Title: Computers and organisational structure: a sociological perspective

Authors: Nelson Phillips, Clarence Anderson

Addresses: Department of Organisational Analysis, Faculty of Business, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. ' Department of Organisational Analysis, Faculty of Business, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Abstract: The introduction of large-scale, integrated computer systems into corporations, government departments, and other organisations is a relatively new phenomenon, but one which has significant consequences for organisational structure. While existing sociological models provide significant insight into more traditional organisations, they fall short when applied to these new hybrid human/computer organisations. This paper is an attempt to develop a more comprehensive model of the human/computer organisation. The paper begins with a presentation of a typology which identifies organisations which lie outside of the realm of the more traditional sociological models. Next, the work of four important social scientists, Tonnies, Weber, Durkheim, and Freud, is reviewed, assessing the applicability of their work to the human/computer organisation. Finally, a new model is introduced which integrates the main themes of the more traditional models with the hypothesised characteristics of a large-scale, integrated computer system. The ramifications of the model are then discussed and some organisational considerations raised.

Keywords: integrated computer systems; information technology; organisational structure; organisation theory; large-scale computing; sociological models.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCAT.1991.062580

International Journal of Computer Applications in Technology, 1991 Vol.4 No.4, pp.217 - 225

Published online: 10 Jun 2014 *

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