Essay, 9 pages (2000 words)

Control of technology

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I must acknowledge that I have ne’er shared the positions of extremist currents, neither right nor left political tendencies. But I besides have to state that what I do non like of these moving ridges is the manner how they manipulate people to adhere to their points. Of class, one can take one or other option depending on a peculiar life, a specific event lived and the lenses that the environment puts on us. In this essay I try to adhere to the factual information and information found and I made a realistic analysis utilizing the standards that the grounds gave to me.

In the first portion I summarize what many writers of the past century believed about the influence of the engineering in capitalist organisations, I write this portion with the purpose to demo what my statements against refer to. In the 2nd portion I try to visualise the state of affairs and motives of those authors that made them to concentrate their books in a deterministic manner. Finally, I develop my points of position against these author? s statements, by utilizing more recent and updated information presented in some publications.

1. What they believe and why

The development of the society based upon scientific discipline and industry had led to some unfairnesss that some writers recognize being a feature of the capitalist economy and its participants.

First, Braverman ( 1974 ) states that proficient forces in the last century caused the displacement in business of the working population. He shows figures and statistics which reflect the retrenchment of the working category in a period of old ages since the beginning of the Industrialization. Harmonizing to this writer, any new engineering incorporated in the production procedure is intended to decrease the workers? accomplishment and cut down it to simple labour. By making this, directors can purchase the labour power more cheaply as dissociated elements than as a capacity integrated in a individual worker. The division of labour, he says, is done to divide the cognition from the workers ; and engineering is used to increase the sum of managerial control over individual? s work and the merchandise of this.

Over clip and with the new engineerings available, the work store manner was transferred to the office and besides the control and deskilling of the clerical workers. But even ? collar-jobs? received the same attack ; he states, for illustration, that the figure of employed applied scientists was reduced because there was an intense concentration of conceptual and design cognition in the computing machines and numerical control instrumentality.

Another author, Marglin ( 1974 ) , supports this position and goes farther, when he said that the production was organized in such a manner that the cognition of the procedure rested with the capitalist. And Hobson ( 1926, p. 349 ) argued that the technologically imposed design of low-discretion occupations made the persons easy replaceable by any other and so “ all work forces are equal before the machine ” .

Then, harmonizing to Clegg and Dunkerley ( 1980 ) engineering, occupation design and organisational construction are imposed to workers, making high degrees of alienation and disaffection, therefore doing them expose a deficiency of committedness that directors interpreted as indolence and undependability. Following these premises, consistent with McGregor? s “ Theory X ” , directors rationally introduced engineering signifiers of tougher control and a more extended usage of scientific direction which creates a barbarous circle. But, other writers such as Trist and Bamforth ( 1951 ) did experiments which demonstrated that an extended division of labour was unsuitable and unneeded with the debut of more advanced engineering ; they besides found that the hierarchy could be made more simple alternatively of complex when utilizing technological inventions. This and other researches gave more footing to the deterministic position that the major purpose of engineering in industrial organisations is ? to addition, maintain and increase control over labor in such organizations? ( Clegg and Dunkerley, 1980, pag. 348 ) .

2. What do these writers have in common? Why do they believe in this extremist manner?

Most writers base their ideas in the premise that directors, capitalists and proprietors are motivated in their application of managerial rules by the concerns of net income, economic growing and efficiency. It is really true in most instances, but this vision had prevented these authors to afford all existent facets that are involved when seting engineering into pattern.

These similar thoughts came from writers that were born in the 19th or twentieth century, when the industrializing moving ridge reached its extremum. They besides refer their research to developed states where there was a batch of force per unit area to acquire higher criterion of profusion in those times. Many of them were influenced by Marx? s thoughts about the Capitalism and their surveies largely were intended to explicate the on the job category conditions in mills and similar. And of class, some of these writers lived in conflicting times such as 1st or 2nd World War ; they felt closely the current of Communism, Capitalist and possibly the Cold War. These and other factors made them to follow a peculiar position at the clip they published their Hagiographas.

It was a surprise for me that these writers barely explained about the conditions of workers in the public sector or the Communist states ( which besides applied Taylor? s scientific direction ) ; this indicates that they had a clear purpose when composing their books. However, even if making a more complete research in all sectors and states, it is obvious that these authors constructed many of their statements with colored grounds.

For illustration, there are tabular arraies with informations such as the one presented in page 238, 240 chapter 10 and page 379, chapter 17 of Braverman? s book in which he states that “ a necessary effect of direction and engineering is a decrease in the demand of labour ” and “ the accelerated addition of other working groups has taken up the workers released from factory employment ” .

P. K. Whelpton 1926, Alba Edwards 1943 and Bureau of Labor Statistics 1970 cited in Braverman, 1974, pag. 238.

Alba Edwards 1943, David L. Kaplan, M. Claire Casey 1958 and U. S. Bureau of the Census 1964, 1973 cited in Braverman, 1974, pag. 379

Why does non Braverman see as a good thing the fact of more and new workers employed in the period mentioned? When showing his analysis, Braverman ne’er mentioned of import inside informations to understand good the whole state of affairs. Why does non he present Numberss about the human ecology in those old ages? As we can see in those periods, there is an overpoweringly growing of population which had pressed industries to bring forth more goods to be consumed. That large mass of workers that migrated to metropoliss was the consumers of most merchandises and the artworks clearly show that more employment was created. Why does non Braverman reference what was the existent impact of the engineering in the economic system of those developed states? Why does non Braverman advert the new accomplishments acquired by the new coevals of workers? Many administrative workers or capitalists in the 70? s were certainly the kids of the labour workers in the 20`s which it means a rise in the degree of those family? s life. Industrialized states certainly got benefit of this moving ridge and enjoy now a better criterion of life.

The reply to these inquiries might be that this writer had his point of position but I besides believe he did non hold adequate relevant informations or research about what engineering was at that clip. Technology was treated as merely holding internal influence in organisations and it was ne’er considered the external linking to environment because harmonizing to Moreton, R. and Chester, M. ( 1997 ) , Scientific Management focused merely on internal efficiency.

3. Arguments against Marxist positions

In any sense, Marxists might be right: the capitalist was person who tried to acquire every bit much money from the resources utilizing any available methodological analysis. But it was non ever possible, nowadays we know that any engineering incorporated do non acquire frequently the desired consequences because there is an array of factors and cardinal participants inside and outside the organisations.

It was merely in the latest phases of this epoch when society realized that Taylor? s construct of ? scientific management? is non frequently valid. Moreton and Chester ( 1997 ) say that a major misleading premiss behind this theoretical account is that the merchandise of the work and the fortunes are stable and predictable. Another premiss is that the deskilling of operatives? work and the consequence in their motive will hold small impact on the quality of the work done or the merchandises. These writers say that despite of this fact, information engineering was incorporated in organisations utilizing the scientific theoretical account because it was supposed to suit good but the effects were non exactly added value or productiveness. They found that the rates of betterments fell during the 90? s because the scientific organisational attack does non associate to the external demands or see other facets of organisational development. For illustration, Taylor and Katambwe ( 1988 cited in Moreton and Chester, 1997, pag. 11 ) asserts that “ it is the distribution of power within the organisation that determines the impact of engineering on organisation construction and the pattern of it ” .

In the modern industry it can be seen an “ advanced fabrication engineering ” or AMT which incorporates the capablenesss of computing machine and microprocessors to command machinery. For those who belong to the fatalist group, this engineering is shaped by the involvements of the proprietors and managers to maximise their control of the production procedure and evidently to deskill workers ( Scarborough, H. , 1996 ) . However, AMT occupations design is a decision-making procedure that involves societal histrions and involvement groups who brings their expertness and cognition during dialogues.

Corbett 1995, Francis and Grootings 1989, Scarborough and Corbett 1992 cited in Scarborough ed. 1996, pag. 101

A research made by CAPIRN ( International Research Network on Culture and Production ) , as cited in Corbett ( 1995 ) , found that powerful histrion in the procedure of occupation design seems to be the AMT manufacturer who manages to acquire users the dependence on their cognition and expertness. Because makers do non ever take users in the design and development stage, this dependence enables them to coerce the user companies into following systems that fits into manufacturers? ain production, development and funding conditions. However, the execution procedure will reflect bing restraints and struggles within the organisation and the local and societal worlds will break up direction aims. It is in this concluding usage phase when different constructions of cognition become relevant and at this clip the societal and political picks taken in the proficient design stage are stiffly constrained. Then, it is non ever easy to integrate direction desires in the occupation design.

Harmonizing to Orlikowski W. ( 1992 ) in her paper Structurational Model of Technology, “ in many organisations, persons may hold small control over when or how to utilize engineering, but these restraints are institutional, and are non built-in in the technological artefact itself. Users can ever take non to use a engineering, or take to modify their battle with it. The impression that engineering demands to be appropriated by worlds retains the component of control that users ever have ( nevertheless slight ) in interacting with engineering ” . Thus, the issue of control is non determined by engineering or the manner it is used by users, but alternatively command it is determined by the societal patterns that might be conditioned by engineering. Those societal patterns might be represented in functions, agendas, deadlines, feedbacks, supervising, electronic surveillance, quality control etc.

A director can put organisational control through ends and strategic programs for the organisation and so interpret them into public presentation steps but even making things under control or with a program it is non guaranteed an optimal public presentation. Because it all depends on human factor and one of the most hard things is to supervise the behavior of persons, presenting the control trough engineering does non intend to guarantee the coveted consequences. If human truly acted like a “ machine ” so it would do sense to state that engineering in mills or working topographic point is a signifier of control for workers.


As we all know, capitalist economy is an economical theoretical account that tries to acquire the most possible net income from each available resource that exists, but this is non ever possible and sometimes the ways to acquire that purpose does non work. That is the instance when capitalist in the last century used engineering to bring forth more expeditiously and to acquire control of their workers. And extremist writers try to convert the readers that it was ever possible to acquire anything through the usage of engineering.

  • Mentions:

    Braverman, H. ( 1974 ) . Labor and Monopoly Capital. New York: Monthly Review Press. Ch. 10 and 17.

    hypertext transfer protocol: //en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Critical_management_studies

    hypertext transfer protocol: //en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Critique_of_technology

    hypertext transfer protocol: //en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Control_in_Management

    Geraghty, T. M. ( 2007 ) , ? The mill system in the British industrial revolution: A complementary thesis? . European Economic Review, vol. 51 ( 6 ) , pp. 1329-1350.

    Orlikowski, W. J. ( 1992 ) , ? The Duality of engineering, Rethinking the construct of engineering in organisations? , Organization Science, vol. 3 ( 3 ) , pp. 398-427.

    Mokyr, J. , ( 2000 ) . ? The Rise and Fall of the Factory System: Technology, Firms and Households since the Industrial Revolution? . Carnegie-Rochester conferences series on Public Policy, 55.

    Marglin, S. A. ( 1974 ) , ? What do Foremans Make? – the beginnings and maps of hierarchy in capitalist production? , Review of Radical Political Economics, 6, pp. 60-112

    Hobson, J. A. ( 1926 ) , The Evolution of Modern Capitalism, London: Walter Scott

    Clegg, S. , Dunkerley, D. , ( 1980 ) , Organization, category and control, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Ch. 9

    Trist, E. L. and Bamforth, K. ( 1951 ) , ? Some Social and Psychological Consequences of the Longwall Method of Coal-Getting? , Human Relations, 4, pp. 3-38

    Moreton, R. and Chester, M. ( 1997 ) , Transforming the Business: The IT part, London: McGraw Hill. Chapter 1-3

    Scarborough, H. erectile dysfunction. 1996, The direction of expertness, Basingstoke: Macmillan Business. Chapter 6

    Corbett, J. M. , 1995. Planing occupations with advanced fabricating engineering: the dialogue of expertness. In: H. Scarborough, erectile dysfunction. 1996. The direction of expertness. Basingstoke: Macmillan Business. Ch. 4.

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