City Research Online

How Digital Platforms Organize Immaturity: A Socio-Symbolic Framework of Platform Power

Harraca, M., Castello, I. ORCID: 0000-0001-8386-3570 & Gawer, A. (2023). How Digital Platforms Organize Immaturity: A Socio-Symbolic Framework of Platform Power. Business Ethics Quarterly, 33(3), pp. 440-472. doi: 10.1017/beq.2022.40


The power of the digital platforms and the increasing scope of their control over individuals and institutions have begun to generate societal concern. However, the ways in which digital platforms exercise power and organize immaturity—defined as the erosion of the individual’s capacity for public use of reason—have not yet been theorized sufficiently. Drawing on Bourdieu’s concepts of field, capitals, and habitus, we take a socio-symbolic perspective on platforms’ power dynamics, characterizing the digital habitus and identifying specific forms of platform power and counter-power accumulation. We make two main contributions. First, we expand the concept of organized immaturity by adopting a sociological perspective, from which we develop a novel socio-symbolic view of platforms’ power dynamics. Our frame-work explains fundamental aspects of immaturity, such as self-infliction and emergence. Sec-ond, we contribute to the platform literature by developing a three-phase model of platform power dynamics over time.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is to be published in a revised form in BusinEss Ethics Quarterly This version is published under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND licence. No commercial re-distribution or re-use allowed. Derivative works cannot be distributed. © the authors 2023.
Publisher Keywords: organized immaturity, autonomy erosion, digital platforms, power, surveillance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Departments: Bayes Business School > Management
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Harraca_Castello_Gawer_accepted_BEQ_August_2022.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (390kB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login