Technological Transparency in the Workplace: Black Box Algorithmic Culture in the Warehousing Industry
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Kozminski University
University of Szczecin
Submission date: 2023-06-20
Acceptance date: 2023-10-30
Publication date: 2023-12-13
Polish Sociological Review 2023;224(4):483-498
Algorithms in information technology influence changes in contemporary organizations. They monitor business processes, support decision-making, and help to increase efficiency. The literature has described extensively the applications of algorithmic technology in new models of organizations but few studies have addressed the relationship between algorithms and organizational culture. This paper fills that niche by concentrating on black boxing to address the technological transparency in the algorithmic workplace. This paper uses the case study of the Amazon POZ 1 warehouse near Poznań, Poland. The findings show that algorithmic culture has a profound effect on how employees interact, how they see themselves at work, and how they perform their job responsibilities. As we show, algorithmic transparency influences not only employees’ worklife but also the general positionality of the workforce in the wider political economy. We conclude by arguing in favor of greater algorithmic regulation.
National Science Center, Poland, grant no. 2019/35/B/HS4/04136.
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