Old and New Timings in a High-Tech Firm

Old and New Timings in a High-Tech Firm

Pauline Gleadle (The Open University, UK)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-564-1.ch008


We use a lens of organizational time and timings in a recent historical study of high-tech engineers in one leading U.S. firm, Techco. Our aim is to arrive at a nuanced account of whether such engineers emerge as being either highly privileged knowledge workers or as being “caught in the middle” between management and labor with no shelter from the harshest dynamics of capitalism. At the time being studied, senior management had introduced a range of measures, the effect of which was to disrupt existing organizational timings and so to threaten both the work and the self-identity of engineers. However, we argue that such disruption does not originate solely from management action. Instead the speed of technological change itself threatens to swamp the engineers, the very architects of such progress at the same time as new notions of organizational space render them more visible to senior management gaze.

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