Clicca qui per scaricare

The intricacies of power relations and digital technologies in organizational processes
Autori/Curatori: Attila Bruni, Francesco Miele, Daniel Pittino, Lia Tirabeni 
Anno di pubblicazione:  2021 Fascicolo: 1  Lingua: Inglese 
Numero pagine:  18 P. 7-24 Dimensione file:  238 KB
DOI:  10.3280/SO2021-001001
Il DOI è il codice a barre della proprietà intellettuale: per saperne di più:  clicca qui   qui 

The relationship between power, technology and organizing is a longstanding theme in organization studies, typically articulated along two polarized positions: a pessimistic and an optimistic one. Both positions assume a deterministic view in which technology "impacts" society and organizations, thus missing the intricate and often ambiguous dynamics that surround power and technology. Accordingly, this Special Issue focuses on the intricacies of power, digital technologies and organizational processes. Presenting the rationale of the papers that compose the Special Issue, we suggest five themes arising when empirically and theoretically approaching these intricacies: 1) digital technologies and power relationships in organizational structure and processes; 2) relationships between technology, power and workers’ participation; 3) digital technologies, algorithmic control and power renegotiation; 4) digital technologies, practices of human resources management and the joint design of technology, work, and organization; 5) hyper-industrialization as a critical lens to approach technology, work, and organizing. Taken all together, the papers help overcoming simplifications as well as polarized representations of the relationship between power, digital technologies and organizing.

La relazione tra potere, tecnologia e processi organizzativi è un tema di lunga data negli studi organizzativi, tipicamente articolato lungo due principali posizioni polarizzate: una pessimistica e una ottimistica, entrambe caratterizzate da una visione deterministica per cui la tecnologia "impatta" la società e le organizzazioni. A ben vedere, tuttavia, questa visione deterministica manca di cogliere le complesse, e spesso ambigue, dinamiche che caratterizzano la relazione fra potere e tecnologia. Il presente Special Issue si focalizza al contrario sulle complessità della relazione fra potere, tecnologie digitali e processi organizzativi. Nel presentare le ragioni degli articoli che compongono lo Special Issue, si suggeriscono cinque tematiche emergenti quando si approcciano empiricamente e teoricamente tali complessità: 1) tecnologie digitali e relazioni di potere nella struttura e nei processi organizzativi; 2) il legame fra tecnologia, potere e partecipazione dei lavoratori; 3) tecnologie digitali, controllo algoritmico e rinegoziazione del potere; 4) tecnologie digitali, pratiche di gestione delle risorse umane e progettazione congiunta di tecnologia, lavoro e organizzazione; 5) l’iperindustrializzazione come approccio critico per meglio comprendere la relazione fra tecnologia, lavoro e organizzazione. Presi insieme, questi articoli vanno oltre la semplificazione e la polarizzazione che caratterizza il dibattito e offrono una rappresentazione sfumata della relazione fra potere, tecnologia e organizzazione.
Keywords: potere, tecnologia digitale, processi organizzativi, gestione algoritmica, pratiche di lavoro

  1. Alaimo, C., Kallinikos, J. (2019), “Social media and the infrastructuring of sociality”, Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 62: 289–306,, DOI: 10.1108/S0733-558X2019000006201
  2. Alaimo, C., Kallinikos, J. (2020), “Managing by Data: Algorithmic Categories and Organizing”, Organization, First published online: July 2, 2020,, DOI: 10.1177/017084062093406
  3. Aldrich, H., Herker, D. (1977), “Boundary spanning roles and organization structure”, Academy of management review, 2(2): 217-230.
  4. Bastian, B., Haslam, N. (2011), “Experiencing dehumanization: Cognitive and emotional effects of everyday dehumanization”, Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 33(4): 295-303,, DOI: 10.1080/01973533.2011.61413
  5. Beverungen, A., Beyes, T., Conrad, L. (2019), “The Organizational Powers of (Digital) Media”, Organization, 26(5): 621-635,, DOI: 10.1177/135050841986720
  6. Bruni, A., Esposito, F.M. (2019), “It obliges you to do things you normally wouldn’t”: Organizing and consuming private life in the age of AirBnB, Partecipazione e conflitto, 12(3): 265-290,
  7. Bruni, A., Miele, F., Pittino, D., Tirabeni, L. (2020), “On the dualistic nature of power and (digital) technology in organizing processes”, Studi Organizzativi, 50th Anniversary Special Issue: 209-221,, DOI: 10.3280/SO2020-001-S101
  8. Burns, T., Stalker, G. (1961), The Management of Innovation. London, Tavinstock.
  9. Castells, M. (2007), “Communication, power and counter-power in the network society”, International journal of communication, 1(29): 238-266.
  10. Cheng, M.M., Hackett, R.D. (2021), “A critical review of algorithms in HRM: definition, theory, and practice”, Human Resource Management Review, 31(1): 100698,
  11. Connelly, C.E., Černe, M., Dysvik, A., Škerlavaj, M. (2019), “Understanding knowledge hiding in organizations”, Journal of Organizational Behavior, 40(7): 779-782,
  12. Constantinides, P., Henfridsson, O., Parker, G. (2018), “Introduction – Platforms and infrastructures in the digital age”, Information Systems Research, 29: 3-6,
  13. De Stefano, V. (2016), The rise of the «just-in-time workforce»: On-demand work, crowdwork and labour protection in the «gig-economy». Geneva: ILO Working Paper,
  14. Duggan, J., Sherman, U., Carbery, R., McDonnell, A. (2020), “Algorithmic management and app‐work in the gig economy: A research agenda for employment relations and HRM”, Human Resource Management Journal, 30(1): 114-132,, DOI: 10.1111/1748-8583.1225
  15. Edwards, R.C. (1978), “The Social Relations of Production at the Point of Production”, Insurgent Sociologist, 8(2–3): 109-125,, DOI: 10.1177/08969205780080021
  16. Eubanks, V. (2018), Automating inequality: How high-tech tools profile, police, and punish the poor, New York: St. Martin’s Press.
  17. Fleming, P. (2019), “Robots and organization studies: Why robots might not want to steal your job”, Organization Studies, 40(1): 23-38,, DOI: 10.1177/017084061876556
  18. Foster, J.B., McChesney, R.W. (2014), “Surveillance capitalism: Monopoly-finance capital, the military-industrial complex, and the digital age”, Monthly Review, 66: 1-31,, DOI: 10.14452/MR-066-03-2014-07_1
  19. Frey, C.B, Osborne, M.A. (2017), “The future of employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation?”, Technological forecasting and social change, 114: 254–280,
  20. Genin, E. (2016), “Proposal for a theoretical framework for the analysis of time porosity”, International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations, 32(3): 280–300.
  21. Giardullo, P., Miele, F. (2020), “L’organizzazione algoritmica: tecnologia, performance, automazione. In: Marini, D., Setiffi, F. (eds.)”, Una grammatica della digitalizzazione. Interpretare la metamorfosi di società, economia e organizzazioni. Milano: Guerini Scientifica.
  22. Gouldner, A.W. (1954), Patterns of industrial bureaucracy. Glencoe, IL: Free.
  23. Griesbach, K., Reich, A., Elliott-Negri, L., Milkman, R. (2019), “Algorithmic control in platform food delivery work”, Socius, 5: 1–15,, DOI: 10.1177/237802311987004
  24. Hackman, J.R., Oldham G.R. (1976), “Motivation through the design of work: Test of a theory”, Organizational behavior and human performance, 16(2): 250-279.
  25. Hall, J.V., Horton, J.J., Knoepfle, D.T. (2019), “Pricing efficiently in designed markets: The case of ride-sharing”, available at
  26. Hallett, T., Ventresca, M.J. (2007), “Inhabited institutions: Social interactions and organizational forms in Gouldner’s Patterns of Industrial Bureaucracy”, Theory and Society, 35(2): 213-236,
  27. Honold, L. (1997), “A review of the literature on employee empowerment”, Empowerment in Organizations, 5(4): 202–212,, DOI: 10.1108/1463444971019547
  28. Introna, L.D., Hayes, N., Al-Hejin, Z. (2019), “The Negotiated Order and Electronic Patient Records: A Sociomaterial Perspective”, Journal of Information Technology, 34(4): 333-349,, DOI: 10.1177/026839621987054
  29. Ivanova, M., Bronowicka, J., Kocher, E., Degner, A. (2018), Foodora and Deliveroo: The app as a boss? Control and autonomy in app-based management: The case of food delivery riders, Dusseldorf, Germany: Hans Bockler Stiftung.
  30. Orlikowski, W.J., Scott, S.V. (2008), “Sociomateriality: Challenging the Separation of Technology, Work and Organization”, The Academy of Management Annals, 2(1): 433-474.
  31. Jabagi, N., Croteau, A.M., Audebrand, L.K., Marsan, J. (2019), “Gig-workers’ motivation: thinking beyond carrots and sticks”, Journal of Managerial Psychology, 34(4): 192-213,, DOI: 10.1108/JMP-06-2018-025
  32. Jarrahi, M.H., Sutherland, W., Nelson, S.B., Sawyer, S. (2019), “Platformic Management, Boundary Resources for Gig Work, and Worker Autonomy”, Computer Supported Cooperative Work-the Journal of Collaborative Computing and Work Practices, 29: 153–189,
  33. Kellogg, K.C., Valentine, M.A., Christin, A. (2020), “Algorithms at work: The new contested terrain of control”, Academy of Management Annals, 14(1): 366-410,
  34. Kemmer, L., Kühn, A., Otto, B., Weber, V. (2021), “Standby: Organizing modes of in| activity”, Ephemera: theory & politics in organization, 21: 1-20.
  35. Kost, D., Fieseler, C., Wong, S.I. (2018), “Finding meaning in a hopeless place? The construction of meaningfulness in digital microwork”, Computers in Human Behavior, 82: 101-110,
  36. Kunda, G. (2009), Engineering culture: Control and commitment in a high-tech corporation. PA: Temple University Press.
  37. Lawrence, P.R., Lorsch, J.W. (1967), Organization and Environment: Managing Differentiation and integration. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
  38. Leonardi, D., Murgia, A., Armano, E. (2020), “Piattaforme digitali e forme di resistenza della soggettività precaria: un’inchiesta sul lavoro gratuito e la mobilitazione dei riders di Foodora a Torino”. In: Armano, E. (ed.) Pratiche di inchiesta e conricerca oggi. Verona: Ombre Corte.
  39. Liu, M., Brynjolfsson, E., Dowlatabadi, J. (2018). Do digital platforms reduce moral hazard? The case of Uber and taxis, Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.
  40. Meyer, U., Shaupp, S., Seibt, D. (2019), “Toward an Analytical Understanding of Domination and Emancipation in Digitalizing Industries”. In Meyer U., Shaupp S., Seibt D. (eds.), Digitalization in Industry: Between Domination and Emancipation. London and New York, Palgrave, p. 1-25.
  41. Miele, F., Tirabeni, L. (2020), “Digital technologies and power dynamics in the organization: A conceptual review of remote working and wearable technologies at work”, Sociology Compass, 14(6): e12795,
  42. Mintzberg, H. (1993). Structure in fives: Designing effective organizations. NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
  43. Mollick, E., Werbach, K. (2015), “Gamification and the enterprise”. In:  Walz, S.P., Deterding, S. (eds.) The gameful world: Approaches, issues, applications, 439.
  44. Mokyr, J., Vickers, C., Ziebarth, N.L. (2015), “The history of technological anxiety and the future of economic growth: Is this time different?”, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 29: 31–50.
  45. Moore, P.V. (2018), “Tracking affective labour for agility in the quantified workplace”, Body & Society, 24: 39-67,, DOI: 10.1177/1357034X18775203
  46. Noble, S.U. (2018). Algorithms of oppression: How search engines reinforce racism. New York: NYU Press.
  47. Norlander, P., Jukic, N., Varma, A., Nestorov, S. (2020), “The effects of technological supervision on gig workers: organizational control and motivation of Uber, taxi, and limousine drivers”, The International Journal of Human Resource Management: 1-25,, DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2020.1867614
  48. Nylén, D., Holmström, J. (2015), “Digital innovation strategy: A framework for diagnosing and improving digital product and service innovation”, Business Horizons, 58 (1): 57–67,
  49. O’Neil, C. (2016). Weapons of math destruction: How big data increases inequality and threatens democracy. New York: Broadway Books.
  50. Orlikowski, W.J. (2007), “Sociomaterial Practices: Exploring Technology At Work”, Organization Studies, 28(9): 1435–1448,, DOI: 10.1177/0170840607081138
  51. Perrow, C. (1967), “A framework for the comparative analysis of organizations”, American sociological review: 194-208.
  52. Pickering, A. (1993), “The Mangle of Practice: Agency and Emergence in the Sociology of Science”, American Journal of Sociology, 99(3): 559-589.
  53. Plesner, U., Husted, E. (2020), Digital organizing: Revisiting themes in organization studies. Red Globe Press.
  54. Plesner, U., Raviola, E. (2016), “Digital technologies and a changing profession”, Journal of Organizational Change Management, 29(7): 1044-1065.
  55. Sadowski, J. (2015), “From mega-machines to mega-algorithms”. Available at the website:
  56. Scholz, T., Schneider, N. (eds.) (2017), Ours to hack and to own: The rise of platform cooperativism, a new vision for the future of work and a fairer internet. NY: OR books.
  57. Sewell, G., Taskin, L. (2015), “Out of sight, out of mind in a new world of work? Autonomy, control, and spatiotemporal scaling in telework”, Organization Studies, 36(11): 1507-1529,, DOI: 10.1177/0170840615593587
  58. Shestakofsky, B. (2017), “Working algorithms: Software automation and the future of work”, Work and Occupations, 44: 376-423,, DOI: 10.1177/0730888417726119
  59. Spencer, D.A. (2018), “Fear and hope in an age of mass automation: debating the future of work”, New Technology, Work and Employment, 33: 1-12,
  60. Susskind, R., Susskind, D. (2015), The future of the professions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  61. Thompson, J.D. (1967), Organizations in action, New York: McGraw-Hill.
  62. Tipping, S., Chanfreau, J., Perry, J., Tait, C. (2012), “The fourth work–life balance employee survey”. In Employment relations research series. London, England: Department for Business Innovation and Skills.
  63. Veen, A., Barratt, T., Goods, C. (2019), “Platform-capital’s ‘appetite’ for control: A labour process analysis of food-delivery work in Australia”, Work, Employment and Society, 34(3): 388-406., DOI: 10.1177/0950017019836911.
  64. Woodward, J. (1958), Management and technology, London: H.M.S.O.
  65. Zuboff, S. (2019), The age of surveillance capitalism: The fight for a human future at the new frontier of power, London: Profile Books.

  1. Adeline Stals, Catherine Elsen, Sylvie Jancart, Integration of parametric modeling tools in small architectural offices – between constraints and organizational strategies in Architectural Engineering and Design Management /2022 pp. 1, DOI: 10.1080/17452007.2022.2050347

Attila Bruni, Francesco Miele, Daniel Pittino, Lia Tirabeni, Le complessità delle relazioni fra potere e tecnologie digitali nei processi organizzativi in "STUDI ORGANIZZATIVI " 1/2021, pp. 7-24, DOI:10.3280/SO2021-001001


FrancoAngeli è membro della Publishers International Linking Association associazione indipendente e no profit per facilitare l'accesso degli studiosi ai contenuti digitali nelle pubblicazioni professionali e scientifiche