Designing Technology, Work, Organizations and Vice Versa

Enrico Attila Bruni, Laura Lucia Parolin, Cornelius Schubert (Eds.)

by Enrico Attila Bruni (University of Trento, Italy), Laura Lucia Parolin (Ca’ Foscari University, Italy), Cornelius Schubert (University of Siegen, Germany), Barbara Mellini , Valentin Janda , Teresa Macchia , Mika Pantzar (Consumer Society research Center, Finland), Sandra Plontke , Sari Yli-Kauhaluoma (University of Helsinki, Finland), Annamaria Recupero , Yoko Akama , Alessandra Talamo (Sapienza University of Rome, Italy)

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" [...] the product of competent scholarship [...] an original approach and a smooth way of presenting a difficult argument on a topic at the frontier of several disciplinary interests."

Silvia Gherardi, University of Trento

" This edited collection of ethnographic essays uses the theme of design to explore how technologies, work, and organizations interact with each other. Taking the post-humanistic shift seriously, the essays attempt to show what happens when in technologically dense environments we remove the human from the center of the design process and focus instead upon the materials, practices, technologies and organizations with which designers and design teams interact. The result is a fascinating process of configuration and reconfiguration which provides a fractal gaze into the minutiae of practices, work routines, and organizations which are constantly entangled with each other.
The case studies, as one might expect, are wonderfully diverse including studies of hospitals, Italian furniture design, science museums, and the practices involved in designing a new video game. This work is theoretically sophisticated and empirically rich and will appeal to scholars in Science and Technology Studies and Organizational Studies and all those interested in work practices and design."

Trevor Pinch, Goldwin Smith Professor of Science & Technology Studies, Cornell University

The concept of design has been defined in a multitude of ways and used in a variety of academic fields, ranging from the classics of organizational and system design to studies on corporate culture, aesthetics and consumption. However, in mainstream organization and management studies, the concept of design has been ‘black-boxed’ and easily implied as an updated (and more fashionable) version of the traditional idea of structuring organizational processes. At the same time, working and organizing seem to be embedded nowadays in increasingly complex and situated technologies and practices. If the spreading of information and communication technologies (ICTs) has changed workplaces (and even the very meaning of 'workplace' as an area marked by the physical presence of different human actors), working and organizing mobilizes the joint action of humans, technologies and knowledges. The aim of the book is thus to discuss the relations among technologies, work and organisations from multiple theoretical perspectives and to engage with questions about design as well as the sociomaterial foundations of working and organising. The book focuses on the close study of practices and processes that inextricably link work and organisation to the use of artefacts and technological systems (and vice versa), exploring by means of different cases of organizational and design research articulations and disarticulations of daily work and design; the doing of objects and technologies in everyday organizational life; the reconstruction of organizational processes through technological and design practices; the relation between learning, innovations and technologies in organizational settings.
The book is addressed to graduate students, PhDs, scholars and researchers interested in the fields of Organization Studies, Science and Technology Studies, Sociology and Design, as well as to professionals and practitioners interested in new methodological approaches towards the relations between technology, work and organization.

Bruni A., Parolin L.L., Schubert, C.: Introduction

SECTION 1 - Designing work and technology in institutionalized organizational settings
1. Yli-Kauhaluoma S., Pantzar M.: Designing administrative practices through artifacts
2. Mellini B., Talamo A. The role of artifacts in professional communities and their relation with routines: the case of nurses' practice
3. Kamp Kragh B.: When EPR comes to work

SECTION 2 - Designing work and technology in emerging organizational settings
4. Parolin, L.L.: Designing a new chair, transgressing organizational boundaries
5. Macchia T.: Designing exhibition through technological infrastructuring
6. Vangeebergen , T.: Designing aroma. Perception as collective device of calculation

SECTION 3 – Work and technology in organized design settings
7. Schubert C.: Distributed design. The global manufacture of technologies and organizations
8. Janda, V.: The means of design work. Models, sketches and related objects in the creation of new technology
9. Plontke, S.: How things are designed and how they design

Attila Bruni is Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology and Social Research of the University of Trento, where he teaches Sociology of Technological Phenomena and Sociology of Organizations. He is a passionate ethnographer and his main research interests concern intersections between working, organizing and technological phenomena.
Laura Lucia Parolin is post-doc researcher at the Department of Management of Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, where she is member of m.a.c.lab (Management of Arts and Culture Lab). She also teaches Organization Theories at the Department of Sociology and Social Research of the University of Milano-Bicocca.
Cornelius Schubert is a post-doc researcher in the DFG research training programme "Locating Media" at the University of Siegen. He specialises in science and technology studies, medical and organisational sociology and innovation studies. His interests lie in micro-analytical studies of technologies-in-use and the unfolding of technological paths.

The book is the result of a collection of papers submitted and discussed during thematic sessions of various international conferences (EGOS, EASST, STS-Italia). The book also benefits from the insights gained during the second STS-Italia Summer School (2013): “Working and Organizing in Technologically Dense Environments”

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Book Title

Designing Technology, Work, Organizations and Vice Versa





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Publication date

June 2016