Article included in edition Volume 13 :: Nr.2 :: December 2017

Empirical Research

Placed between the (pre)determination and the regulatory possibilities: A methodological approach to interpret the adoption and use of technologies as organisational choices

Daniel Silva1 & Ricardo Vasconcelos2
(1) Centro de Psicologia da Universidade do Porto
Faculdade de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação da Universidade do Porto
Rua Alfredo Allen s/n 4200-135 Porto, Portugal
(2) Consultor Independente
Wesemlinstrasse 15 6006 Lucerne, Switzerland

This paper presents a review of the epistemological and theoretical contributions of the Theory of Organisational Action about the relation between organisational change and technology. On the one hand, the rhythm and sophistication of the technological development produce visible consequences on work; on the other hand, the interpretative views about this phenomenon follow different paths, though sharing the same deterministic rationale. Drawing on the possibility to conceive technology as technical rationality of the action process, we propose “Matriosca” approach as a methodological option to interpret technology not an external variable or an exclusive outcome from social construction, but instead as an organisational choice, in which multilevel actions/decisions are combined in interaction to build the process regulation. This proposal is complemented by the presentation of a case in a Portuguese company, whose results provide evidence for the possibility to establish a dialogical process for the material definition of the technological artefacts.

Keywords technology; organisational change; technical rationality; actions/decisions; “Matriosca”.