Francesco S. Massimo

Algorithmic Bureaucracies. Limits and strategies of digital rationalization in two Amazon distribution centers

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: labor process, algorithmic management, platform capitalism, bureaucracy x

The development of platform capitalism and the digitization of labor processes have enabled scholars and the public to describe the contemporary organization of work giving particular emphasis to the role of algorithms. Through document analysis, interviews, participant observation and a direct work experience in two Amazon distribution centers, the article argues against the myth of the algorithmic organization of work. In order to do so, it proposes questioning the centrality of algorithms in management, locating them within a broader system of rules and practices. Rather than relying on concepts such as algocracy (Aneesh, 2006, 2009), the article tries to retrive and revisit the ideal type of bureaucracy in a «Pluralist» meaning (Gouldner, 1954; Burawoy, 1979; Edwards, 1979), putting it to the test of empirical analysis of the labor process.

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