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  • Black Box Power: Zones of Uncertainty in Algorithmic Management

    Heiner Heiland

    Chapter from the book: Armano, E et al. 2022. Digital Platforms and Algorithmic Subjectivities.


    This chapter examines algorithmic management and investigates its mechanisms. It is argued that the existing discussion is partly characterised by technological determinism, which firstly assumes comprehensive control and secondly narrows the view to technological aspects. Drawing on the organisation theory of Michel Crozier and Erhard Friedberg, the limited agency of heteronomous actors is analysed. The focus is on the opacity of algorithmic structures, which contributes decisively to the effectiveness of algorithmic management. This mechanism is identified as black box power, leading to an algorithmic self which monitors its actions carefully and is obedient in an anticipatory manner.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Heiland, H. 2022. Black Box Power: Zones of Uncertainty in Algorithmic Management. In: Armano, E et al (eds.), Digital Platforms and Algorithmic Subjectivities. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book54.f

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    Published on Nov. 1, 2022