WHAT MACHINES CANT DO - THOMAS, ROBERT J.

WHAT MACHINES CAN'T DO

ROBERT J. THOMAS

Yayınevi: California University Press

ISBN: 9780520087019

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Tür: Ekonomi

  • Temin Süresi 28 - 42 iş günü

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Virtually every manufacturing company has plans for an automated "factory of the future." Robots pivot and bend in time with silent music. Factory lights are dimmed. People are nowhere to be seen. Yet in this provocative and insightful book, Robert J. Thomas argues that smart machines may not hold the key to industrial renaissance. Taking us inside four successful manufacturing enterprises, Thomas reveals the complicated social and political dynamics that surround the design and implementation of new production technology. Advocating a "power-process" perspective, he explores the roles played by organizational power struggles and differences in worldviews in determining the form and the performance of new technologies. Through in-depth interviews with nearly three hundred managers, engineers, and workers and careful analysis of internal documents, Thomas traces technological change from concept to implementation. This level of technical and organizational detail gives him powerful evidence with which to debunk conventional notions of technological change. The case studies demonstrate, for example, that new technology may be shaped less by market or strategic considerations than by internal power struggles - struggles that pit not only managers against workers, but also managers and engineers against one another as they all attempt to realize separate visions of "the way things should work." Thomas, a faculty member at MIT, urges managers not to put blind hopes into smarter machines but to find smarter ways to organize people. Rather than recoil from the idea that technological change is political, he argues, theorists and practitioners alike should use political differences to inspire new uses for technology and more creative forms of industrial organization. In an imaginative final chapter, Thomas proposes an "aesthetic of process" for coordinating the aspirations of those who work in the factory, the engineering lab, and the corporate boardroom.

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