Neil Pollock Headshot

Professor of Innovation and Social Informatics & Head of Entrepreneurship & Innovation Group

Background

Neil Pollock is a Professor of Innovation and Social Informatics and Head of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group at the University of Edinburgh Business School.

Neil currently works on digital futures, digital innovation, and digital entrepreneurship, and his research sits at the intersection between the disciplines of Science and Technology Studies, Information Systems, Organisation Studies and Economic Sociology. His books include Putting the University Online, Software and Organisations, How Industry Analysts Shape the Digital Future, and the edited collection Thinking Infrastructures. He is working on a new book provisionally entitled After Hype: Taming the Digital Economy.

He has been the principal investigator (PI) on several Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) projects. He is currently PI on an ESRC project on digital startups: the Second Most Important Pitch. This research project addresses an evaluation hurdle that plays a major but unacknowledged role in the growth and scaling of new digital ventures. Much has been written about the first equity pitch given to investors. While important, this is only an initial step in securing a future for the digital enterprise. A vital subsequent step is making a ‘second pitch’ to industry analysts. This further pitch (and receiving the backing of these market actors) is crucial for helping digital enterprises develop and prosper, but it has not yet been studied. Gathering observational data on these second pitches and applying insights from ‘Valuation Studies’, we analyse the factors that lead to some ventures receiving these essential endorsements and others not. See the following publications - From Pitching to Briefing and The Valorising Pitch.

Neil is one of the pioneers of the Biography of Artefacts and Practices (BoAP) approach. There has been much interest and enthusiasm for applying micro-sociological approaches to the study of contemporary organising. This includes using fine-grained methods - often through utilising ethnographic techniques - to study practice(s) within specific organisational settings. However, at the same time, there has been a growing question of whether such analytical and methodological approaches are helpful, especially considering that much of contemporary organising occurs not in one specific context or time but across many sites and an extended timeframe. This is especially true in the design and use of digital technologies – whether the enterprise resource planning systems used by a large firm or the algorithmic systems beginning to dominate and shape our economic and social life. See the following articles: Biography of an algorithmMethod matters in the social study of technology and Moving beyond the single site implementation study.

He has been a co-organiser of the annual PhD Colloquium of the European Group of Organisation Studies (EGOS) for the last five years. He was a co-organiser of the 2023 Interdisciplinary Market Studies Workshop (IMSW), which ran in Edinburgh on the topic of Market Futures - Future Markets. He is a senior editor at the journal Information and Organisation and on the editorial board of Accounting, Organisations and Society and Organization Studies. The European Group of Organization Studies recently awarded him the 2022 James G. March Prize for his co-authored article ‘The Biography of an Algorithm’. He received a 2023 best paper award for his co-authored article 'Figuring Out IT Markets' in Information and Organization. In 2023, he was recognised as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences

Research Interests

  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Economic Sociology
  • Information Systems
  • Market Studies
  • Performativity
  • Rankings and rating
  • Digital Innovation/disruption
  • Industry analysts and analyst relations

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Works Within

Research Area