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      Unto the breach: What the COVID-19 pandemic exposes about digitalization

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          Abstract

          Much recent scholarly investigation has been focused on the promise of digitalization and the new ways of working and organizing it makes possible. In this paper, we analyze how the COVID-19 pandemic has acted as a natural breaching experiment that has challenged taken-for-granted expectations about digitalization and revealed four important issues: uneven access to digital infrastructures, the persistence of the analog in digitalization, the brittleness of unchecked digitalization, and panoptical surveillance. The sudden shift to digital work has exposed taken-for-granted assumptions about the universality of digital access. The crisis has also revealed that many highly digitalized processes still rely on analog elements. The pandemic has also exposed that many algorithms used in digitalized inter-organizational processes are brittle due to overreliance on historic patterns. Finally, the pandemic has breached fundamental expectations of privacy when organizational surveillance was extended into private and public spaces. Thus, the pandemic has laid bare fundamental challenges in digitalization and has exposed the limits of rose‑tinted thinking about the relation between technology and organizing.

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            Organizing for Innovation in the Digitized World

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              Can we open the black box of AI?

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Information and Organization
                Published by Elsevier Ltd.
                1471-7727
                1471-7727
                17 February 2021
                March 2021
                17 February 2021
                : 31
                : 1
                : 100337
                Affiliations
                McGill University, Canada
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author.
                Article
                S1471-7727(21)00003-8 100337
                10.1016/j.infoandorg.2021.100337
                9761397
                4dc3d108-70d3-4d36-9cad-385b226da5c3
                Crown Copyright © 2021 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource centre with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource centre is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource centre - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource centre remains active.

                History
                : 8 September 2020
                : 29 January 2021
                : 7 February 2021
                Categories
                Article

                covid,digitalization,technology,organizing,breaching experiment

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