[AISWorld] CFP: EGOS 2014 Mobile work and Mobile technologies

Marleen Huysman m.h.huysman at vu.nl
Wed Dec 4 12:02:25 EST 2013

Call for papers:  EGOS 2014 Rotterdam, Subtheme 52, Mobile work, mobile technologies and issues of control; 

Sponsored by the Organizational Communication and Information Systems (OCIS) division of the Academy of Management

Deadline paper submission: January 13, 2014


The advent of compact, mobile technologies and a concurrent cultural change regarding the locus of work has led to significant changes in the way in which work is conducted and organized today. Likewise organizations have changed their expectations regarding desired – and possible - outcomes through modern mobile work activities. Whether by design or by chance, organizations are increasingly capitalizing on the mobility of their employees creating products and services that are closer to the customers needs and more aligned with today’s mobile lifestyle.

Accepting and riding the wave of mobile work, organizations and managers have either to relinquish control on the employees’ activities or change the objects of control itself.

Mobility, and its supporting technologies, are somehow at odds with the traditional view of control. The consequences of mobile technologies – whether owned by the organization or by the individual – on work practices are varied and habits, routines, and norms around technology use in practice are very fluid (Lyytinen & Yoo, 2002). On the other side normative control seems to play an important role leading to crackberrian behaviors like always feeling at work (Mazmanian, Orlikwoski & Yates, 2005) and behaviors to cope with the connectivity paradox (Leonardi, Treem, & Jackson, 2010). Mobile technologies seem also to provide the tools for constant and universal control establishing – in theory – an electronic panopticon (O'Neill, 1996; Zuboff, 1988). However the possibility of control does not imply that control is actually performed nor that deviation is sanctioned.

Is technology-mediated control of people on the move something that people have or something that they do? In functional models of organizational control, it appears as something that managers have over employees (Das, 1993). In contrast, other models specify control as a joint accomplishment, such that managers assess compliance using representations of work that employees produce (e.g., Anteby, 2008; Hislop and Axtell, 2010).

Control differs from other attempts to shape the behavior of others, because it focuses on monitoring the very actions it seeks to affect. Most research on control indicates that managers enforce compliance by turning organizations into a theatrical stage, such that everything employees do is open to scrutiny (Zuboff, 1988). Such studies explain control as processes of compliance and resistance. Thus the effects on employees’ compliance with prescribed procedures stem from the orders that managers issue (e.g. Kohli & Kettinger, 2004). Such exposure also influences employees’ resistance to company procedures or managers’ orders (Ball & Wilson, 2000).

However, research on information technology (IT) and change (Orlikowski, 1996), street-level bureaucracy (Lipsky, 1980), and workplace deviance (Lawrence & Robinson, 2007) also reveals that control can affect how employees present their work, not just how they do their everyday work. These studies note that employees might present an image of compliance, even if they do not follow prescribed procedures or obey managers’ orders.

Mobile technologies and mobile work provide the perfect setting to upset the balance between front stage and back stage (Goffman, 1959) and the perfect occasion both for managers to perform control and employees to display compliance through technology.

The nexus between mobile technology, mobile work, and control appears to be a very promising ground for research, that remains largely unexplored. 

Overall, this sub-theme seeks to explore the relationships between mobile work, the technologies that make the mobile work possible, and how organizations perform and enact control over mobile work. Topics relevant to this sub-theme include (but are not restricted to):

·        How do organizations implement mobile technologies and how do these processes differ from the implementation of other information and communication technologies?

·        How do organizations monitor and control of employees who use mobile technologies for work?

·        How do employees appropriate prescribed mobile technologies into their everyday work?

·        How do employees incorporate their own devices at work?

·        How do organizations cope with the challenges that ‘bring your own mobile device’ creates?

·        How does employees’ use of mobile technologies affect organizational processes?

·        How does mobile technology influence the (in)visibility of work?

In order to advance the state of research on these issues and more generally on the interplay between mobile work, mobile technology, and control we call for original contributions, both empirical and theoretical, that rely on a variety of methods and theories.


Joao Vieira da Cunha, Department of Business Administration, Aarhus University and ISLA Campus Lisboa, joao.cunha at lx.isla.pt

Marleen Huysman, Department of Economics and Business Administration, VU University Amsterdam, m.h.huysman at vu.nl

Andrea Carugati, Department of Business Administration, Aarhus University, School of Business and Social Sciences, andreac at asb.dk 


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