Research talk & panel discussion: Reassembling work and organizing in the age of digitalization

28. Nov

The Leuphana Organization Studies (LOST) Research Group is glad to invite for a Research talk & panel discussion with Prof. Timothy R. Kuhn (University of Colorado Boulder) and Prof. Dan Kärreman (Copenhagen Business School) Wednesday, 28.11.2018, 12:15-13:45, room C HS 5.

12.15-12.20: Welcome & opening

12.20-12.45: Presentation no. 1 – Communicative relationality: On the production of ‘value’ in the new (digital) economy (by Timothy R. Kuhn)

The ‘new economy’ frames communication as vital to both the conduct of work and to organizational success (as seen in, for instance, communicative and immaterial labour, knowledge work, branding, networked publics, and algorithmic culture). Organization studies scholars tend to be fascinated by these changes, but often struggle with how to approach them. I offer a response termed ‘communicative relationality,’ a framework that transcends stark and longstanding dichotomies marking social/material and human/nonhuman relations. Employing an illustration drawn from an ethnographic study of an entrepreneurial startup accelerator focused on digital innovation, I extract alternative routes to understanding contemporary forms of working and organizing. Those routes develop unique insights on how the production of ‘value’ in the new economy reproduces enduring socioeconomic inequities, as well as how organizational action moves virally through complex sociomaterial networks.

12.45-13.10: Presentation no. 2 – Coworking spaces and organizationality (by Dan Kärreman; based on joint research with Jana Costas and Blagoy Blagoev)

This research investigates coworking spaces as organizational phenomena. Based on an ethnographic study of betahaus in Berlin, we demonstrate how coworking spaces not only provide a sense of community but also pattern the work activities of their members. We make sense of this finding by drawing on the emergent literature on organizationality. Our contribution is twofold. First, we challenge current understandings of coworking spaces as neutral containers for independent work. Instead, we show how coworking incorporates the disposition of becoming organizational; that is, coworking spaces can frame and organize work and may even provide a basis for collective action. Second, we add to research on organizing outside traditional organizations by drawing attention to the complex and shifting interplay of formal and informal relationships in such settings. In so doing, we inform current debates about new forms of organization and organizing.

13.10-13.45: Joint panel discussion (moderated by Dennis Schoeneborn)

About the presenters/panelists:

  • Timothy R. Kuhn is Professor in the Dept. of Communication at the University of Colorado Boulder (USA). His research addresses the constitution of authority and agency in organizational action, with particular attention to how knowledge, identities, and conceptions of value emerge in sociomaterial, power-laden communication practices. He is a co-coordinator of the Standing Working Group “Organization as Communication” at the European Group of Organizational Studies (EGOS). He is a co-author (with Karen Lee Ashcraft and Francois Cooren) of a recently published book “The Work of Communication: Relational Perspectives on Working and Organizing in Contemporary Capitalism” (Routledge, 2017). His research has been published in Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Annals, Management Communication Quarterly, Organization, and Organization Studies, among others.

  • Dan Kärreman is Professor in Management and Organization Studies at Copenhagen Business School (Denmark) and Professor in Management at Royal Holloway, University of London (UK). He is also affiliated to the Lumos group at Lund University (Sweden). His research interests include critical management studies, knowledge work, identity in organizations, leadership, organizational control and research methodology. He has published his work in Academy of Management Review, Human Relations, Journal of Management Studies, Organization, Organization Science, and Organization Studies, among others. One of his recent books is Qualitative Methodology and Theory Development: Mystery as Method (Sage, 2011; with Mats Alvesson).

If you want to attend the session, please sign up via email to Susanne Weerda ( by Nov. 22 at the latest.

This event is sponsored through a research collaboration with BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, on ”Future ways of working in digital economies“ (funded by the Research Council of Norway), and facilitated by the Centre for Digital Cultures at Leuphana University.   

  • Prof. Dr. Dennis Schoeneborn