1 Institute of Business and Technology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Aarhus University, Aarhus University2 Department of Business Development and Technology, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University3 Department of Business Development and Technology, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
Are ICT-transformation and networking of distributed organizations continuing to challenge management or is it the other way around? The development of new forms of surveillance is at least intertwined with this concurrent ICT- , organization-, and management transformation. This paper focuses on the relations between changes in management and surveillance. Management is here understood as a repertoire of activities including coordination, assignment of tasks, coaching, control surveillance and others, drawing on the genre concept used by Orlikowsky & Yates (1994). It is understood that these attributes cannot be entirely treated as in built features in technology or handled only by auto-responsible employees. The paper builds on the corresponding author doctoral thesis, which focuses on control in contemporary organizations. The thesis and the paper combine labour process theory with postmodern approaches, in an open dual paradigmatic manner in order to utilise the reflections and analyses led in both streams (Lewis & Grimes, see also Willmott 1993). Control and surveillance are here found in a range of forms active through organization, technology, management, self-discipline or change programmes (Delbridge & Ezzamel 2005). The active enterprise constellations of control are seen to combine classical and new forms in a more or less loose and uncontrolled way (a finding parallel to the argument of "chimera" by Sewell 1998 and "cacophony" Clegg et al. 2006).The paper will thus draw on extensive case material of characteristic forms of "dislocated organizations" from the Swiss service sectors, including studies of distance work and headquarter, mobile work, a satellite office or single function outsourcing. The contribution discusses how management in practice is exercised when the organization is designed in a distributed manner, transcending its traditional physical boundaries. A number of distributed organizational forms, repertoires of management activities and types of surveillance are discussed. It is argued that various types of distributed organizations and work content of employee tasks lead to multiple repertoires of managing, surveillance and control. It is characteristic that, if repetitive tasks can be controlled in a traditional way or even by a computer, more creative works need a new set of management practices to realize surveillance. As a more general result the paper is critical towards claims of epochal shifts in organizational forms, such as those from proponents of postbureaucracy and virtual organizations.