In the book “Representation of oneself in everyday life,” Erving Goffman explains why marketing departments exist. It is a necessary division of labour: professionals in the product development department can focus on what they are good at (e.g., designing functional products), while the marketing department focuses on how to sell these products (e.g., by crafting a compelling story speaking to consumers desires in a given context). So much happened in the last few months that I wish I had a marketing department too. Here are a few highlights.
Successfully raised funds for research network on digital strategizing
Together with Maximilian Heimstädt, Georg Reischauer, and Violetta Splitter, I successfully applied for a research network on digital strategizing at the German Research Foundation (DFG). (Full title: Digitalisierung der Strategiearbeit: Ein praxistheoretischer Ansatz (DE); Strategizing in a digital economy: A strategy-as-practice approach (EN)). We had a very successfully kick-off event at this year’s Academy of Management Meeting (AOM) in Boston. For an update of our activities and slides of the AOM session, check out our group on researchgate.
Serving as Co-Host of the Leuphana Opening Week
Each year the Leuphana University welcomes the new students with an opening week. Together with my colleagues Daniel Lang and Paula Bialski, I am serving as a co-host for the opening week. The program for the opening week is online; my personal highlight is a video keynote of one of my mentors – Don Tapscott.
Making progress on platform research
With my colleague Robert M Bauer, I am continuing our theoretical work on crowd-based organizing, for a empirical piece Bob Hinings joined us too. Robert presented the progress of our work at the DigiEra in Switzerland and we both presented the theoretical piece (Robert) and the empirical piece (Thomas) at the EGOS Conference in Edinburgh.
A continuing theme of my research on crowdsourcing and platforms is to understand the relationship between platforms and their crowdworkers. Together with Elke Schüßler and Markus Ellmer, I wrote a piece for the AOM Meeting. The piece made it into best-paper proceedings (approximately best 10 % of submission of the Academy get published there as a abridged version) and the HR division nominated us for the Carolyn Dexter Award (we did not get it, but being considered is a great honor; see p. 44 of the AOM program). In this paper, we paper we blend perspectives stemming from human relations, industrial relations, and organization theory to understand how digital platforms manage their crowdworkers. Mainly, we focus on to what extent the platforms enable workers to speak up.
In this area of research, I also contribute to practice. I gave talks relating to this work at the “Personal Dialog München” in May 2019, at a workshop of the IG Metall together with german digital work platforms in June and at the workshop of the DGB (the umbrella organization of the German labour unions) in September. For the Hans-Böckler-Stiftung we (Markus Ellmer, Benjamin Herr, Dominik Klaus and I) we also wrote a working paper synthesizing key insights from the crowdworking literature.