Workshop »Decision Devices. Genealogies of Managerial Media«

27 Oct 2015, 2-7 pm, Braunschweig University of Art


It is hard to imagine management without media. The larger an organisation, the more vital are the means of administration and control furnished by media infrastructures. With ideals of accountability and (self-)optimisation deeply engrained into the logic of contemporary 'audit societies', the interdependence between media and management becomes even more evident.

At the heart of management is the act of making decisions. It is also here where the role of media becomes the most manifest, from the bureaucratic and logistical frameworks surrounding decisions to Decision Support Systems and Decision Simulations directly addressing the problem of executive decision-making.

The aim of the workshop is to develop a critical-genealogical perspective on these ‘decision devices’, by discussing which relationships between human and machine they establish. What does it mean to 'support' or 'simulate' a decision, in terms of automation, delegation, formalisation, and the reduction of complexity? What notions of efficiency and rationality are inscribed into these apparatuses and what kind of subjectivities do they (aim to) produce? How can specific combinations between descriptive and prescriptive aspects be distinguished?

The presentations have been selected to cover different time frames as well as different technical and conceptual layers of the relevant media infrastructures – from databases via data models and algorithms to interfaces and visualisations. In combination, these perspectives will provide a significant contribution to the history of managerial media and shed light on the question why some of these trajectories are currently gaining in relevance.




14.00 Introduction

14.30 Jan Distelmeyer, Potsdam
Stable Instability. Managing Competition with Interfaces

15.30 Armin Beverungen, Lüneburg
Algorithmic Management: Decision and Control through Data, Clouds and Things

16.30 Coffee

17.00 Aleksandra Przegalinska, Warsaw
A Genealogical Analysis of Selected Ethical Decision Support Systems

18.00 Nathaniel Tkacz, Warwick
Decisions Everywhere (and Nowhere): The Taming of Cognition


Participation is free of charge, but please register until 18 October:


Location: HBK, Mediothek, Room 02/008, Johannes-Selenka-Platz 1, 38118 Braunschweig


Tobias Conradi, Rolf F. Nohr, Theo Röhle
Research Project “Business Games as a Cultural Technique”
Braunschweig University of Art