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JSIS special issue on Digital Work and Organizational Transformation

Call for Papers:
Strategic Perspectives on Digital Work and Organizational Transformation
Special Issue The Journal of Strategic Information Systems

Guest Editors
Joao Baptista, Warwick Business School, UK
Mari-Klara Stein, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Jungwoo Lee, Yonsei University, South Korea
Mary Beth Watson-Manheim, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA
Stefan Klein, WWU Munster, Germany

Continuing the tradition of publishing research on the strategic
significance of IT in organizations, this special issue of The Journal of
Strategic Information Systems seeks original research on strategic
perspectives on the future of work and digital transformation of modern
organizations. Strategy often lags behind digital transformations in the
workplace that emerge bottom-up driven by user?s adoption of new digital
media. This special issue takes a strategic perspective, by interrogating
the strategic significance of the digital transformation of organizing, and
the role of strategy in driving this process. Technology driven
organizational transformation is often presented as pushed by organizations
(Besson and Rowe, 2012) but more recent studies suggest we need a closer
look at actual practices (Peppard et al., 2014, Whittington, 2014) and a
more grounded view of digital transformations that better capture emerging
movements such as agile (Rigby et al., 2016) and open strategy (Baptista et
al., 2017, Hautz et al., 2017). The special issue follows from previous
calls for research in this area (Forman et al., 2014, Zammuto et al., 2007)
but is particularly interested in research that captures the digitization of
the workplace with an emphasis on implications to strategy and the nature of
organizing covering strategic aspects and impacts of new dynamics and
patterns of work, new structures and ways of organizing, new capabilities
and practices, leadership styles and approaches, places and spaces of work
with an outlook into the future of organizing.

Internal communication tools of the late 1990s based on email and intranets
are gradually being enhanced and often replaced by more powerful platforms
based on social media, collaborative and networking software that keep
workers connected to content and colleagues (Martini et al., 2009, McAfee,
2006) but eventually become integral to the lifeblood and day-to-day running
of the organization (Baptista, 2009). These tools are increasingly supported
by more advanced data-driven intelligent engines (Newell and Marabelli,
2015, Galliers et al., 2017) that learn from use of documents and exchanges
to suggest actions and expected behaviors. This is the vision portrayed by
the platform companies such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook and others that
are positioning themselves as complete digital solutions for the enterprise.
Many large organizations enticed by the potential of a more connected,
engaged, empowered and smart workforce adopt these technologies in the hope
of driving innovation and attracting new talent and more agile teamwork and
flexibility ? ultimately adding value and gaining competitive advantage
(Andriole, 2010). However, while striving to achieve these benefits,
organizations face significant challenges (Kane et al., 2010) and unintended
consequences (Baptista et al., 2010) often owing to misinformed views on the
social and contextual dynamics of knowledge systems (Marabelli and Newell,
2012) that require new perspectives to understand the role of digital media
in organizational activity and strategy (Von Krogh, 2012, Spagnoletti et
al., 2015, Haefliger et al., 2011, Majchrzak et al., 2013).

Early research on adoption of email (Lee, 1994, Markus, 1994, Orlikowski,
2000, Cecez-Kecmanovic et al., 1999, Watson-Manheim et al., 1998), intranets
(Newell et al., 2001, Damsgaard and Scheepers, 2000, Lamb, 2003, Lamb and
Davidson, 2005, Duane and Finnegan, 2003) and knowledge management systems
(Swan et al., 1999, Pan and Scarbrough, 1998, Jarvenpaa and Tanriverdi,
2003, Wasko and Faraj, 2000) illustrate the importance of the social, formal
and informal dimensions at the core of these technologies in the workplace.
The valuable lessons from this early work have somehow been lost, and
despite recent work on the effects of social media use within organizations
(Huang et al., 2013, Leonardi et al., 2013, Leonardi and Vaast, 2016), there
is insufficient research capturing the effects of these new and more
advanced digital media that now shape modern workplaces. Research is
required into the deep effects of these new and more advanced digital
platforms in transforming work practices and perceptions of individual roles
and identity (Stein et al., 2013) and the very nature of work (Lee, 2016) ?
and ultimately the strategy and structural arrangements of today?s
organizations (Baptista et al., 2017).

We do know that many organizations are moving forward with strategic intent
to integrate these advanced workplace technologies in the fabric of their
organizations (Dery et al., 2017), seeking more open and fluid
collaboration, sharing and engagement (Vodanovich et al., 2010). However,
this journey fundamentally ?rewires? the organization and the work
environment (Watson-Manheim et al., 2002). Tensions emerge when traditional
organizational structures based on centralized and command-and-control
systems persist even as new ways of working based on digital platforms for
open participation are expected (Denyer et al., 2011, Watson-Manheim and
Belanger, 2007). These tensions become the catalysts for the development of
new capabilities (Huang et al., 2015) that have the potential to move
organizations towards new forms of organizing and strategizing (Baptista et
al., 2017).

It is therefore important to explore these deep effects of new workplace
technologies and their potential for transforming the dynamics, patterns and
structure of organizations ?, all in the context of their strategic
significance. The resultant research agenda requires novel theoretical and
methodological approaches to observe the unfolding of the effects of these
new technologies in the workplace, and on practices, policy, governance,
strategy, leadership and other fundamental aspects of organizing. It is also
worth considering the usefulness of established theories that have been
developed based on traditional organizations, pre-digitization, and consider
the need to develop new theory or deploy theories from other fields to
explain the new dynamics and deeper effects of digitization in modern
workplace settings. Forward-looking studies are encouraged, in particular
those investigating the effects of increased automation, machine learning,
augmented reality and the fusion of digital, technological and human
dimensions in the workplace.

Some of the topics of interest of this special issue include the following:

- Strategic opportunities and drivers of adoption of digital
workplace technologies for organizations and individuals
- Emerging patterns and dynamics of work: organizational and
individual perspectives
- Features and functions of new workplace technologies and their role
in organizational transformation and strategy
- Process, phases and mechanisms of integration of workplace
technologies into the fabric and strategy of organizations
- Changing of spatial and temporal dimensions of work
- Organizational adjustments to increased connectedness,
participation and engagement in the strategic progression of the
- Structural mechanisms and framing devices to legitimise digital
- Emergent tensions in digital work and the development of new
organizational and individual capabilities
- Work fragmentation and nomadic work practices
- Implications (e.g., policy and governance) of increased feedback,
transparency and open collaboration
- Managing and structurally integrating digital activity and feedback
as a strategic input in the organization
- New structural and strategic conditions to support employee
participation and engagement
- Emergence of new practices and forms of leadership in modern
workplace settings.

We welcome studies that address one or more of these topics or that
specifically contribute to our understanding of digital work in modern
workplace settings, and their significance to strategizing. The special
issue is open to any type of research and methodological approach and
encourages innovative research methods and designs that allow for rigorous
but rich and current insights into this phenomenon. Either qualitative or
quantitative, or mixed, approaches are welcome. We also expect to publish
exploratory research based on detailed observations of practices through
participant observations and shadowing that provide the basis to advance new
concepts and theory. The analysis of large data sets based on computational
methods and text analysis is also welcomed. We also welcome studies that
draw on concepts and theories from other fields such as strategy,
organizational studies and HR.

There will be opportunity for interested authors to discuss their research
plans with members of the editorial team of the special issue at the 5th
CNoW pre-ICIS 2017 workshop. Participation in this event is highly
recommended and requires sending an email with a two-page summary of the
research to one of the editors by 4th December 2017. This summary should
include 1. Key phenomena and research question 2. Theoretical and conceptual
framing 3. Methods and case material 4. Expected contributions bearing in
mind the strategic locus of JSIS. Logistical details regarding location and
timing for this session will be provided to the participants in due course.

To be considered for publication, papers must be submitted electronically by
March 31st, 2018. In line with JSIS convention, selected manuscripts will be
sent out for blind review. Authors are instructed to follow the Guide for
Authors for the journal, available at the journal?s website
s/. Please choose "Special Issue: Digital Work and Organizational
Transformation? as the paper type in the online submission system. Further
enquiries about the special issue can be directed to Joao Baptista
([email protected]) and Mari-Klara Stein ([email protected]).

Indicative timetable:
September 2017 Call issued
December 2017 ICIS Pre-conference workshop
APRIL 30 2018 (NEW) Deadline for papers
July 2018 Reviews returned
November 2018 Revised papers submitted
January 31st 2019 Final papers due

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JSIS special issue on Digital Work and Organizational Transformation


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