On Monday 16th September, DOS welcomed colleagues from Copenhagen Business School to Royal Holloway. Most of our CBS colleagues are associated with the Digital Transformations Platform at CBS, which seeks to explore the relationship between technology and society and, amongst other things, runs a very successful Research Fellow Programme involving visits from pre-eminent scholars in this research area: soon to be Prof Shoshana Zuboff. We also heard details on how the platform has supported the development of a very popular BA in Business Admin and Digital Management, which was of great interest to DOS members.
However, the day was predominantly about sharing information about current research projects and interests. Involving staff and student speakers from CBS, DOS, and our sister SoBM research centre CHRONOS, it was a hugely interesting day. Scroll down the Twitter column on the right to see the details of the specific talks. We discovered many shared interests around the general themes of:
Visibility, Accountability and Inequality
Space and Time
Digitalisation and Organization
We heard details of Professor Mikkel Flyverbom’s new book “The Digital Prism: Transparency and Managed Visibilities in a Datafied World”; were introduced to the UKRI GCRF-funded research project on “Digital Technologies, Inequality and Migration” by Dr Hari Harindranath; discovered the CBS “Centre for Organizational Time” through the work of phd student Cecilie Kampmann; were intrigued by research on the use of digital devices in North Korea from Dr Tom Wainwright; and were hugely impressed by a talk from Frederick Schade on data transparency , only two weeks into his PhD!
There was even time at the end for a quick tour of the beautiful RHUL Founder’s Building, including a guided tour of the famous Portrait Gallery from Accountancy Professor and CHRONOS member, Christopher Napier. Our visitors were suitably impressed!
The day was rounded off with a chance to socialise together over dinner and we all agreed that we had formed the beginning of what will be a stimulating and productive research relationship.
DOS was launched as a research theme within the School of
Management in January 2017 and became a College Research Centre in May 2018. As
we are living in an era when digital technology is rapidly reconfiguring
organisations, industries and society, as well as individual’s daily lives, a
digital research group was timely to promote this area of research in the
School of Business Management and the College at the time. We named it Digital
Organisation and Society deliberately to move beyond a narrow focus on business
and management, and to encompass broader societal trends and implications such
as digital ethics, politics, and social movements.
DOS research centre’s objectives are to
knowledge sharing and research collaboration in the area of digital
organization and society;
connections with researchers conducting related research across the College to
incorporate additional perspectives and knowledge;
exploit new creative methodologies in digital research;
visible hub of expertise and research excellence in this area;
individual research projects academically and practically, including to obtain
provide a venue
for the academic development of PhD students working in this area.
DOS was initiated by Dr. Yingqin Zheng who approached Prof. Gillian Symon to establish the Research Theme as co-convenors, and then as co-directors for the DOS Research Centre. Yingqin is from the discipline of Information Systems and mainly works in ICT for Development, whereas Gillian is an Organisational Studies researcher with a history of interest in technology and work. We set up DOS to be multidisciplinary right from the start. Thus our launch event on 22nd January 2017 included three keynote speakers from different disciplines: Prof. Robin Mansell (Media Studies, LSE), Prof. Andrew Chadwick (PIR, RHUL), and Dr Niran Subramaniam (Accounting, SoBM RHUL). In June 2017, Prof Mark Graham (Economic Geography) from the Oxford Internet Institute gave a keynote on the Gig Economy at our first Research Awayday. In June 2018, the DOS Research Awayday included talks from colleagues from other departments across RHUL: Dr. Olga Goriunova (Media Arts); David Denney (Law), Claude Heath (Information Security Group), Hannah Platts (History), and Chris Watkins (Computing Science).
In March 2019, we celebrated our establishment as a formal RHUL Research
Centre through our inaugural Distinguished Speaker Lecture, featuring
eminent scholar Prof
Judy Wacjman (Anthony Giddens
Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics) speaking on ‘The Digital Architecture of Time
In 2018-2019, DOS has had a very successful year in terms of research grants awarded to individual members with current grants totalling over £735K (see Research). We also welcomed Distinguished Visitor, Prof Israr Qureshi (Australian National University) to the Centre, and organised two mini-conferences in Bedford Square which attracted leading researchers in both areas: in May 2019, Platform Work in Global Contexts included speakers from the International Labour Organization, Oxford Internet Institute and the Independent Workers of GB Association; in June 2019, Digitisation and Sustainable Development with Prof. Chrisanthi Avgerou (LSE) as keynote, included speakers from Australian National University, LSE, Kings College, Sheffield University, Institute of Development Studies, and University of Cambridge.
Every year DOS operates a seed funding scheme for ECR and PhD students. In the last academic year DOS supported three such projects. Surveillance in the 21st Century, a workshop organised by PhD students Amalina Zakariah (SoM) and Courtney Hagan-Ford (Law), included eminent speakers Prof Deborah Lupton (University of New South Wales), Prof Lizzie Coles-Kemp (ISG, RHUL), Prof Peter Fussey (University of Essex) and Prof Mike Nellis (University of Strathclyde). Dr Mikko Laamanen, received funding for a research project on Digital Activism and Global Platforms, and Adam Badger (PhD student) received funding to produce a community Zine entitled The Invisible Workerwhich seeks to give voice to gig economy workers. Mikko and Adam are co-organising a Digital Activismworkshop on 7th November 2019.
In June 2019, RHUL SoM signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Copenhagen
Business School. DOS has a
specific contact with the organisers of the CBS Digital Transformations Platform (a
cross-institution research centre). Our
aim with this relationship is to share research information, collaborate in
shared research projects and encourage PhD student exchanges. DOS will welcome
colleagues and PhD students from CBS on 16 September for a Research
Exchange Day, jointly organised by DOS and CHRONOS research centres.
With this exciting event to kick start the new academic year, we look forward to another stimulating and productive year for DOS 2019-2020!