Introduction The theories of modern’, ‘symbolic interpretive’, ‘critical theories’ and ‘postmodern’ are commonly used in intellectual debates on the studies of organization and these various theories are interpreted as perspectives. In this paper I argue that what distinguishes each theory can be understood by its differences in thinking style, each having it’s own inclination of ontological commitments and theoretical fixations.
Modernism acknowledges the existence of reality regardless of whether they are visible or not through the use of common organizational terms such as organizations”, “structure”, etc. However the critical theorist critiques this reasoning and concludes that the modernist way of thinking obscure the truth of reality with tainted ideology. Postmodernist thinking refutes this reality and believes that realty is transformational and continuously in flux. Symbolic Interpretive gives an insight as to how truth is socially constructed and that people agree upon these meaningful realities.
The consequences of the various perspectives mode of thoughts on how technology will determine the future of organizations are then explored in more detail. Mordents viewpoint: In general technology is defined as the usage of knowledge and organization to produce techniques and objects for the attainment of specific goals that may include practical reasons, symbolic reasons, or for reasons of generating profit. From the modernist point of view, organizations are seen as technology used for the meaner of providing needs and wants (Hatch and Continue, 2006).
There is a correlation between technology and organization in the way that the firm’s technologies influences the organization structure of an organization at administrative and operational level that n turn affects the performance of the firm (K. Abdul Ghana, 2002). As shown by Joan Woodward in her sass’s research on technologies that consisted of 100 manufacturing organizations in south England and the focus point was on manufacturing technology. The result of her studies indicates a pattern linking structure to performance when the type of core technology is taken into account.
The companies were grouped according to their amount of automation or complicated devices used in the manufacturing process and are broken down into three group types. The first group containing small and single set product flourishes in reference when organization structure is flexible, meaning that people are only recruited when there is an order, second group which are mass and large-batch production that needs an organizational hierarchy where managers have more control and power and the last group which is continuous, process production 0.
Woodward, 1965) Woodward believes that technologies determines the performance of through a “linear model”, where ideas and solutions are generated through research and development that leads to production of materials to the market and then the generation of sales from consumers. Proper, 1967) Therefore he future of organizations will largely depend on technology as per what Woodward determined by the technologies used through the different organization hierarchy and control However Thompson disagrees that technology is determinant 00 Hatch, Ann L Cliff, 2006) Thompson typology indicates that technology makes it a possibility to choose proper approaches to mitigate uncertainty and specific structural shapes can correct uncertainty (Stephen R, 2008). Three types of technologies that Thompson proposes were firstly, mediating technology that allows for linking up two or more parties to a transaction.
For example standardized procedures that allows for borrowers in a bank to receive funding and interest payment for those who are saving in the bank. Secondly long-linked technologies where there is a process of sequential steps that starts from an input and resulting in a product. An example of this is the manufacturing of cars; car engine and parts are the inputs and will have to go through a sequential process to become a car. Lastly intensive technology that is a transformation of a unique inputs into unique outputs.
Thompson typology can be explained easily with the use of his two by two matrix. With this typology, Thompson believes that technologies can fix any problems and help increase the efficiency levels in organizations, but the nature of interdependence between tasks and technology determines the level of organization interdependence. Person’s (1967) model infers that the degree of uncertainty determines the key technology characteristic and in order for organization to be effective, the amount of mechanistic versus organic must be taken into account. K. Liker and J. Haddam et al. , 1999) His classification breaks down technology according to their task variability and task inalienability. Tasks that are high in uncertainty e. G. R departments are associated with loosely structured organization forms, there is a lack of known knowledge or method to solve them when workers faces problems as compared to routine or programmable tasks that are managed by a more mechanistic structure with an almost known method of resolution E. G. Asking your immediate superior.
However core tasks viewing from department level hides the truth that different individuals doing the same Job maybe use different technologies, for e. G. An architect using a drawing board may sit beside one using a CAD terminal (Liker & Fleischer 989). Unlike Woodward’s argument that the best organization is base on the characteristic of core technologies, Persons argument is that there are more than one technology existing within an organization and that different management techniques and styles may be more effective for a given technology setting than others (Proper, 1967).
Hence the future of organizations will largely be determined by its organization structure to manipulate the technologies given at hand. Postmodernist viewpoint: In the latter half of the 20th century, a set of challenges to modernism arose. The philosophies in these debates were centered on the modernist epistemology. (Merchandising 2005). Modernist philosophers involve skepticism in a way to bolster knowledge claims but were criticized by the postmodernist that whether knowledge in the first place is possible, they also argues that a belief in something does not necessarily meaner an assertion of it (McAllen,P. 006) and thus rejects modernist aim Postmodernist deconstruct modernism as shifting away from the individual as the starting point for epistemology, the logic of knowledge is not only found in the human rain and body, but also in material structures such as books and computers, and more importantly in power structures and societal organizations. Hence postmodernist reveals that main implementation are of a social and community nature and not individual and thus epistemology must be social.
Postmodernist also acknowledges the role of power in rationality and claims of power. (Michael Faculty, 1977) states that once the human body is conceptualized as a machine, ‘power’ will seep into the individual to be dictated in how their actions, postures and how they learn and work with people. They will become an object for manipulation and raining, this is shown in reality where managers in an organization who welds power assigns workload to their subordinate and expect them to complete it in the manner the manager wants.
The concept of disciplinary power exists because of control and will cause people to engage in self-surveillances. An example of technology use in controlling employees is the usage of hand phone that is given by the company, you will have to answer a business call or a call from your superior even though it is after the office hour as the phone is given to you by the company, this allows your superior to also now where you are, what you are doing and also the progress of any work that is given to you.
Controllers are able to then know more things about subjects then the latter about themselves and also be able to make decision affecting them (usage of a punch card system that will tag the employee’s time of entry and exit of the office, this might be an indicator of performance). Sophisticated technologies are being implemented in organizations nowadays, we are becoming more of a hybridism organization that is taken over by technologies such as computers, phone systems, copier machines.
These technologies are created with the purpose of controlling our performance, behaviors and also to make us complaint and efficient and to also punish us when we are not behaving. These show us that the modernists theory of how technology is created to solve all our problems as a false sense of reality, modernist philosophers has scientifically proven that technology does solve our problems but the postmodernist says that it also creates an illusion of reality that obscure from them that technology is a form of control that ad’s-empowers employees causing them to be alienated and treated like machines.
This is further strengthen by the actor-network concept developed by Michael Callow, Bruno Layout and John Law (Callow 1986, Layout 1986, Law 1987) The concept is that of a heterogeneous network consisting and linking of both technical and non- technical elements. It is based on the fact that actors build networks that combine technical and social element. Actors can, not only be human but can also include technology and organization groups.
They are of equal importance to a social network and should be integrated into the same conceptual framework and given equal amount of agency to have a smooth running of an actor network. This shows that technology in the future will play an equally important role in organizations because if they are removed from an organization, there will not be any computers / telephones for employees to use.
Contrary to the modernist believe in technology determinism, when applying symbolic interpretive to organizations and technology, the perspective is concerned with understanding ways in which organizations uses symbols that includes languages, objects and/or actions to connect workers in their collective and relational thoughts. Technologies to the symbolic interpreters are the product of human action tit structural properties; they are physically constructed by actors working in a given social context, attaching different meanings to it and the various features they emphasize and use. Child J, 1972) They bring a different meaning to Woodward and Persons typologies of technology that is routine, for e. G. Data processing system in an airline reservation company must run continuously for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in order for people to make reservations. The people who designs them must also do so while they are in use, making technologies non-routine in a way (Hatch and continue, 2006) From the view of the symbolic interpreters, technologies are constructed through interactions and interpretations from people.
Instead of technology determining the organization, it will be people who determine how technology is created and that will in turn help drive success in organizations. An example of this interpretation of technology goes back to the sass’s, A high wheeled-ordinary bicycle can be interpreted by different groups as different names, woman calls it the unsafe machines, young males calls it the macho machine. Due to the different needs that each groups required, e. G. Male requires modification to the bicycle frame to allow for their long dresses and males requires speed or stability.
The technology of the bicycle is then modified to a variety of bicycles, the subjectivism of a bicycle according to what is real, agreed upon by the different groups and is meaningful is what spurs the modifications. A study by (E Julian, 1996) highlighted that technology; social culture and organizational culture are interwoven together. There is much face-to-face collaboration in a work setting of a IT manufacturing company, however employees believed that the large chunk of communications are done through emailing.
The fact is that sharing and interpretation of information concerning work are usually in face- to-face gathering and is informal and spontaneous. This indicates that managing technology is about the social interactions and interpretations made by people using the technology and not only about the technology itself. The effectiveness of technology in organizations now or in the future not only depends on the meaning that is given to technology but also the interpretation offered when solving technological problems, and also techniques for using machines and physical machine parts.
Conclusion: The different perspective explained in the essay offers different meaning to whether technologies are the future of organizations. To the modernist, technology is developed based on application of knowledge that is incorporated into physical objects and is scientifically proven to enhance efficiency and to attain organizational Thompson II, 2013)), this will greatly benefit the efficiency of crime arrest as the drones will be able to locate crime related problem faster.
However to the postmodernist, the implementation of drones in replacement of police officers is men as a form of control and invasion of privacy, every action that you make can now be seen by the drones and the information will be captured and transmitted back to WHQL, not many people will want their private life be opened to the scrutiny of the officers in charge of the drone.
All in all, I believe that technological changes are the results of cultural and social interactions that include organizational relationships rather than technological aspects and that the future of organizations will be represented by people who creates new technology to aid in organizational efficiencies and processes.