Disconnect to Reconnect: The Construction of New Media Risks and Solutions As Paradoxical Feedback-Loops in Organizations.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 11:45
Location: Hörsaal 46 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Heiko KIRSCHNER, University of Vienna - Department of Sociology, Austria
Maria SCHLECHTER, University of Vienna - Department of Sociology, Austria
Following the argument of an ongoing process of mediatization, we observe a number of new uncertainties, risks and perceptions of risks regarding the influence of new media in organizational contexts. Forms of these risks are closely related to concepts such as overconnectivity, junk information or permanent availability. The responsible digital technologies “are often presented as posing risks to users” and are at the same time a „source of new concepts of risk“, as Deborah Lupton pointed out. As these risks are always closely connected to constructed concepts and therefore hard to grasp empirically, the question arises how the organizational construction of risks and uncertainties can be systematically analyzed. With our presentation we would like to give an insight into the question of: a.) How organizations conceptualize and build business models revolving around a specific conceptualized risks regarding new media, b.) Provide a product or service which should hold a solution to the inner organizationally constructed risks whilst c.) They maneuver themselves into unexpected paradoxical feedback loops in which their solution threatens their own business model. Thereby we observe that organizations tend to one the one hand reflect deeply on their conceptions of risks whilst at the same time they are commercially bound to reflexively look for public concepts of risks in order to stay ahead in the respective market. So in order to adjust accordingly to the interplay of differing concepts of risks, from within the organization and from outside of the organization, we argue that organizations are bound to find what we call “mild solutions” in order to keep their business model running. These “mild solutions” seem to function as an Antidote as well as a driver regarding the construction of risks around new media, which is why we would conceptualize this process as a form of reflexive mediatization