Datafied Corporate Political Activity: Updating Corporate Advocacy For a Digital Era

John Murray, Mikkel Flyverbom

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Digital transformations have significant consequences for organizational attempts to shape their environments. Our focus is on how corporate political activity evolves in ways that require us to pay more attention to how information gets structured in digital spaces, and on how information ecosystems operate and shape strategic communication activities in organizational settings. We outline these digital transformations, offer a focus on corporate political activity as informational and develop a typology of datafied corporate political activity techniques to illustrate how the workings of digital spaces shape political issues more concretely. This serves to highlight the necessity of extending the focus of informational corporate political activity beyond the contents of overt and direct messages to include the more covert and subtle forms of influence made possible through the strategic structuring of information itself. This also contributes to our understanding of the political significance of corporate political activity, which is less about influencing political issues by composing appealing messages and distributing them to relevant audiences, and more about influencing political issues by organizing digital information and feeding algorithms. We suggest that such datastructures and algorithmic forms of sorting will become as important as message contents, and that datafied advocacy will become a central component of corporate political activity and other organizational activities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganization
Number of pages20
ISSN1350-5084
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Epub ahead of print. Published online: 18. June 2020

Keywords

  • Advocacy
  • Algorithms
  • Corporate political activity
  • Digital transformations
  • Strategic communication

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