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Technology and Organisations


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Technology and Organisations

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