Giddens' Structuration theory provides a useful vocabulary for describing the evolving media ecology of the workplace. In this lecture/discussion, based in part of Chapter 3 of Taylor, Groleau, Heaton, Van Every's (2001) "The Computerization of Work: A Communication Perspective", we will examine how patterns of media use in organizations are constructed by the people who, given a specific set of responsibilities, need to get work done.
I would normally do two things at the beginning of class
I can't do them today
I don't have an attendance list so I can't take attendance
There was no reading assignment
So I can't collect your questions based on the readings
I normally structure the lecture/discussion using them
Let's instead quickly recap where students would be in the semester
I'm presuming a lot of material
An understanding of basic organizational communication theory
Classical Organizational Theory
F. Taylor/Scientific Management
Communication Network Analysis
The essentials of structuration theory
A lot of Giddens
A little Poole
A bit more Contractor
Mostly J. Taylor, who supplies the reading for today
And some equating of the concepts of structuration theory to the concepts of the prior theories
Every person in this control room has a computer and, one presumes, a range of computer-based media at their disposal (at least e-mail).
There is no indication that these media are used in resolving this event.
So how do we take advantage of these lessons:
Root reengineering in research
Get requirements from the people who do the work. Managers may not know.
A $50,000 ethnography of a business process is only expensive
Until you consider that a system that costs $100 million to build
may cost $100 million to replace if it doesn't work
Test reengineering before deploying it
A business process is a lot more complicated than a user interface
and it may be harder to test
but its cheaper to fix before deployment than after
Testing WHILE developing is even better
Engineer system bypasses into the system
Its a lot faster and cheaper to allow the people who do the work to adapt the system
Then it is to report system failures as bugs to be fixed in the next release
Tolerate a certain amount of misuse of the system
That is generally how people learn to use the system
When crisis hits its the relationships built on misuse that solve the problems.
We'll be looking into how you do this in coming sessions.
Index Card Assignment (due next time)
Think about this airport scenario. On one side of a 3x5 card name and/or describe a medium of communication/communication system, not in evidence in this scenario, which, had it been available, would have improved this event in some manner. How would it have improved it? What, if anything, would it have displaced?
Do your readings. Bring two questions to class based on those readings.
Unless otherwise noted, the contents of this page
were written by participants on the Media Space Wiki, operated by Davis Foulger,
and should be cited accordingly. For example (APA): Foulger, D. and other
participants. (September 18, 2015). Sample Organizational Class March2005. MediaSpaceWiki. Retrieved on from