Sub-theme 38: Innovations and New Forms of Organizing in Digitalized Public Space

Elena Raviola
Copenhagen Business School, Denmark, & School of Business, Economics and Law, Gothenburg, Sweden
Ulla Eriksson-Zetterquist
School of Business, Economics and Law, Gothenburg, Sweden
Aina Landsverk Hagen
Oslo & Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway

Call for Papers

A digitalized public space is more than just a ‘space’, it is a mode of production, a habit of sharing and a way of combining, thus representing an affordance enabling the public to communicate and produce in particular ways (Parikka & Caplan, 2013). The development of digitalized public space ‘will make new forms of collaborative work possible in ways that as yet are not even imagined’ (Thompson et al., 2013) offering not just new means but also new forms of innovation – possibly for the public good.
There are many actors contributing to the shaping of this digitalized public space, public and private, individuals and organizations, national and local. Since the mid-1990s, increased digitalization has in fact had crucial effects on most sectors and more and more institutions have adopted a ‘digital first’ policy for how they communicate and interact with the public. Digitalization has been proposed to bring forth a dissolution of organizational boundaries and the creation of a digitalized public space, where new organizational forms such as networked, virtual and temporary organizations (Clegg et al., 2008) have emerged as well as small and autonomous postindustrial organizations are suggested to become more prevalent. Organizing has also been shown to emerge without organizations. All these new forms of organizing have consequences for the shaping of the digitalized public space and the ways in which the public is afforded to act and be configured. However, the scholarly and societal discourse on the digitalized public space is in its infancy when it comes to generating conditions for ‘the public to fully understand, participate in and develop cultural, civic and entrepreneurial life in the connected area’ (Le Dieu, 2013, p. 16).
The increasing digitalization of the public space is going hand in hand with an increasing mediatization, that is a “process whereby society to an increasing degree is submitted to, or becomes dependent on, the media and their logic” (Hjarvard, 2008, p. 113). This implies that the media logic becomes integrated into a wide range of institutions leading to communication and production processes influenced and shaped by mass media and a blurring of the separation of media and other institutions. As digitalization has opened up a range of new possibilities to create powerful networks of public expression and participation, mediatization significantly contribute to the shaping of the digitalized public space. In such networks of public expression and participation, in fact, the public does not just consume the artefacts of the digitalized public space but it is also enabled to co-create digital spaces (Le Dieu, 2013).
Technological developments, which lie under the digitalization of the public space, have been increasingly investigated in organization studies, especially under what lately have been called the sociomaterial perspective (Orlikowski, 2007). This perspective takes grounds in science and technology studies (Callon & Law, 2005; Knorr-Cetina, 1999; Latour, 1991; 2005) and seems to offer highly relevant, yet under-explored insights for the study of innovation and new forms of organizing in the digitalized public space. In a particular significant way for this sub-theme, this perspective has emphasized a reconsideration of agency as collective and distributed in a sociotechnical arrangement (Callon, 2008). Materiality has also been investigated in relation to organizing as a way to come close to practices and objects, not least in institutional analysis (see, for example, Raviola & Norbäck, 2013; Czarniawska, 2008; Orlikowski, 2007; Pinch, 2008).
Thus, creating a space for discussing innovations and new forms of organizing in the digitalized public space as an area of intersection of different traditions and interests, we invite theoretical, conceptual and empirical contributions related – but not limited – to the following themes:

  • Digitalization and the emergence of new organizational forms in the digital public space
  • Processes and practices of collective agency in the digital public space
  • Studies of the role of materiality in digital public space
  • Organizing in the digital public space in times of mediatization
  • New methodological approaches to the study of digitalized public space

In short, we seek research on how digitalization has transformed innovation and organizing in the public space. We encourage alternative presentation forms, especially with innovative use of multimedia and visualization.


  • Callon, M. (2008): “Economic markets and the rise of interactive agencements: From prosthetic agencies to habilitated agencies.” In: T. Pinch & R. Swedberg Koray (eds.): Living in a Material World: Economic Sociology Meets Science and Technology Studies. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 29–56.
  • Callon, M., & Law, J. (2005): “On qualculation, agency, and otherness.” Society and Space, 23, 717–733.
  • Clegg, S., Kornberger, M., & Pitsis, T. (2008): Managing & Organizations. An Introduction to Theory and Practice. London: SAGE Publications.
  • Czarniawska, B. (2008): “How to Misuse Institutions and Get Away with It: Some Reflections on Institutional Theory(ies).” In: R. Greenwood, C. Oliver, K. Sahlin & R. Suddaby (eds.): The SAGE Handbook of Organizational Institutionalism. London: SAGE Publications, 769–782.
  • Hjarvard, S. (2008): “The Mediatization of Society: A Theory of the Media as Agents of Social and Cultural Change.” Nordicom Review, 29 (2), 105–134.
  • Knorr-Cetina, K. (1999): Epistemic Cultures: How Scientists Make Sense. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Latour, B. (1991): We Have Never Been Modern. New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf.
  • Latour, B. (2005): Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Le Dieu, P. (2013): ”Digital Public Space – A Challenge.” In: D. Hemment, B. Thompson, J.L. de Vincente & R. Cooper (eds.): Digital Public Spaces. Manchester: FutureEverything, available at:
  • Orlikowski, W.J. (2007): “Sociomaterial Practices: Exploring Technology at Work.” Organization Studies, 28 (9), 1435–1448.
  • Parikka, J., & Caplan, P. (2013): ”Digital Common Space: Remixability.” In: D. Hemment, B. Thompson, J.L. de Vincente & R. Cooper (eds.): Digital Public Spaces. Manchester: FutureEverything, available at:
  • Pinch, T. (2008): “Technology and institutions: Living in a material world.” Theory and Society, 37, 461–483.
  • Raviola, E., & Norbäck, M. (2013): “Bringing Technology and Meaning into Institutional Work: Making News at an Italian Business Newspaper.” Organization Studies, 34 (8), 1171–1194.
  • Thompson, B., Hemment, D., Cooper, R., & Gere, C. (2013): “Constructing a Digital Public Space.” In: D. Hemment, B. Thompson, J.L. de Vincente & R. Cooper (eds.): Digital Public Spaces. Manchester: FutureEverything, available at:
Elena Raviola works at the School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and is as Assistant Professor at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. She explores professional work organizing practices in times of technological change, especially in the field of news production. She is especially interested in how the relation between the profession of journalism and the logic of business management is transforming with digitalization.
Ulla Eriksson-Zetterquist is Professor of Management at the Gothenburg Research Institute, School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Her research interests concern organizing, especially technology and digitalization, governance in professional organizations, and gender.
Aina Landsverk Hagen is a Senior Researcher at the Work Research Institute at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway. Her PhD in social anthropology focuses on creativity among elite architects. Aina now works on collective creativity and innovation in media organizations, and recently published a book on freedom of speech.