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Performing and Resisting the ‘Connected’ Worker as Sociomaterial Identity<br />Gillian Symon<br />and<br />Katrina Pritcha...
Introduction<br />Increased mobility at work need not compromise communication and interaction with colleagues<br />Geogra...
Introduction<br />This presentation focuses on the process of staying connected through our mobile communication technolog...
Outline<br />The case context and who we talked to<br />Contemporary empirical work in the specific area of mobile communi...
Talking about mobile communications<br />Rail Engineering, responsible for managing transport infrastructure in the UK.<br...
Research Context<br />
Research Context<br />
Research Context<br />
Smartphones widely distributed, from senior managers to front-line operations staff<br />Interviews with 46 employees from...
Sampling Framework<br />
Research on Mobile and Convergent Technologies at Work<br />Tends to focus on how devices such as smartphones mediate our ...
Rail Engineering<br />Same sort of responsiveness claimed in their talk with us<br />Our initial examination of this talk ...
Conceptualising identity<br />Identity work<br />Identity as an active process of discursive<br /> “work” in relation to T...
Theoretical relationship between technical and social<br />Technology as driving organizational behaviour<br />Social fact...
What identity are we performing when we use our smartphones?<br />
Sociomaterial Identity of the Connected Worker<br />We can understand smartphone use at work as the performance of a parti...
How is this sociomaterial identity achieved?<br />......as a seamless entanglement of technology and user: the connected s...
Performing the Connected Worker (1)<br />“because I was on the [smartphone] and I was down the pub I was able to just emai...
Performing the Connected Worker (2)<br />“... if the boss puts out an e-mail that says “something has just kicked off - wh...
Failing to Perform the Connected Worker<br /><places smartphone on table> the other thing that you will notice is that.......
The (Temporarily) disconnected worker<br />... the need as well for people to answer and say “oh I’m with someone, can I c...
The unreflective worker<br />I do have this worry that [the smartphone] gets people, even in the frontline, gets them focu...
Discussion: Achieving the Identity<br />It is the worker and the technology together that achieve the connected identity: ...
Discussion: Alternative Achievements<br />Challenging the particular form of sociomaterial enmeshing<br />Responsiveness n...
Conclusion<br />Bringing together identity theory and sociomateriality in this conceptualisation of the sociomaterial iden...
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Critical Management Studies 2011 symon and pritchard 2011

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Transcript of "Critical Management Studies 2011 symon and pritchard 2011"

  1. 1. Performing and Resisting the ‘Connected’ Worker as Sociomaterial Identity<br />Gillian Symon<br />and<br />Katrina Pritchard<br />Supported by British Academy Grant: No. SG-54143 <br />
  2. 2. Introduction<br />Increased mobility at work need not compromise communication and interaction with colleagues<br />Geographical hub (the office)<br /> replaced by technological hub<br /> (wi-fi or GPS-enabled mobile<br /> technologies) which enable us to remain connected, accessing our virtual networks at any time and in any place <br />
  3. 3. Introduction<br />This presentation focuses on the process of staying connected through our mobile communication technologies and how this relates to identity at work<br />Drawing on:<br />contemporary theoretical concepts of identity and the relationship between the social and the technical<br /> talk about mobile communication at work in a case organization <br />... to develop the idea of ‘the connected worker’ as sociomaterial identity<br />
  4. 4. Outline<br />The case context and who we talked to<br />Contemporary empirical work in the specific area of mobile communications<br />More general contemporary theory in the areas of identity and technology at work<br />Demonstrate how the connected worker identity is both (re-)performed and challenged through the interview talk we collected.<br />
  5. 5. Talking about mobile communications<br />Rail Engineering, responsible for managing transport infrastructure in the UK.<br />Operational issues include covering distance and<br /> ensuring swift response.....<br />
  6. 6. Research Context<br />
  7. 7. Research Context<br />
  8. 8. Research Context<br />
  9. 9. Smartphones widely distributed, from senior managers to front-line operations staff<br />Interviews with 46 employees from different levels about their use of these devices<br />
  10. 10. Sampling Framework<br />
  11. 11. Research on Mobile and Convergent Technologies at Work<br />Tends to focus on how devices such as smartphones mediate our relationship with work:<br />Extending work into home life (Towers et al, 2006; Mazmanian et al, 2006; Middleton, 2008)<br />Helping us to integrate work and home lives (Golden & Giesler, 2007; Matusik & Mikel, 2011)<br />Helping us to engage with work (but this may also include over-engagement) (Dery et al, 2010)<br />Overall conclusion is that social norms of use emerge over time and move towards an expectation of greater responsiveness but it is not clear why<br />
  12. 12. Rail Engineering<br />Same sort of responsiveness claimed in their talk with us<br />Our initial examination of this talk indicated drawing on importance of ideas of self and relationships with others -> identity theory<br />And that the technology was very much implicated in this -> social/technical relationship<br />
  13. 13. Conceptualising identity<br />Identity work<br />Identity as an active process of discursive<br /> “work” in relation to The Other<br />Identity as performance<br />The elision of identity and action<br />
  14. 14. Theoretical relationship between technical and social<br />Technology as driving organizational behaviour<br />Social factors as shaping technology<br />Sociomateriality: <br /> ‘entanglement in practice’<br />
  15. 15. What identity are we performing when we use our smartphones?<br />
  16. 16. Sociomaterial Identity of the Connected Worker<br />We can understand smartphone use at work as the performance of a particular sociomaterial identity: the connected worker<br />‘Connected’ as:<br />contactable<br />knowing others<br />knowing what’s going on<br />
  17. 17. How is this sociomaterial identity achieved?<br />......as a seamless entanglement of technology and user: the connected self<br />But also<br />..... how we can fail to achieve the identity through some disjuncture in this seamless sociomaterial identity, appearing unconnected <br />...... and ways in which we may challenge this identity, including advocating disconnection<br />
  18. 18. Performing the Connected Worker (1)<br />“because I was on the [smartphone] and I was down the pub I was able to just email the guy and say ‘look I’ll deal with it on Monday, I’ll send you the information you need on Monday’ so I think it keeps you more engaged with people so they don’t think you’re ignoring them” <br />
  19. 19. Performing the Connected Worker (2)<br />“... if the boss puts out an e-mail that says “something has just kicked off - who knows what’s happening here?” there will almost be like a race to respond, to ‘reply to all’ of course so that everyone can see that that person has responded.... There’s a pressure on me to live up to that... I can’t be in a situation amongst my peers where I’m excluded because we all kind of shift and move in the same direction, working at the same speed to achieve the same output, so you can’t afford to be too different to that” <br />
  20. 20. Failing to Perform the Connected Worker<br /><places smartphone on table> the other thing that you will notice is that.....<br />Q The flashing red light?<br />A If that’s not flashing after about 10 minutes you’re not very important.<br />Q Because nobody’s trying to contact you? <laughing><br />A Exactly. And it is interesting when you look across [in a meeting], if you have a [smartphone] and .... you’re not fitting in with the cultural norm i.e this thing’s begging to be looked at, then there’s almost a sub-conscious “well why have you got a [smartphone] because you obviously don’t need one”. And we’ve got people that have kind of got them... but they don’t really need it for their kind of role, but will play up to the status of it: “Oh yeah you have to give me 2 or 3 weeks notice for a meeting” and you will sit there in the meeting thinking “well you can’t be that busy because nobody’s trying to get hold of you for something”.<br />
  21. 21. The (Temporarily) disconnected worker<br />... the need as well for people to answer and say “oh I’m with someone, can I call you back”. I’m not entirely sure what that’s all about .... And this is why I say people don’t use the medium correctly. So you call someone, they’re not available, you can either leave a message, or send them a quick e-mail to say “tried calling you”. Obviously that person’s not available, that’s why they didn’t pick up...<br />
  22. 22. The unreflective worker<br />I do have this worry that [the smartphone] gets people, even in the frontline, gets them focusing the whole time on “what’s happening now, what’s happening now” and not thinking enough about “what do I need to do tomorrow, next week, next month”.<br />
  23. 23. Discussion: Achieving the Identity<br />It is the worker and the technology together that achieve the connected identity: employees perform the connected worker by responding on their Smartphones and being known to respond<br />Alternative explanation to ‘addiction’ or social norms: responsiveness is performative:<br />Responding performs the hard working and committed employee<br />Responding performs the caring, sought after and known employee<br />Have to keep responding to maintain that sociomaterial identity of the connected worker<br />
  24. 24. Discussion: Alternative Achievements<br />Challenging the particular form of sociomaterial enmeshing<br />Responsiveness not an adequate performance, sociomaterial identity also achieved through more strategic management of communication<br />Challenging the performative nature of the connected identity<br />Redefining effective work (reflective and thoughtful rather than quick and responsive)<br />
  25. 25. Conclusion<br />Bringing together identity theory and sociomateriality in this conceptualisation of the sociomaterial identity: identity performed through the enmeshing of the social and material and challenged through agential cuts<br />Emphasising the performativity of the identity: the connected worker is the effective and valued worker<br />

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