"Digital Taylorism"? Data Practices and Governance in the Enterprise Software Salesforce
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This paper provides an investigation of the economy of the enterprise software Salesforce. The investigation looks at epistemologically distinct practices inscribed in enterprise software and challenges the notion of “digital Taylorism” by looking closer at current as well as historical practices of process management. While Taylor’s systematic approach involved a combination of distributed practices, Salesforce is an enterprise software platform that connects these practices digitally. Rather than examining the role of workers, the paper focuses particularly on the media techniques of Taylorism and the technologies in contemporary working environments that render organizational structures and courses of action available for algorithmic governance. Thereby, the paper seeks to contribute an additional theorization for organization studies and media theory. The mediated practices are conceptualized in four categories that allow for a contrast of Taylor’s approach with contemporary process management practices. In addition to an analysis of Taylor’s original texts and a document analysis of Salesforce whitepapers, this paper also presents empirical insights. The paper aims to shed light on the relation between techniques involved in Taylorist process management and governing modes of the enterprise software Salesforce.