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Title: Mobile Technology as a Technological Drama
Author: Gomez, John Jairo
ISNI:       0000 0001 3503 2000
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2006
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In this research we study the implementation and use of mobile technology in the organizational context. We show how workers and manage:rs integrate mobile devices into their daily work. We demonstrate how thinking and acting 'mobile' reshapes managers' and workers' activities and interactions. The investigation is based on an ethnographically.informed case study in a Latin American organization, with particular focus on the social aspects of the use of mobile/echnology in the sales and warehouse processes. More specifically, we provide an account of the techno-political aspects of the use of mobile technology in the sales process at comers shops, which seems to be an under-researched area..·We also juxtapose the use of mobile technology at comer shops with its use in the warehouse. Such juxtaposition allows us to bring into view some of the subtle and complex techno-political processes of mobile technology in organizing commercial activities. This work is informed by the view that there is a need for more d~tailed work on the importance of objects (or non humans) in organizational research. As such it draws on actor network theory and the cyborg notion for its theoretical foundation. Indeed in this study mobile technology is an active actor, which we refer to as 'PDA' (as a proper noun). We show how PDA has acted as a transformative agent, an actometwork and intermediary, changing the way sales representatives, operators, .supervisors, managers, and even clients, work and interact. We show how the implementation and use of PDA produced diverse, sometimes 'unpredictable, and significant changes in the commercial process; in particular, we show how mobile technology mediates and enacts new relationships ofpower, control and identity construction. We propose and demonstrate how Pfaffenberger's framework of the technological drama provides the basis. for a detailed account of how the legitimacy or illegitimacy of mobile technology is the outcome of a complex, continuous and subtle interplay of competing political discourses which aim to fix the way 'technical features' are interpreted. In this regard, the designers and the opposition of mobile solutions use the PDA's affordances to shape statements and counter statements in favour or against the regularization of the 'mobile' commercial process. We have named this discourse 'the language of mobility' or 'mobile differentiators'. These mobile differentiators provide the language, at least partially, that competing actors ciiaw upon to shape PDA and its social context. As a result, we show that power distribution, regimes of control and people's identity are network effects of the ongoing technological drama of the implementation and use of mobile technology. For practitioners our findings may have important implications for understanding how mobile technology might reconstitute (or not) organizational processes in unpredictable arid often unintended ways. Keywords: Mobile technology, technological drama, power, control, identity, sales and warehouse processes
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available