Announcements | 03.18.19

(Closed) Call for Participation—Algorithms on the Shop Floor: Data-Driven Technologies in Organizational Context


Deadline for applications: April 19, 2019
For questions, email [email protected]

The call for participation is now closed. 

On June 14, 2019, Data & Society will host a workshop in NYC on the intersection of technology and organizational theory and practice. The purpose of the Data & Society Workshop series is to enable deep dives with a broad community of interdisciplinary researchers into topics at the core of Data & Society’s concerns.

The structure of the Data & Society Workshop series is designed to maximize scholarly thinking about the evolving and societally important issues surrounding data-driven technologies. Participants will be asked to read three full papers in advance of the event and prepare comments for intensive discussion. Some participants will be asked to be discussants of papers, where they will lead the conversation and engage the room. Authors will not present their work, but rather participate in critical discussion with the assembled group about the paper, with explicit intent of making the work stronger and more interdisciplinary.

Participation in this event is limited. Those who are interested in participating should apply by April 19, 2019.

Quick links

Data-driven Technologies in Organizational Context

There is an increasing need to understand how automated, algorithmic, AI, or otherwise data-driven technologies are being integrated into organizational contexts and processes. This workshop aims to convene researchers who study how new technologies are introduced, incorporated, resisted or maintained within organized groups, and the changes this integration brings. Such changes might include processes (workflows, tasks, “re-skilling,” “changed” skills, augmentation) or in structures (roles, jurisdictions, authority), or other key sociological issues (such as power, culture, diversity, expertise, risk, rationality, legitimacy, and solidarity). In a world where new technologies are being integrated into organizations of all sizes and types, how can we make sense of what gets lost, what gets gained, and what gets changed? Many of these questions are long standing themes in organizational studies and ethnographies examining the social complexities of working on the machine shop floor, to which the title of our workshop alludes. Still, how do such integrations provoke new shifts in power relations and social values?

The range of field sites and research questions appropriate for this event is wide. The only requirements for participation are that: 1) you must be a researcher (with or without an academic affiliation); 2) your research questions must address a dimension of socio-technical practice in the context of a formalized organization.

Relevant topics for this workshop might include:

  • How do formations of power, hierarchy, and discretionary decision-making change when automated and AI technologies are introduced?
  • How are issues of diversity and equity brought into and reconstituted when new technologies are introduced?
  • How does the integration of new technologies into organizations intersect with issues of access, inclusion, and disability?
  • What are sites of unintended use, resistance, or deviance with respect to technology in organizations?
  • How are new forms of expertise, skill, and training emerging to meet demands of using new technologies in the workplace?
  • How are new or existing labor organizations confronting the perceived threat of AI?
  • What are organizational formations or organizational processes that build on digital technologies to advance equity and social justice?
  • What lessons does the history of organizational theory and practice hold for contemporary dynamics?
  • How are bureaucratic forms of control (such as auditing or impact policy) integrated into the development of technology?

These examples are by no means exhaustive, but intended to provide a flavor of the kind of relevant research questions. We are especially interested in strange outliers and unexpected studies.

Participant Requirements

All participants are required to read three papers in advance of the event and come ready to offer constructively critical feedback. We want researchers to constructively spar with and challenge one another to strengthen ourselves across the board. This is not an event for passive attendance, but an opportunity to engage each other substantively.

This event is first and foremost an opportunity to collectively think and help construct a field. Although this event is designed to bring together 30-40 researchers, only 12 papers will be workshopped. Yet, everyone who attends is expected to be an active participant and contribute to rich conversations. We believe that it is through active engagement with other scholars around research that new insights can emerge. In other words, this event is designed to be the kind of intense intellectual engagement that made you fall in love with being a researcher in the first place.

Format

The day will be organized into three time slots, each 75 minutes long. One paper will be workshopped in each session. Multiple sessions will run in parallel so there will be a total of ~12 papers, but each participant will only be responsible for reading and engaging with 3. Within each group, a discussant will open with a critique of the paper before inviting participants to share their feedback. (If you participate in this event, you may be asked to be a discussant on one paper.) All are expected to share feedback, with author response towards the end of the session.

Logistics

The event will take place on June 14, 2019, and will run from 8:45am to 6pm. Paper sessions will run until 4:15pm; afterwards, there will be a reception for all participants.

All meals will be covered during the event. Unfortunately, we have limited funding to support travel for this workshop; however, we’re happy to provide a formal invitation for participation/“speaking” to anyone who may need it to secure their own funding.

Application Process (Deadline: April 19)

For this event, we are looking to bring together researchers from diverse disciplines studying technology in organizations. This can include management, organization studies, communications, information studies, computer-supported cooperative work, computer-human interaction, science and technology studies, ethics, labor, law, policy, anthropology, and design research. As a result, attendees should expect to engage with scholars who are outside of their field of study. We ask that attendees think of the Data & Society Workshop series as an opportunity to engage with a broader cross-disciplinary field, and to strengthen both relationships and research through participation in the workshop.

Because the paper submission date is only a few weeks after the application deadline, you should only apply as an author if you have a paper that you’re actively writing right now and will be ready to share a draft with others by May 28, 2019. If you aren’t already working on this paper, you probably aren’t in a good position to workshop it at this event. Appropriate papers may be a work-in-progress book chapter or a journal article. (Full-length books are a bit too much for this event, so if you’re writing a book, think about the chapter that you most want to get feedback on.)

To apply as an author, please submit the following:

  • Name, affiliation, title, email address, discipline.
  • Big research question you’re seeking to answer with your research.
  • Paper title + 100-250 word abstract.
  • The current half-baked, thick-outline, total mess of the paper.**

** We are asking for the disaster of a paper to understand where you are with the piece now, and the arguments you intend to make, so that we can appropriately match you to a discussant. We won’t share this version with anyone (we promise).

Please note: All co-authors for papers must apply separately. If your co-author doesn’t apply, we will assume that s/he is not interested in attending the workshop. It will be hard to add additional participants later, so make sure your co-authors apply if they want to attend.

To apply as a participant/discussant, please submit the following:

  • Name, affiliation, title, email address, discipline.
  • Big research question you’re seeking to answer with your research.
  • 100-250 word description of your research.

Key Dates

  • Application Deadline: April 19, 2019
  • Selection Decisions: May 1, 2019
  • Full Paper Deadline: May 28, 2019
  • Workshop: June 14, 2019
 

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