Information and communication technologies and the network organization: A critical analysis

Authors


Department of Organizational Psychology, Birkbeck College, University of London, Malet Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7HX, UK (e-mail: g.symon@bbk.ac.uk).

Abstract

Recently, it has been suggested that we are witnessing the emergence of post-bureaucratic forms of organization, including the ‘network’ organization. The emergence of such new forms is seen to be closely tied to developments in the provision of computer-based technologies. In this paper, assumed links between new ways of organizing and new technologies are critically assessed, through an analysis of the empirical and theoretical literature. This analysis reveals a more complex picture than is usually presented and highlights weaknesses in some of the underlying conceptualization. In particular, it is not clear that new technologies are either able to support the new ways of working envisaged or that they herald a transformation in working practices. In conclusion, it is argued that insightful and useful research questions are waiting to be addressed by occupational psychologists who adopt a more critical and analytical perspective.

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