There have been numerous studies regarding how the influence of technology has brought about change to the structure of an organization as well as its processes. Many of the studies have concluded that the organizational structure is strongly affected by the principal technology which the organization uses. (Volti, 2005) Technology, in simple terms, is seen as the conversion of inputs into outputs using machines, equipments and processes. It is a system based on the use of knowledge and organization, evident in physical objects for the attainment of precise goals. However, with the coming along of new technologies, as well as postmodernist and symbolic-interpretivist, it has further expanded on how we think of technology to include it into the arts and social practise. This essay will look in the modernist and postmodernist perspective which will provide the different views as to how technology, organizations, management and employees are related.
The modernist perspective sees ontology as objectivism. What this means is that they believe in the reality which exists externally outside the influence of humans. They see the world as something which is not subjected to others authority, waiting to be discovered. They believe that technology brings about value for the organization and that technology will decide the structure of an organization. Epistemology wise, modernist see it as positivism. They have a preference towards ‘hard’ data such as numbers. An assumption made would be that with the application of scientific method, it is possible to find the truth about certain events. This would then allow knowledge to best tested against the objective world. With the accumulation of knowledge, humans are than able to progress further and eventually evolve.
Modernists adopt the General Systems Theory which is influenced by Emile Durkheim’s structural functionalism. They are concerned with what are the factors that bring individuals and groups together. The concept of division of labour, central to concept of social structure is the core concept for the modernist. They believe in the quantitative methods of research. When studying organization as a whole, it must be noted that the level of analysis would be the organization and the subsystems and super system are the departments and environment respectively. The goal is to ultimately help reproduce the larger system by understanding the ‘laws’ which govern these systems and how an activity is being performed by the various subsystems. Modernists believe that the fulfilment of a purpose by an organization is closely related with technology to the environment. The increased improvements that technology constantly brings make it a special human venture. The example of us humans wanting to own the latest possible gadgets can be used for this instance. This brings about the creation of a market indirectly. The advances in technology are believed to bring about advances to an organization, positively and their level of steady improvement can be measured by its technological advancement. Definitions of technology can be broken down into core, high and service. Core technology simply refers to constant flow of resources that are dealt directly with the production of the products. High technology just means computer-based and services look into intangible services which are consumed as products.
Moving on, the modernist perspectives look into 3 most dominant typologies that emphasizes on how the dimensions of an organizational design is being influenced by technology. The first typology would be Joan Woodward’s Industrial Organization (1965). She basically conducted tests to see if organizational principles were actually put into use. It was also shown that compatibility of companies organizing themselves with technology was commercially successful. She found out that performance were of the highest levels when technologies of mass production were put together with mechanistic...
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