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The ability to organize is our most valuable social technology. Organizing affects an enterprise’s efficiency, effectiveness, and ability to adapt. Modern organizations operate in increasingly complex, dynamic environments, which puts a premium on adaptation. Compared to traditional organizations, modern organizations are flatter and more open to their environment. Their processes are more generative and interactive – actors themselves generate and coordinate solutions rather than follow hierarchically devised plans and directives. Modern organizations search outside their boundaries for resources wherever they may exist. They coproduce products and services with suppliers, customers, and partners. They collaborate, both internally and externally, to learn and become more capable. In this book, leading voices in the field of organization design articulate and exemplify how a combination of agile processes, artificial intelligence, and digital platforms powers adaptive, sustainable, and healthy organizations.
The power of the digital platforms and the increasing scope of their control over individuals and institutions have begun to generate societal concern. However, the ways in which digital platforms exercise power and organize immaturity—defined as the erosion of the individual’s capacity for public use of reason—have not yet been theorized sufficiently. Drawing on Bourdieu’s concepts of field, capitals, and habitus, we take a sociosymbolic perspective on platforms’ power dynamics, characterizing the digital habitus and identifying specific forms of platform power and counterpower accumulation. We make two main contributions. First, we expand the concept of organized immaturity by adopting a sociological perspective, from which we develop a novel sociosymbolic view of platforms’ power dynamics. Our framework explains fundamental aspects of immaturity, such as self-infliction and emergence. Second, we contribute to the platform literature by developing a three-phase model of platform power dynamics over time.
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