Organizational and social theory are to be measured against the assumption that with the advent of electronic media, after the invention and implementation of language, writing and printing, another media epoch of human society is dawning. Instantaneity of data traffic, connectivity of all human activities, granularity of analysis of statistical data are only three of the keywords to be mentioned in this context. From all that can be discerned so far, society is reformatting itself as a network society, and it is no longer reason, as in modernity (and as always imperfectly realized), but complexity that is its cultural vanishing point. Complexity means that body, mind, communication, technology, and society are composed in ever new constellations, without any fundamental idea other than that of their ecological interplay being decisive for their synchronization. Complexity means that none of these entities underlies all the others, but each presupposes all the others in an unbound interplay.
In this society, a new type of organization is emerging in the form of the network organization, which gives just as much weight to horizontal linkage as to vertical control. Agility is the keyword of the hour: the internally organized ability to be controlled from the outside.
The Senior Professorship deals with sociological systems theory, sociological network theory, and with George Spencer-Brown’s calculus of form in search of the theoretical means capable of keeping track of complex situations and ecological contexts. The objective is to develop a tool that is as rationally accessible as it is intuitively accessible, enabling navigation in the labyrinth. Can sociology, to understand, describe, and design society and organization, counter the increasingly inscrutable data processing by artificial intelligence algorithms?
Dirk Baecker, who received his doctorate and habilitation in sociology from Bielefeld University, was appointed to the Reinhard Mohn Chair of Management, Business Ethics and Social Change at Witten/Herdecke University in 1996 and to the Chair of Sociology at Witten/Herdecke University in 2000, following research stays at Stanford University, Johns Hopkins University and the London School of Economics. In 2007, he accepted an appointment to the Chair of Cultural Theory and Analysis at Zeppelin University, and in 2015, he accepted an appointment to the Chair of Cultural Theory and Management again at Witten/Herdecke University. There he was also Dean of the Faculty of Cultural Reflection until 2020. In 2020 to 2021 he was Senior Professor of Sociology and Management at Witten/Herdecke University, and since 2022 he has been Senior Professor of Organization and Social Theory at Zeppelin University. Recent book publications include 4.0 oder die Lücke die Rechner lässt (Leipzig: Merve, 2018), Intelligenz, künstlich und komplex (Leipzig: Merve, 2019), Wozu Wirtschaft? (Marburg: Metropolis, 2020), Katjekte (Leipzig: Merve, 2021), and Wozu Universität? (Marburg: Metropolis, 2023).