Tea in TiP with Sébastien Brossard

Rachel: Hi Sébastien, welcome to Tea in TiP. Tell us about your project?

Sébastien: I am in the final year of my PhD at the department of Management, Society and Communication at the Copenhagen Business School. My PhD project aims to investigate, from an organizational perspective, the mutual and processual shaping of the implementation of algorithmic management systems (AMS) and the agency of employees in the face of these systems. My supervisors are Mikkel Flyverbom from CBS and Brit Ross Winthereik, formerly head of the Digital Welfare Center at ITU – now at DTU.

I did one of my fieldworks at a marine engine company, where I had the opportunity to observe the fascinating work of marine mechanics in the bowels of tankers. In my other fieldwork, I followed binmen that, despite their formal ignorance of IT, managed to crawl through the intricacies of connected waste bins in such an ingenious way that their mastery sparked the idea for one of the main concepts – the ‘techno-subject’ – at the core of my thesis!


Rachel: Cool! So what have you been working on during your stay at ITU?

Sébastien: In my department at CBS, AMS are a small part of the overall research focus on management and organizations, so for me, being at ITU is the opportunity to put the technological object at the center and get new perspectives on it. I find it particularly exciting to look at AMS through the lenses of the TiP, Reflact or ISDI research groups here, e.g. anthropological, societal, political and even environmental perspectives. It’s incredibly valuable for opening up new avenues in my research. In this respect, the Action Research initiative led by Reflact and the anthropological approach in many TiP projects have been eye-openers for me.

Rachel: And what have you learned about academia from visiting another institutional context?

Sébastien: I would say that first of all, it enabled me to understand the common challenges of working in academia, which in turn highlighted for me the inestimable values that underpin it – and which need to be defended: independence, critical thinking, freedom of thought in the face of the ‘common sense’ born by any institution.


Rachel: Where can we read your work, published or forthcoming- or hear you at conference in the next year or so?

Sébastien: At the moment you would expect to hear me at organizational conferences (e.g. EGOS) and in organizational journals. Nevertheless, as explained above, I do not exclude, after my visit at ITU, expanding the scope of my interventions into the fields of techno-anthropology and action research.

Rachel: Awesome. And what’s the photo you’d share of encapsulating your experience at ITU?

looking into the atrium of the IT University of Copenhagen, one sees 'boxes' (rooms) jutting out of the side, and people wandering around far below. The photo is taken near the ceiling, where light is streaming in.


“Every time I enter ITU’s building, I enjoy the emulating, vibrant feeling of innovative activity that emanates from its transparent and non-hierarchical environment.

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