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Organizations decentered: data objects, technology and knowledge

Cristina Alaimo and Jannis Kallinikos

LSE Research Online Documents on Economics from London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library

Abstract: Data are no longer simply a component of administrative and managerial work but a pervasive resource and medium through which organizations come to know and act upon the contingencies they confront. We theorize how the ongoing technological developments reinforce the traditional functions of data as instruments of management and control but also reframe and extend their role. By rendering data as technical entities, digital technologies transform the process of knowing and the knowledge functions data fulfil in socioeconomic life. These functions are most of the times mediated by putting together disperse and steadily updatable data in more stable entities we refer to as data objects. Users, customers, products, and physical machines rendered as data objects become the technical and cognitive means through which organizational knowledge, patterns, and practices develop. Such conditions loosen the dependence of data from domain knowledge, reorder the relative significance of internal versus external references in organizations, and contribute to a paradigmatic contemporary development that we identify with the decentering of organizations of which digital platforms are an important specimen.

Keywords: digital technology; organizational form; organizational processes; digital transformation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J01 R14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 19 pages
Date: 2022-01-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cse and nep-knm
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Published in Organization Science, 1, January, 2022, 33(1), pp. 19 - 37. ISSN: 1047-7039

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