Past Seminars

  • The perils of technology implementation: politics, resistance, and breakdowns

    Thursday 19 March, 2 – 4pm

    • Will Venters and Mark Thompson talk about customer relationships management and politics and technology buy-in.

    London School of Economics (Room: 32.L. G.24)
    To attend please email:

    Will Venters presents:

    The  breakdown of process in Customer Relationships Management Infrastructure: Examining coupling between customer and advisor

    Most large telecommunications companies with millions of customers have developed highly complex customer relationship infrastructures (centred around customer relationship management software) to manage their customer interaction. Such infrastructures have been built to efficiently process vast numbers of transactional encounters. Yet with any complex infrastructure of this scale problems are bound to occur, which are often disproportionate in their cost and effect on the reputation of the business. Understanding such breakdown is therefore important.  This talk will use a case study of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) breakdown which unfolded over 100 days to explore how processes are coupled within complex CRM infrastructure. Extending our understanding of coupling, and of infrastructure breakdown, the talk aims to contribute understanding on the customer and advisors’ role within CRM infrastructure, and to provide practical lessons for those developing such infrastructure.

    Dr Will Venters is an Assistant Professor in Information Systems and Digital Innovation within the Department of Management at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). His research interests include Cloud Computing, Digital Platforms, and Agile innovation approaches. He has a first-class degree in computer science and a PhD in information systems. His research work has been published in major refereed journals including MIS Quarterly, Journal of Information Technology, the Journal of Management Studies, and the Information Systems Journal. He speaks regularly at practitioner conferences on various digital business issues, particularly around Digital Ecosystems, Digital Innovation and Cloud Computing; has briefed European government policy makers and various company executives; and undertakes wide ranging consultancy in IT strategy and Digital transformation. He co-authored the Palgrave book “Moving to the Cloud Corporation” and is the author of a blog on digital technology and is an associate editor of the Journal Information Technology and People.

    Mark Thompson presents:

    Affective Politics and Technology Buy-In: A Framework of Social, Political and Fantasmatic Logics

    We propose a socially-informed explanation of technology framing, by examining technology ‘buy-in’: actors’ relative susceptibility to such framing. We draw on the field of critical social theory to introduce the ‘Logics’, a new framework to the IS discipline, that reveals a performative relationship between collective framing, power, and affect. The Logics enable us to study buy-in, by revealing the differing degrees of affective self-identification that underpin and colour social practices, showing their inherently political nature. We exemplify the affective, as well as social, politics of buy-in with an account of Unity 3D, a market-leading game engine which underwent a major repositioning from ‘fringe’ to ‘mainstream’ markets. We discuss four poles of affective positioning with which to conceptualize technology buy-in. We conclude by highlighting the consequent need for greater political and ethical awareness about the framing of IS, proposing a framework for conceptualizing actors’ orientations towards, and thus possible buy-in, or resistance, to technology framing.

    Mark is Professor in the DIgital Economy at the London-based Initiative for the Digital Economy, Exeter (INDEX). Mark is acknowledged in the public domain as one of the architects of Digital service redesign within the UK public sector. He chairs several of the large annual conferences on Digital, including the National Digital Conference, Digital Leaders Conference, and is a recognised thought leader on digital matters for Computer Weekly and other publications. Blending the roles of academic, practitioner, and policy commentator, Mark is also 40% shareholder and Strategy Director at the £110m Methods Group, specialising in the application of cloud-based and emerging technologies to the public sector, where he has led three successful start-ups, including a data science business.
    Mark has published peer-reviewed articles in a broad range of academic journals including Information and Organization, Academy of Management Review, Organization Science, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Government Information Quarterly, Public Administration, Human Relations, Journal of International Development, Journal of the Association of Information Systems, etc., and has been a reviewer for a broad range of journals. Mark’s co-authored book, Digitizing Government, appeared in December 2014, and Manifesto for Better Public Services launched at the Institute for Government in April 2018. He tweets at @markthompson1.
     Mark delivers executive education on digital to a broad range of audiences.  These have included Indian, UK, Canadian, Italian, Malaysian, and Israeli Governments, Roche, Pfizer, global banks, insurance companies, and Chinese conglomerates, to name a few; he developed and is currently delivering Amazon Web Services (AWS)’ flagship Global Government Education Programme. More broadly, he has designed and delivered a range of courses on information systems, technology, and digital at PhD, MBA, Masters, and Undergraduate level.

  • Scaling in the Digital Age: Moving Beyond Isolated Approaches

    Held on February 13, 2020, 3 – 5 pm

    • Stavros Polykarpou and Dave Chatterjee talked about 3D printing in healthcare and cyber-warfare.

    Stavros Polykarpou presented the work: The Role of Place in Organizing the Emerging Technology of 3D Printing in a Hospital 

    This paper examines how the role of place shapes the way emerging technologies scale across hospital organizations. Through a five year ethnographic field study, which focuses on how 3D printing was being organized to scale across a major UK National Health Service (NHS) hospital, we extend theory on how places shape the organizing of emerging technologies. Informed by a practice lens and a process research approach, we develop a model that theorizes the constitutive role of place in terms of its resources, materiality and location meaning, which taken together, explain how and why 3D printing failed to scale up in three different situated places. Moreover, we unpack place dynamics, which entail processes of place bending, place extending and place framing to theorize the role of place in scaling an emerging technology. We conclude by discussing the implications for the organizing of emerging technologies and how place is integral in shaping the process of scaling. 

    Dave Chatterjee presented the work: High-Performance Security Culture is Essential in Cyber Warfare 

    To effectively prepare and respond to the ever increasing and evolving cyberattacks, organizations must not only have a comprehensive plan but also execute with great precision and consistency. There is little room for errors or mistakes. The battle has to be fought at all levels – technological, process, and people – and with the help of all organizational members and business partners. For everyone to be on board and playing their respective parts requires among other things a security mindset, high loyalty towards the employing organization, a deep sense of responsibility towards all stakeholders, and commitment to leaving no stone unturned. The United States Nuclear Navy Program’s culture is used as an exemplar to highlight and empirically examine the key elements of a high-performance security culture. 

    A multi-method approach of literature review, focus groups, and expert interviews is used to examine the validity of high-performance cultural traits of commitment, preparedness, and discipline, from the standpoint of inspiring appropriate cybersecurity practices. To ensure a rich and diverse perspective, information security experts from technology user and technology provider firms were interviewed. Industries ranging from healthcare and public health to supply-chain management, higher education, security and information management solutions and financial technology (fintech) were in the surveyed sample. Qualitative analyses techniques were used to validate the relevancy of the three high performance cultural traits by identifying cybersecurity success factors and practices that reflect those traits.

  • New Patterns Driven by Digital Innovation

    Held on October 24, 2019, 3 – 5 pm

    • Beth Kewell and Roser Pujadas talked about Data-as-Money and strategizing within digital ecosystems.

    Beth Kewell presented the work: Can I Pay with Me? The Rise of Data-as-Money Payment Options and their Implications for Sociology 

    The importance of acquiring a good level of monetary literacy has been underlined consistently within the Sociology of Money and Sociology of Finance literatures, particularly in relation to the management of household incomes, wages, debt, and savings. The links between literacy and economic well-being have also been issues of past concern among analysts of the ‘digital divide.’ 

    New patterns of exchange are emerging within the economy as a deliberate challenge to the institutions and ontological precepts of money. Such challenges seem arguably destined to unsettle established patterns of digital literacy. Cryptocurrencies are primarily viewed as the main source of provocation for these changes. A little-known facet of this disruption involves the use of personal data as a substitute for money. The likely implications of ‘me payments’ were extemporised in and by a 2017 art exhibition that provided visitors with the option to pay for souvenirs and artworks using their personal data. 

    The paper explores the challenge this development raises for Sociologists, with a view to specifically identifying its implications for the ontology of money. The paper subsequently argues that if extended beyond the simulation stage, the ‘me-payment’ phenomena will open-up a fresh ‘digital literacy divide’ between consumers who acquire the skills to use their personal data as a form of payment and those who may be potentially disadvantaged by this change in the currency and mediation of transactions. 

    Roser Pujadas presented the work: Strategizing within digital ecosystems: Achieving situational awareness through mapping

    Digital innovation has resulted in a progressive dis-integration of monolithic IT systems and increased permeability of organisational boundaries, with system components spread across digital ecosystems. In this context, strategic decisions regarding selection, integration, and decommissioning of IT resources for value creation can become extremely complex. In this paper we present the little-explored construct of situational awareness, which we argue is of growing relevance for strategic decision-making in the context of distributed service ecosystems. We investigate the potential utility of this construct via a mapping artefact, the Wardley Map, which is said to enhance situational awareness within, and across, value chains, and we offer an empirical study of its use for strategizing. The map appears to enable practitioners to make sense of the open-ended digital ecosystem by developing an awareness of their own situated positioning vis-a-vis the positioning of other components, enabling better-informed decision-making. We then exemplify how mapping is done in practice, and make suggestions for further research into both the construct and the mapping device.

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