IMCA research seminar - Mikkel Flyverbom, Copenhagen Business School: "Overlit: Digital architectures of visibility"

Institute of Marketing and Communication Management

Date: 25.03.2022 / 12:30 - 14:00

Room 251, Main building

Mikkel Flyverbom is professor with special responsibilities in communication and digital transformations at Copenhagen Business School, where he also co-directs the Digital Transformations platform. His work on technology, transparency, governance and the politics of datafication has been published in, for example, Business & SocietyThe Information SocietyOrganization Studies and Big Data & Society, as well as a number of books. His newest book is The Digital Prism: Transparency and Managed Visibilities in a Datafied World (Cambridge University Press). He also serves on the Danish government's Data Ethics Council and writes a tech column for the newspaper Politiken.

For this IMCA seminar, Professor Flyverbom will present his research entitled "Overlit: Digital architectures of visibility" (forthcoming in special section of Organization Theory, along with essays by Michael Power and Shoshana Zuboff).  


Despite the ubiquity of digital technologies, data-driven approaches and algorithms, organization theory so far only engages with these developments in limited ways. A deeper engagement with the organizational ramifications of a digital, datafied world is urgently needed and must start from mappings of the phenomenon and the development of better theoretical vocabularies that can guide future research. Complementing the essays by Zuboff and Power in this exchange, my essay suggests a research agenda based on how digital technologies, data and algorithms impact and shape our lives in and around organizations by making us visible in novel ways. I unpack the technological and operational underpinnings of this phenomenon in two steps. The first is a broad conceptualization of the overall shape of what I term 'digital architectures'. The second is a more granular theorization of how data-driven, algorithmic approaches make the 'management of visibilities' a central concern for humans, organizations and societies, as well as some reflections on possible responses to these developments. Taken together, these discussions highlight how digital ubiquity calls for novel theoretical perspectives and research avenues for organization theory to explore.