EUSSET Colloquium on Governance Models and the Challenge of Functional Stupidity and Empty Labour to CSCW

It is time for yet another very interesting EUSSET Colloquium. On the 8th of June, from 16:30 to 18:00 CEST, we will meet again to discuss relevant aspects concerning practice-centred computing. As usual, there will be two discussion sessions focusing on different topics.

In the first session, Sajid Hussain, Department of Computer Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, will lead a discussion on governance models for public sector platforms under a public value perspective. The second session will feature a discussion led by Gerolf Nauwerck, Department of Information Technology, Uppsala University, on the challenge of functional stupidity and empty labour to CSCW. Details on the discussion topics are available below.

Make sure to register by the 6thth of June 2022 to be able to participate. You just need to send an e-mail to communitybuilding[at] communicating your interest!

Looking forward to seeing many of you there!

Governance Models for Public Sector Platforms: A Public Value Perspective

Syed Sajid Hussain, 16:30 – 17:15 CEST

Government as a Platform (GaaP) is the vision of using digital platforms for an open government at a community, city, regional or national level. This vision is increasingly being materialized by public sector organizations across the world to reduce costs and increase organizational efficiency. At the same time, the public sector organizations use digital platforms to tap into their potential for increased citizen participation and open innovation for the co-creation of products and services.

The platform model defines a platform core consisting of reusable and extensible components and a periphery. A platform has at least three kinds of stakeholders: 1) the platform owner managing the platform, 2) the complementors utilizing and extending the platform core to add products and services to the periphery and 3) the end-users. Together, the platform and its stakeholders form an ecosystem.

The platform governance model involves the platform owner controlling the interactions among the end-users and complementors by utilizing different instruments at the level of the graphical user interface, algorithm, and policy to maximize value. In a commercial platform, this is the monetary value earned by the platform owner. However, in a public sector platform, a government organization being the platform operator should aim to maximize the public value.Findings from a literature study of public sector platforms using the lens of public value to identify research themes will be introduced and a discussion on how this can be synthesized in a theoretical framework will be carried out. In particular, I would like to discuss about definitions of public sector platform, public value for the public sector platforms, and how governance model of a public sector platform yields public value.

The Challenge of Functional Stupidity and Empty Labour to CSCW 

Gerolf Nauwerck, 17:15 – 18:00 CEST

The concept of work is central to CSCW. Work may be conceived of in many different ways (visible/invisible, paid/unpaid, hard/easy/repetitive etc) but is generally seen as something productive and valuable. In the domain of knowledge work in general and bureaucratic practices in particular this can at times be questioned. There is a strand of workplace studies that critique various variants of functional stupidity and empty labour, essentially questioning the rational foundation of work.

No doubt this kind of work can be computer supported, from various workflow solutions to full automation. The question is however if it should be, and what the CSCW researcher should do when such practices are uncovered in the field.

Suggested Readings:

Alvesson, M., & Spicer, A. (2016). The stupidity paradox: The power and pitfalls of functional stupidity at work. Profile Books

Paulsen, R. (2014). Empty labor: Idleness and workplace resistance. Cambridge University Press.

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