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Leonhard Dobusch
Department of Organization and Learning
DiSCourse Seminar
January 12, 2023
OPENNESS AS ORGANIZING PRINCIPLE
Dilemmas Across Domains
second coming of openness within the
supposedly already-open society
“
Tkacz, N. (2012, p. 400)
1997
2001
2002
2003
Openness as Organizing Principle: Dilemmas Across Domains
Openness as Organizing Principle: Dilemmas Across Domains
How smart companies are
opening up strategic initiatives
to involve front-line employees,
experts, suppliers, customers,
entrepreneurs, and even
competitors.
“
Quelle: David Lerner, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Internet_troll.jpg, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
Increasing Openness as a PROGRAM
Tensions such as
“compromising speed” or
“burdening wider audiences
with the pressures of
strategy” (Hautz et al., 2017) as
limitations or hurdles for
achieving greater openness
II
IOpenness as the opposite
of closure, representing two
endpoints of a continuum
from closed to open:
Inviting more actors, sharing
more information >> open+
+

open++ as a normative ideal
OPENNESS AS THE "OTHER" WAY OF ORGANIZING
[S]trategy is traditionally exclusive. […] Opacity is
important to strategy […]. Open strategy challenges both
these orthodoxies[.]
“ (Whittington et al. 2011, p. 535)
Open strategy balances the tenets of traditional business
strategy with the promise of open innovation.
“ (Chesbrough and Appleyard
2007, p. 58)
>> 'openness' as an open (no pun intended) conceptual frame to
evaluate, adapt and/or complement established (clusters of) routines
as not “traditional“, “closed“, “exclusive“
NEGATIVE DEFINITION OF OPENNESS
…selective revealing
(Henkel et al. 2014)
…selective inclusion
…"openwashing"
(Heimstädt 2017)
Allows… Routines related to openness:
licensing, (re-)integrating …
soliciting, deliberating, …
auditing, window dressing, …
Dilemma of Normativity
Openness requires taking a normative stance.
Normative Anchors for Organizing Openness:
Transparency and Inclusion
OPENNESS AS TRANSPARENCY
15
openness in terms of transparency, both in
the strategy formulation stage and, more
commonly, in the communication of strategies
once they are formulated.
“
(Whittington et al. 2011,
p. 532)
>> routines of informing, communicating and discussing strategically
relevant information
16
Inclusion refers to participation in an
organization’s ‘strategic conversation’[.]
“ (Whittington et al. 2011,
p. 536)
>> routines of collecting, deliberating, and condensing strategic ideas,
maybe even decision-making routines
OPENNESS AS INCLUSION
“Open forms of strategy-making with
more inside and outside
organizations and more of
different actors internally and externally.
Whittington et al. (2011, p. 531)
transparency
inclusion
Surveying Dialoguing Rating
Informing
transparency inclusion
inclusion inclusion
≠
Dilemma of Inclusivity
There is no inclusion without exclusion.
CO
M
M
ERCIAL
BREAK
Dobusch, L. & Dobusch, L. (2019): The
Relation between Openness and Closure
in Open Strategy: Programmatic and
Constitutive Approaches to Openness. In
D. Seidl, G. von Krogh & R Whittington
(eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Open
Strategy. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 326-336
How are openness and inclusion connected?
How connected are openness and inclusion?
Openness as Organizing Principle: Dilemmas Across Domains
Openness as Organizing Principle: Dilemmas Across Domains
Source: https://stats.wikimedia.org/#/en.wikipedia.org/contributing/editors/normal|line|2001-01-01~2022-12-01|activity_level~5..24-edits*25..99-edits*100..-edits|monthly
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Systemic_bias&oldid=1131342067
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Geolocated_images_in_Wikimedia_Commons_2017-09-20.png
All geolocated images in
Wikimedia Commons as of 2017
Why is open for "anyone" not open enough?
Lack of diversity in spite of radical openness?
because of
Exclusionary Openness
Photo: UNESCO, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Online_harassment_of_women_journalists.png. CC BY-SA 4.0
Quelle: David Lerner, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Internet_troll.jpg, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
If your group has nine helpful
and polite members, and one
rude, sexist, loud member,
most women are going to
continue to stay away because
of that one member
“
Valeria Aurora (2002),
http://tldp.org/HOWTO/
Encourage-Women-Linux-
HOWTO/
Quelle: David Lerner, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Internet_troll.jpg, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
Routines of excluding
exclusionary behavior
as a precondition for
openness?
How to resolve this dual character of
openess-related routines as
both inclusionary and exclusionary?
Dilemma of Non-Performativity
Talking openness might prevent from walking openness.
a mismatch between how
the public expects
information to be shared,
and how an organization
actually makes information
available to the public.
“
Heimstatt, S. (2017, p. 77)
#OPENWASHING
Bild ShashiBellamkonda, CC BY 2.0, : https://www.
fl
ickr.com/photos/drbeachvacation/4623702054/
Non-performativity of Openness?
Non-performatives
describes the “reiterative
and citational practice by
which discourse” does not
produce “the effects that it
names” (Butler 1993: 2)
“
Ahmed, S. (2012, p. 117)
Questioning routines of (failing to)
talking openness into being as a
precondition for openness?
?
Quelle: David Lerner, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Internet_troll.jpg, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/
Openness and Closure as CONSTITUTIVE
Analyzing the paradoxical
nature of openness (and
closure) by focusing on
legitimate closure routines.
e.g., classifying documents
(as a form of of
fi
cial secrecy
(Costas & Grey 2014)) to enhance
transparency
II
IOpenness and closure as
inextricably linked and
interacting with each other
>> we
fi
nd examples of
closure in all empirical
studies of open strategy
CONTACT
E-mail:
Leonhard.Dobusch@uibk.ac.at
Twitter / Mastodon:
@leonidobusch // @leonido@chaos.social
Websites:
bit.ly/LD-UIBK // www.dobusch.net
Research blogs:
governancexborders.com // osconjunction.net
References
‣ Chesbrough, H. W., & Appleyard, M. M. (2007). Open Innovation and Strategy. California Management
Review, 50, 57–76.
‣ Costas, J., & Grey, C. (2014). Bringing secrecy into the open: Towards a theorization of the social
processes of organizational secrecy. Organization Studies, 35(10), 1423-1447.
‣ Dobusch, L., Seidl, D., & Werle, F. (2016): Comparing open strategy to open innovation: A communication
perspective on opening up to emergence. Working Paper
‣ Dobusch, L., & Dobusch, L. (2019). The Relation between Openness and Closure in Open Strategy:
Programmatic and Constitutive Approaches to Openness. In: Seidl, D./von Krogh, G./Whittington, R. (Eds.):
The Cambridge Handbook of Open Strategy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 326-336.
‣ Heimstädt, M. (2017). Openwashing: A decoupling perspective on organizational transparency.
Technological forecasting and social change, 125, 77-86.
‣ Splitter, V., Dobusch, L., Krogh, G., Whittington, R., & Walgenbach, P. (2022). Openness as organizing
principle: domains, dimensions, designs and dynamics–introduction to the special issue. Organization
Studies, 44(1), 7-27
‣ Whittington, R., Cailluet, L., & Yakis-Douglas, B. (2011). Opening Strategy: Evolution of a Precarious
Profession. British Journal of Management, 22(3), 531-544.

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Openness as Organizing Principle: Dilemmas Across Domains

  • 1. Leonhard Dobusch Department of Organization and Learning DiSCourse Seminar January 12, 2023 OPENNESS AS ORGANIZING PRINCIPLE Dilemmas Across Domains
  • 2. second coming of openness within the supposedly already-open society “ Tkacz, N. (2012, p. 400)
  • 9. How smart companies are opening up strategic initiatives to involve front-line employees, experts, suppliers, customers, entrepreneurs, and even competitors. “
  • 10. Quelle: David Lerner, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Internet_troll.jpg, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ Increasing Openness as a PROGRAM Tensions such as “compromising speed” or “burdening wider audiences with the pressures of strategy” (Hautz et al., 2017) as limitations or hurdles for achieving greater openness II IOpenness as the opposite of closure, representing two endpoints of a continuum from closed to open: Inviting more actors, sharing more information >> open+ + open++ as a normative ideal
  • 11. OPENNESS AS THE "OTHER" WAY OF ORGANIZING [S]trategy is traditionally exclusive. […] Opacity is important to strategy […]. Open strategy challenges both these orthodoxies[.] “ (Whittington et al. 2011, p. 535) Open strategy balances the tenets of traditional business strategy with the promise of open innovation. “ (Chesbrough and Appleyard 2007, p. 58) >> 'openness' as an open (no pun intended) conceptual frame to evaluate, adapt and/or complement established (clusters of) routines
  • 12. as not “traditional“, “closed“, “exclusive“ NEGATIVE DEFINITION OF OPENNESS …selective revealing (Henkel et al. 2014) …selective inclusion …"openwashing" (Heimstädt 2017) Allows… Routines related to openness: licensing, (re-)integrating … soliciting, deliberating, … auditing, window dressing, …
  • 13. Dilemma of Normativity Openness requires taking a normative stance.
  • 14. Normative Anchors for Organizing Openness: Transparency and Inclusion
  • 15. OPENNESS AS TRANSPARENCY 15 openness in terms of transparency, both in the strategy formulation stage and, more commonly, in the communication of strategies once they are formulated. “ (Whittington et al. 2011, p. 532) >> routines of informing, communicating and discussing strategically relevant information
  • 16. 16 Inclusion refers to participation in an organization’s ‘strategic conversation’[.] “ (Whittington et al. 2011, p. 536) >> routines of collecting, deliberating, and condensing strategic ideas, maybe even decision-making routines OPENNESS AS INCLUSION
  • 17. “Open forms of strategy-making with more inside and outside organizations and more of different actors internally and externally. Whittington et al. (2011, p. 531) transparency inclusion
  • 20. Dilemma of Inclusivity There is no inclusion without exclusion.
  • 21. CO M M ERCIAL BREAK Dobusch, L. & Dobusch, L. (2019): The Relation between Openness and Closure in Open Strategy: Programmatic and Constitutive Approaches to Openness. In D. Seidl, G. von Krogh & R Whittington (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Open Strategy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 326-336
  • 22. How are openness and inclusion connected?
  • 23. How connected are openness and inclusion?
  • 29. Why is open for "anyone" not open enough?
  • 30. Lack of diversity in spite of radical openness? because of
  • 33. Quelle: David Lerner, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Internet_troll.jpg, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ If your group has nine helpful and polite members, and one rude, sexist, loud member, most women are going to continue to stay away because of that one member “ Valeria Aurora (2002), http://tldp.org/HOWTO/ Encourage-Women-Linux- HOWTO/
  • 34. Quelle: David Lerner, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Internet_troll.jpg, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ Routines of excluding exclusionary behavior as a precondition for openness?
  • 35. How to resolve this dual character of openess-related routines as both inclusionary and exclusionary?
  • 36. Dilemma of Non-Performativity Talking openness might prevent from walking openness.
  • 37. a mismatch between how the public expects information to be shared, and how an organization actually makes information available to the public. “ Heimstatt, S. (2017, p. 77) #OPENWASHING
  • 38. Bild ShashiBellamkonda, CC BY 2.0, : https://www. fl ickr.com/photos/drbeachvacation/4623702054/
  • 40. Non-performatives describes the “reiterative and citational practice by which discourse” does not produce “the effects that it names” (Butler 1993: 2) “ Ahmed, S. (2012, p. 117)
  • 41. Questioning routines of (failing to) talking openness into being as a precondition for openness? ?
  • 42. Quelle: David Lerner, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Internet_troll.jpg, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ Openness and Closure as CONSTITUTIVE Analyzing the paradoxical nature of openness (and closure) by focusing on legitimate closure routines. e.g., classifying documents (as a form of of fi cial secrecy (Costas & Grey 2014)) to enhance transparency II IOpenness and closure as inextricably linked and interacting with each other >> we fi nd examples of closure in all empirical studies of open strategy
  • 43. CONTACT E-mail: Leonhard.Dobusch@uibk.ac.at Twitter / Mastodon: @leonidobusch // @leonido@chaos.social Websites: bit.ly/LD-UIBK // www.dobusch.net Research blogs: governancexborders.com // osconjunction.net
  • 44. References ‣ Chesbrough, H. W., & Appleyard, M. M. (2007). Open Innovation and Strategy. California Management Review, 50, 57–76. ‣ Costas, J., & Grey, C. (2014). Bringing secrecy into the open: Towards a theorization of the social processes of organizational secrecy. Organization Studies, 35(10), 1423-1447. ‣ Dobusch, L., Seidl, D., & Werle, F. (2016): Comparing open strategy to open innovation: A communication perspective on opening up to emergence. Working Paper ‣ Dobusch, L., & Dobusch, L. (2019). The Relation between Openness and Closure in Open Strategy: Programmatic and Constitutive Approaches to Openness. In: Seidl, D./von Krogh, G./Whittington, R. (Eds.): The Cambridge Handbook of Open Strategy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 326-336. ‣ Heimstädt, M. (2017). Openwashing: A decoupling perspective on organizational transparency. Technological forecasting and social change, 125, 77-86. ‣ Splitter, V., Dobusch, L., Krogh, G., Whittington, R., & Walgenbach, P. (2022). Openness as organizing principle: domains, dimensions, designs and dynamics–introduction to the special issue. Organization Studies, 44(1), 7-27 ‣ Whittington, R., Cailluet, L., & Yakis-Douglas, B. (2011). Opening Strategy: Evolution of a Precarious Profession. British Journal of Management, 22(3), 531-544.