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Martin Kenney, "Where Will Work Come from in the Era of the Cloud and Big Data?"

When Feb 03, 2015
from 12:10 PM to 01:30 PM
Where SS&H 1246
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Lunch provided. Please RSVP if you plan to attend.

The algorithmic revolution made possible by increased digitization, computing power, and network connectivity are profoundly affecting the nature of what and where work is done and who will capture value from work. The first part of the essay discusses pathways opened as ICT, and the latest ICT platform – cloud computing, transforms the way both goods and services are innovated, produced, and distributed. We suggest that production now has two aspects; classically understood manufacturing and ICT-enabled services, activities and virtual goods; both of which are being transformed as firms struggle to escape being relegated to a “commodity trap.” In contrast to the common view by many economists that computation, i.e., the machine, is abolishing work, the second part of the essay explores how the cloud is transforming the nature of work, creating entirely new platforms for the organization and monetization of work. In fact, work and its organization and labor market dynamics are being recast, and in the process more work than ever may be created. To illustrate this, we focus on one consequence of the generalization of cloud-based business strategies; an entirely new category of work organization, which we term, the “platform economy,” which is reformatting entire work categories through a process, we term “cyberformalization.”  The outcome of this process is the increase in platform-based contractual and consignment work. These new work organizational forms have interesting dynamics with important implications for compensation and types of attachment to the economy.

Martin Kenney is a Professor in the Department of Human and Community Development at the University of California , Davis . His recent research has been on the venture capital industry and the development of Silicon Valley . He is the author of approximately one hundred articles and three books including Biotechnology: The University-Industrial Complex (Yale 1986) and he recently edited the book Understanding Silicon Valley (Stanford 2000). He has been a visiting scholar at Judge Institute of Management at Cambridge University , Copenhagen Business School , Hitotsubashi University , Kobe University , Osaka City University , and the University of Tokyo . He is an instructor in the Technology, Management and Organizations program at the Copenhagen Business School.

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