and Prof. Thomas Gegenhuber gave a talk at the University of Cambridge at the Center Cambridge Digital Innovation (Judge Business School) in May 2018.

Researching Digital Transformation: Robert M. Bauer and Thomas Gegenhuber present work at Academy of Management Specialized Conference - Big Data and Managing in a Digital Economy.

 

Digital Transformation is an organizational and societal challenge. The Academy of Management, the leading professional association in the field of management, held its first specialized conference on this timely topic at the University of Surrey, UK, bringing together around 500 scholars from various divisions and interest groups (e.g. Organization & Management Theory, Technology & Innovation Management, Strategic Management). All submissions to the conference were subject to a competitive peer-review process. Together with Robert M. Bauer from Johannes Kepler University Linz, Thomas Gegenhuber presented two papers: One conceptual article on crowd-enabled platforms as a new form of organizing („Archetypes of Platform-Hosted Crowds: Towards a General Conceptual Language“) and one empirical piece shedding light on the organizing practices of a digital intermediary („Managing a Ménage á Trois: How Digital Intermediaries Organize a Market for Creative Ideas“).