Episode 16140: People, Lines and Boxes

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What happens to an organization when you introduce a new technology?

Before we answer that question, we listen to a public services announcement from Anna, the intern. She feels that she knows what we need to know, and she is going to give us that information whether we like it or not.

We think of technology as changing the position or function of workers. This is true but it also changes the status of workers as well. Status is not merely the standing of an individual in a group. It measures communication, effectiveness and charisma (a quality that Anna particularly loves.) While technology changes position and function in predictable ways, it can produce unanticipated changes on status. It can even bring an intern and her little dog into prominence.

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Background

The ideas in this episode come from the work of Frank Levy and Richard Murnane, The new division of labor : how computers are creating the next job market,  Princeton University Press, c2004; as well as the classic ideas of Peter Drucker, The new society; the anatomy of the industrial order, Harper, 1950.

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