Digital and computational methods in studying organizational communication

Organizers: Salla-Maaria Laaksonen (University of Helsinki), Kaisa Laitinen (University of Jyväskylä) and the SODA project team (

Organizations and organizing are increasingly embedded in digital platforms on which individuals and teams communicate and collaborate, which renders organizational activities increasingly technologically mediated. At the same time on public digital platforms from Facebook to forums, various forms of organized, collective action emerge with no pre-existing organizational entities, thus, creating new forms of organizing through communication in digital environments.

From a methodological perspective, the digital platforms used both inside and between organizations accumulate extensive sets of big social data that can potentially introduce novel research insights. Platforms such as email, chat and instant messaging, video conferencing systems, intranets, online forums, enterprise social media, corporate social media, and other work-related systems and applications not only mediate organizational communication but also preserve it archived posts and messages. Such data objects have existed before, perhaps in more material forms, but in digital format, they can be accessed and processed in novel ways. Digital contexts, thus, require innovative new methods to capture and analyze new types of large and complex datasets.

In this workshop, we will discuss the uses, advantages, and difficulties of digital and computational methods for studying organizational communication. The combination of computational, digital and qualitative research is gaining popularity in social sciences. Moreover, there are strong claims that the computational approach would enable making sense of large digital communication datasets. While studies of organizational communication, examples of computational and digital analyses are still somewhat limited.

The workshop begins with an introductory presentation by the organizers followed by facilitated group discussion in the form of a data session to facilitate existing research ideas that utilize digital data. This workshop invites submissions of 150-300 words that describe their (existing or potential) digital data and initial research problem. For the workshop, participants are expected to also provide an excerpt of their data.

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