Information technologies have become both a means and an end, transforming the workplace and how work is performed. This ongoing evolution in the work process has received extensive coverage but relatively little attention has been given to how changing technologies and work practices affect the workers themselves. This volume specifically examines the institutional and social environment of the workplaces that information technologies have created.
Compilations of scholarly essays are often written by members of a particular school of thought, whose purpose is to flesh out an area of theory or methodology. Information Technology and the World of Work takes a different approach: these essays are written by diverse voices, unified in their interest in the common theme of technology and the changing workplace. The authors' goals are to present perspectives that raise as many questions as they answer, and which are accessible to a broad audience of managers, union leaders, students, and academic readers.
The chapters are organized into three specific topical areas that represent aspects of workers' social and political experiences of work that are affected by technology. Part 1 addresses how information technologies affect workers' unions. Part 2 examines how information technology affects individual employees, specifically in terms of employees' sense of power and identity. Chapters in this section examine the social and psychological reactions of workers within the system. Part 3 focuses on one of the most contentious outcomes of this changed workplace, reviewing emerging policy and privacy issues that new technologies have created.
Written with the intent of beginning an important discussion of these issues, this volume should provide an impetus for others to make their own contribution to the emerging dialogue on technology in the modern workplace.
Daphne G. Taras is professor of industrial relations and associate dean (research) in the Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary. James T. Bennett is professor of economics at George Mason University, and founder and editor of the Journal of Labor Research. Anthony M. Townsend is an associate professor of management information systems in the College of Business at Iowa State University, and on the faculty of Iowa State University Industrial Relations Center.