New technologies and transformations of work in postindustrial society: Toward a framework for meta-analysis.

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/185974
Title:
New technologies and transformations of work in postindustrial society: Toward a framework for meta-analysis.
Author:
Iacono, Carol Sue.
Issue Date:
1992
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
While most scholars agree that the development of increasingly sophisticated computer-based technologies over the past thirty years and their ubiquitous use in work settings are important technological transformations, it is still question whether they constitute large-scale and meaningful social transformations. In this dissertation, it is argued that transformations cannot be understood by studying technologies in isolated and circumscribed analyses, rather they must be understood in the historical and socio-political context of their development and use. Several important questions are being asked: Will social relations in work settings be transformed so that they are more collaborative and less hierarchical, as many proponents of new group support systems predict? Will workers in computer-using organizations share equally in the production and control of skills and knowledge? Or will the use of new technologies reinforce and reproduce the current distribution of power, authority and knowledge in organizations? In order to answer these questions, a meta-analytic framework is developed. It comprises a continuum from micro- to macro-social interaction contexts, including six key fields of action surrounding the use of new technologies: (1) design; (2) use; (3) infrastructure of support; (4) work group governance; (5) organizational contexts; and (6) organizational fields. Four field studies are conducted with in vivo, ongoing organizational work groups using three new computer-based information technologies. There is little indication that hierarchical forms of work group governance are being restructured along the lines of more flexible and collaborative forms of work organization. There is, however, some evidence for power shifts among relatively disenfranchised high status participants in ongoing project teams. In addition, distinctive cultures emerged in ongoing groups that used group collaboration systems. In the desktop computing and desktop group support system work groups, skills and knowledge about their own computing environment were differentially distributed, so that lower status workers were less knowledgeable. Thus, the routine use of new technologies is most likely to reinforce the current distribution of authority and power in organizations.
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
Technological innovations.; Technology -- Social aspects.; Computers and civilization.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Business Administration; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Committee Chair:
George, Joey F.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleNew technologies and transformations of work in postindustrial society: Toward a framework for meta-analysis.en_US
dc.creatorIacono, Carol Sue.en_US
dc.contributor.authorIacono, Carol Sue.en_US
dc.date.issued1992en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractWhile most scholars agree that the development of increasingly sophisticated computer-based technologies over the past thirty years and their ubiquitous use in work settings are important technological transformations, it is still question whether they constitute large-scale and meaningful social transformations. In this dissertation, it is argued that transformations cannot be understood by studying technologies in isolated and circumscribed analyses, rather they must be understood in the historical and socio-political context of their development and use. Several important questions are being asked: Will social relations in work settings be transformed so that they are more collaborative and less hierarchical, as many proponents of new group support systems predict? Will workers in computer-using organizations share equally in the production and control of skills and knowledge? Or will the use of new technologies reinforce and reproduce the current distribution of power, authority and knowledge in organizations? In order to answer these questions, a meta-analytic framework is developed. It comprises a continuum from micro- to macro-social interaction contexts, including six key fields of action surrounding the use of new technologies: (1) design; (2) use; (3) infrastructure of support; (4) work group governance; (5) organizational contexts; and (6) organizational fields. Four field studies are conducted with in vivo, ongoing organizational work groups using three new computer-based information technologies. There is little indication that hierarchical forms of work group governance are being restructured along the lines of more flexible and collaborative forms of work organization. There is, however, some evidence for power shifts among relatively disenfranchised high status participants in ongoing project teams. In addition, distinctive cultures emerged in ongoing groups that used group collaboration systems. In the desktop computing and desktop group support system work groups, skills and knowledge about their own computing environment were differentially distributed, so that lower status workers were less knowledgeable. Thus, the routine use of new technologies is most likely to reinforce the current distribution of authority and power in organizations.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectTechnological innovations.en_US
dc.subjectTechnology -- Social aspects.en_US
dc.subjectComputers and civilization.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineBusiness Administrationen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.chairGeorge, Joey F.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGutek, Barbara A.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberWeisband, Suzanne P.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberClemens, Elisabeth S.en_US
dc.identifier.proquest9303316en_US
dc.identifier.oclc704294094en_US
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