The Organization of Production: The Effects of Industrial Technology
Industrial Technology in Perspective
The application of computer technology has not been limited to administration and office work. In different forms it has even been applied to manufacturing and lately to agriculture. In manufacturing, computer technology has been used as an instrument for the automation of manufacturing processes and has brought about important changes on the organization of the industrial factory. Computer assisted manufacturing, computer-aided design, flexible manufacturing are some of the widely used terms for describing the involvement of computer technology in manufacturing.
However, the understanding of the impact of computer technology on the industrial factory makes necessary the appreciation of the defining characteristics of industrial technology and the forms of work organization associated with it. What sort of organization, labor processes and manufacturing techniques did computer technology come to replace or improve? Why is industrialism and industrial technology associated with certain types of firms and organizations? Only placed on the back¬ground of such considerations can the work organization inherited from the industrial experience be studied with reference to computer technology. Only by responding to the questions posed above can the characteristics, work procedures and relationships, which computer technology is supposed to promote, be properly understood.
It is well known that since its emergence, industrial technology has changed the social and economic structure of the modern world in various ways. It has altered in a radical fashion the conditions of work and communication, and conferred an unprecedented material affluence to modern societies. These changes have, in turn, generated other numerable social effects. To be sure, technology was not alone in bringing forth these changes. Other social and institutional factors contributed as...