License to Heal: Understanding a Healthcare Platform Organization as a Multi-Level Surveillant Assemblage

  • Handan Vicdan Emlyon Business School, Department of Marketing, Lifestyle Research Center, 23 Avenue Guy de Collongue, Ecully, France
  • Mar Pérezts Emlyon Business School, Department of Social Sciences and Humanities, OCE Research Center, 23 Avenue Guy de Collongue, Ecully, France
  • Asım Fuat Fırat Department of Marketing, Vackar College of Business & Entrepreneurship, The University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg, TX, USA
Keywords: Multi-level surveillance, Surveillant assemblage, Platform organization, Netnography, Healthcare


Platform organizations bring renewed attention to power disparities and risks in the rise of surveillance capitalism. However, such critical accounts provide a partial understanding of the complexity of surveillance phenomena in such shifting socio-technical and digital environments. The findings from a netnographic investigation of a healthcare platform organization, PatientsLikeMe, unravel how platforms become the locus where multi-level flows of surveillance converge, thereby constituting what we identify as a surveillant assemblage. We develop a comprehensive approach for understanding how platforms constitute a dynamic crossroads of micro-, meso- and macro-surveillance phenomena within and beyond the online communities they create. This study highlights this surveillant assemblage’s emerging practices and potentially empowering outcomes that enable multi-stakeholder involvement in big data and knowledge generation in healthcare. Broader implications of multi-level surveillance in and through platforms are discussed.


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How to Cite
Vicdan, H., Pérezts, M., & Fırat, A. F. (2021). License to Heal: Understanding a Healthcare Platform Organization as a Multi-Level Surveillant Assemblage. M@n@gement, 24(4), 18–35.
Original Research Articles