When Should Workers Embrace or Resist New Technology?

15 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2016

See all articles by Paul Edwards

Paul Edwards

University of Birmingham - Birmingham Business School

Paulina Ramirez

University of Birmingham - Birmingham Business School

Date Written: July 2016

Abstract

The question of how workers might respond to new technologies has lurked behind many debates on the subject. It has not been posed directly, in part because of concerns about the determinism of asking about the effects of a technology. A preliminary is to set aside these concerns by showing that effects can be identified without determinism. The main argument is that technologies can be assessed on six dimensions: intended or unintended effects; direct and indirect effects; degree of reconstitution in use; immanence; degree of success and degree of discontinuity with the past. These dimensions can then be used to pose questions about any one technology. Three illustrations suggest how such questions can be posed in concrete conditions. Technologies can be challenged so that alternatives to extant systems of work organisation can be considered.

Keywords: new technology, lean production, worker interests, technical change, forces of production, Industrie 4.0, Impact of Technology.

Suggested Citation

Edwards, Paul and Ramirez, Paulina, When Should Workers Embrace or Resist New Technology? (July 2016). New Technology, Work and Employment, Vol. 31, Issue 2, pp. 99-113, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2808788 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ntwe.12067

Paul Edwards (Contact Author)

University of Birmingham - Birmingham Business School ( email )

Edgbaston Park Road
Birmingham, B15 2TY
United Kingdom

Paulina Ramirez

University of Birmingham - Birmingham Business School

Edgbaston Park Road
Birmingham, B15 2TY
United Kingdom

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