Volume 1, 1990
Proceedings of the First Annual Meeting
Wiliiam E. Manello
People within Technique
The Human Face of Technology
While numerous studies on technology and its implementation have examined research and development organizations, strategic planning groups, and the managements delegated with overseeing technological change, they have not considcted in any detail the internal social processes and consequences of the implemetation of technology within the firm. This study examines the intraorganizational application of technique, a construct which encompasses both people and process, to technological change.
Technique consists of the process of implementing technologies which are innovative, either to the firm or the environment itself; the boundary spanning people and activities directing this change; and the social impacts on the internal stakeholders who ultimately make technology work within the organization. Ellul's realization of technique as a means to achieve values through the intervention of consciousness and judgment provides the conceptual basis for this focus on the people as well as the mechanisms of technology. Since technique involves innovative change, not merely procedural modifications, it offers the potential for extensive social impacts and dislocations. Boundary spanners then play a critical role as the intrapreneurs who directly influence both the procedures of technology implementation and the acceptance of technology within the organization. Finally, when innovative technology has been introduced into the firm, success or failure hinges on its acceptance and utilization by the people who are directly affected by the changes engendered by its introduction.
Understanding technique involves defining the meanings of technology and innovation within this construct, analyzing the boundary spanners and boundary spanning activities which mediate the transition of technology from potential to practical, and examining the impacts on the actual users of technology. The dynamic interaction of these elements establishes a framework for realizing both the social and scientific potential of technological change within an organization.