BTECH research seminar: Understanding Technology in Practice

The speaker for this seminar is Finn Olesen, Associate Professor at Aarhus University, School of Communication and Culture

2019.06.06 | LVS

Date Wed 02 Oct
Time 12:00 13:30
Location TBA

Finn Olesen
Associate Professor
School of Communication and Culture
Aarhus University
Pure profile

Presentation abstract
Our understanding of technology, whether as individuals or in groups, is not neutral. That is the case, when we use technology ourselves, and when we study other people using technology. Any actual work situation has its blind spots from the perspective of the user. It follows that successful, as well as erroneous handling of technological products and processes in an organization, to a high degree, depends on the users and their technology conception. Hence, it is highly relevant to explore the do-able functionality of technology when engaged in actual human use practices. In other words: How does this technology work, and how not, from this specific position, and how do users act, based on their understanding?

In the presentation, I will outline two basic approaches to understanding technology – instrumentalism and relationalisme – and I will discuss what advantages and disadvantages they entail. Also, the presentation will discuss how a new ordering mechanism, e.g. a new IT system in a hospital, is not just ‘fixing’ existing disorder. The new system also brings about  new disorders. It follows, that new technology, designed to improve work processes in an organisation, not only improve work, it also transforms work processes and tasks in unexpected ways. A basic understanding of how different professional individuals and groups grasp technology is thus a useful tool in the researcher’s utility belt, when studying work practices in organisations.  

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