Kybernetik und Kontrolle
Algorithmische Arbeitssteuerung und betriebliche Herrschaft
This paper analyses algorithmic control in labour processes as cybernetization of production. It starts from two empirical cases, the process management system Salesforce and sensor-based feedback systems for industrial production. In both cases, we conducted interviews with managers, developers and workers. From this basis, we argue that feedback-based cybernetic control constitutes a new quality of domination in the context of capitalist labour. The central vision put forward by the steering personnel interviewed by us is one of controlled self-organization of labour processes. This vision in turn is grounded on the elimination of cognitive planning and hierarchical order and therefore contrasted with human reflexivity on the level of the worker as well as the manager. Contrasting visions of cybernetic control with theories of reflexive action, we argue that cybernetics can be understood as the attempt to solve the “reflexivity problem” of modern control systems.