Int. J. of Technology Management   »   1987 Vol.2, No.5/6



Title: Automation and skill: New directions


Author: Paul S. Adler


Address: Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA


Abstract: The skill requirements for the effective implementation of new technologies are often not well understood. This paper reviews the history of efforts to generalize about these requirements, and identifies a succession of schools of thought. The most recent trends in research, emerging simultaneously in several countries, appear to support an upgrading – as opposed to deskilling – proposition: in general, effective implementation of automation seems to enhance, rather than replace, human skills. This diagnosis requires us to broaden our concept of skill to include broader forms of responsibility, more procedural expertise, and the social skills required for teamwork. It also calls on us to revise traditional notions of the automation process of ''transferring'' skills to machines. The associated prognosis has implications both at the level of machine design and broader social policy.


Keywords: automation; productivity; skills; work; new technologies; teamwork; machine design; social policy.


DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.1987.026158


Int. J. of Technology Management, 1987 Vol.2, No.5/6, pp.761 - 772


Available online: 27 May 2009



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