The Unintended Consequences of Innovation. Organizational Dilemmas in Innovation Societies

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:00-10:30
Location: Seminar 31 (Juridicum)
RC17 Sociology of Organization (host committee)

Language: English

Studying the unintended and unanticipated consequences of social action has a long tradition in the social sciences, reaching back to Karl Marx, Robert Merton and Anthony Giddens. In contrast to this tradition, it has hardly become a part of the agenda in the analysis of innovation and organization.
Most of the time innovations are discussed as something per se positive. The growing discussion on “social innovation” is a case in point. It demands the development of manifold innovations which are supposed to solve society’s current problems. Also, most research on innovation in organization studies is primarily looking for factors which make companies or states more innovative and therefore more successful. 
Nevertheless the old path of unintended consequences remains worth traveling. For example the financial crisis of 2008 was in large parts the result of innovations, particularly the renewal of financing practices via new financial products. But most of the time, the unintended consequences are less extreme than in this case. One source of the ubiquitous unintendedness of consequences is that innovation, by definition, always contains unplanned and unexpected elements. 
In order to shed more light on such unintended consequences, we invite papers which:

  • empirically look at the unintended consequences of innovation on an intra-organizational, inter-organizational or societal level,
  • develop theoretical concepts on the organization of innovation which explicitly integrate unintended consequences in their approach, 
  • and look at how innovation and its meaning are critically discussed in society.
Session Organizers:
Uli MEYER, Technical University of Berlin, Germany, Cornelius SCHUBERT, Universität Siegen, Germany, Arnold WINDELER, TU Berlin, Germany and Robert JUNGMANN, TU Berlin, Germany
From Digitalization to “Disruption”? Service Networks in the German Energy Sector
Patricia GRAF, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, Germany; Heike JACOBSEN, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, Germany; Franziska BLAZEJEWSKI, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg, Germany
Shared Services Implementation and Its Impact on Employees
Petr MEZIHORAK, Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University, Czech Republic