Technology and Organisations
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Technology and Organisations

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  • 1. Technology Dr. Joe O’Mahoney 2007 Questions: 07906133649
  • 2. The Agenda
    • What is Technology?
    • The Magic Bullet Theory (Determinism)
    • The Failure of the Bullet
    • Other Stories
      • Social Determinism
      • Marxist Approaches
      • Social Construction
    Questions: 07906133649 Agenda
  • 3. What is Technology?
    • Technolgy: a way of doing something
      • Achitecture, Facebook, Recipes, Printers
      • Constrains and enables
    • Organisational Implementations
      • No ‘neutral’ effects
      • Disrupts power relations
      • Unintended consequences
    Questions: 07906133649
  • 4. The Magic Bullet Questions: 07906133649
  • 5.
    • Planned
    • Rational
    • Good
    • Determinist
    Questions: 07906133649
  • 6. The Battle of Tours, A.D. 732 Saracens vs. Germans Questions: 07906133649 Questions: 07906133649
  • 7.
    • The Stirrup
    Triumph of Technology Questions: 07906133649
  • 8. Philosophy of Determinism
    • Technology strategy as rational and planned
    • Clear investment decision
    • Technology determines outcomes
    • Doesn’t account for social ‘translation’
    • Doesn’t account for structural context
    • Preece, 1999; McLoughlin and Harris 1997
    Questions: 07906133649
  • 9. Rational, planned, strategic….. Source : Preece, D.A. Organisations and Technical Change: Strategy, Objectives and Involvement , Routledge/ITBP (1995), p.7.
  • 10. The Failure of Rational Views? Questions: 07906133649
  • 11. Failure of Magic Bullets
    • Failures
      • 25% projects don’t meet requirements
      • 31% projects cancelled
      • 53% over-run on costs
      • 80% don’t meet objectives
      • NHS // 3G // Passport Service // Boo.com
    Questions: 07906133649
  • 12. Utility of the ‘Rational’
    • “ The telephone has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communications. The device has no value.” Western Union 1876
    • “ I see no reason to suppose that these machines will ever force themselves into general use." Duke of Wellington (1852) Referring to steam locomotives.
    • “ There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” Ken Olsen, President of DCE, 1977
    • “ I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943
    Questions: 07906133649
  • 13. Bigger failures? Questions: 07906133649
  • 14. Different Views? Questions: 07906133649
  • 15. A. Social Determinism? Questions: 07906133649
  • 16. Social determinism?
    • SRBs
    • Trains
    • Chariots
    • The Horse’s Arse
    Questions: 07906133649
  • 17. Racist Architecture?
    • Robert Moses
    • Low bridges
    • Social exclusion
    • Winner, L. ‘Do Artefacts Have Politics?’ Daedelus 109 (1980)
  • 18. Social Shaping of Technology (SST)
    • Reflecting and affecting society
    • Technology as a political tool
    • Historical and material contraints
    Questions: 07906133649
  • 19. B. Marxist
  • 20. Control & Deskilling in Ford
    • Skilled workers have more power, so….
    • Simplification of tasks
    • Automation of tasks
    • = Redundant, deskilled, weak workerforce
    • e.g. McDonaldization (Ritzer)
    • But… little evidence ( Nelson, D.1992 ‘Scientific management in retrospect’ in A mental revolution: Scientific management since Taylor )
    Questions: 07906133649
  • 21. Surveillence & Invisible Control
    • The panopticon
    • You never know when you’re being watched
    • Self-disciplining
    • Prisons, asylums, car plants, the internet
    Questions: 07906133649
  • 22. Technology as Capitalist Control
    • Use by those managers to control & re-present workers
    • Managerial rhetoric of ‘modern’, ‘flexible’, “hi-tech”
    • Fit with capitalist consumerism of new things…..
    Questions: 07906133649
  • 23. C. Social Constructivism Questions: 07906133649
  • 24. A Matter of Interpretation?
    • US hi-tech weapons
    • Hi-jacked with knives
    • Boeing 767 became a missile
    • Technology as a social product
    Questions: 07906133649
  • 25. Bikes….
    • To Men
    • To Women
    • To Manufacturers
    Bijker, W. (1995): Of Bicycles, Bakelites, and Bulbs Questions: 07906133649
  • 26.
    • A range of options championed by different groups
    • Concerns are cultural, moral and political, not just technical
    • Change occurs through power struggles / consensus
    Social Constructivism Questions: 07906133649
  • 27. Conclusions Questions: 07906133649
  • 28. Sociological
    • Social Determinist
      • Technology reflecting society
      • Material and social constraints to new ideas
    • Marxist
      • Sees technology as ‘deskilling’ workers (Braverman, 1974)
      • Technology for surveillance & control (Sewell, 1998)
    • Social Constructivist
      • Different groups seeing technology differently (Zuboff, 1988)
      • Human aspects ignored (Walton & McKersie, 1991)
      • Domination of technologists (Bailey, 1993; Preece, 1999)
  • 29. Case Questions: 07906133649
  • 30. Case Questions
    • What are the costs and benefits of the introduction of the snowmobile for the Lapplanders?
    • Could the introduction of new technology have been better managed? How?
    • What different perspectives can be applied to help understand the effects of this technology?