I would like to thank my research assistants Liora Shakked and Sharon Kolski-Rosenthal.
The Rise of the Techno-Service Sector: The Growing Inter-Dependency of Social and Technical Skills in the Work of ERP Implementers1
Article first published online: 21 JUL 2009
2008 American Anthropological Association
Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings
Volume 2008, Issue 1, pages 8–30, November 2008
How to Cite
DARR, A. (2008), The Rise of the Techno-Service Sector: The Growing Inter-Dependency of Social and Technical Skills in the Work of ERP Implementers. Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings, 2008: 8–30. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-8918.2008.tb00091.x
- Issue published online: 21 JUL 2009
- Article first published online: 21 JUL 2009
This paper attempts to move away from portraying service and knowledge work as opposite trends in advanced economies. Instead, it maintains that a closer look at the changing nature of work will highlight the need to rearrange our aggregate occupational data so as to include special categories for a hybrid form: the techno-service sector. After presenting a typology of occupations based on the degree to which knowledge and service elements are intertwined, the paper analyze the work of Enterprise Resource Planning [ERP] implementers as a key example of techno-service work. It highlights the practices of ‘reverse customization’ and ‘translation’ performed by the implementers, which effectively combine service and knowledge work. The paper explains the growing inter-dependency of social and technical skills by the shift from the sale of a product to the sale of a process. This shift underpins the growing penetration of professional work into the heart of the industrial enterprise.