Visibility Management: New Managerial Work in Digitalized Organizations
Visibility management is becoming an important task in organizations as work is increasingly made visible by digital technologies, but the consequences of increased visibility for management are still underexplored. Based on a qualitative study in heavily digitalized public organizations, the paper investigates managers’ experiences with visibility and control. New concerns arise relating to the risk of employee prying, increase in visualizations of workflow deviations, and the explosion in performance indications. These concerns entail new types of managerial work that we refer to as visibility management, consisting of technological mediation work, relation work, and compensation work. By identifying these types of work, the study challenges the assumption that more visibility, understood as increased ease of access to information, automatically eases control tasks for managers. The paper offers a vocabulary that can help practitioners describe and better understand new types of otherwise often invisible managerial work in digitalized organizations.
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