The session started with a review of Friedman’s lecture at MIT
Thomas Friedman – The World is Flat (VIDEO)
The World is Flat (May 2005) – http://video.mit.edu/watch/the-world-is-flat-9145/
The review concluded that Friedman’s analysis has merit but there is perhaps over emphasis on technology as a causal agent. The fact that world is becoming flatter cannot simply be defined by the advent of technology& internet but sociological, legal, cultural & political changes are also equally important.
Friedman is rather trying to dramatize the situation by invoking fear of kids losing jobs to Indian & Chinese kids while you were sleeping… This rhetoric of fear is perhaps the biggest fault in his analysis. The target audience for him is Western and particularly American public but then he is guilty of narrow outlook and that too for concept which needs a global perspective.
The session then took up the critique of Friedman’s theory from Aronico Ramdoo. The critique is pretty damning in nature and even accuses Friedman of misinformation which I don’t think is correct.
Critique of Friedman
One interesting critique of Friedman’s thesis:
Next the readings for the session were discussed
Lepore – Disruption
Lepore theory of disruption has the same tone as Friedman for its rhetorical nature and invocation of fear as the basis for the argument. “The idea of innovation is the idea of progress stripped of the aspirations of the Enlightenment, scrubbed clean of the horrors of the twentieth century, and relieved of its critics. Disruptive innovation goes further, holding out the hope of salvation against the very damnation it describes: disrupt, and you will be saved.”
Lepore – The disruption machine.pdf (486.516 KB)
Lepore, J. (2014). The disruption machine: what the gospel of innovation gets wrong. The New Yorker.
Winter & Taylor
The Winter and Taylor’s analysis of industrial & post-industrial society was discussed. It was accepted as a thorough analysis with a historical perspective. The concept of technological determinism was discussed from both the angles i.e. arguments in favour & against.
Winter, S. J. and S. L. Taylor (1996). “The role of IT in the transformation of work: a comparison of post-industrial, industrial, and proto-industrial organization.” Information Systems Research 7(1): 5-21
Next Shalizi blog was discussed which revolved around the points raised in Beniger’s book on The Control Revolution. Shalize’s contention was that information age started not with the advent of machines but with the introduction of information processes and procedures.
Shalizi, C. R. (1997). “The Information Society and the Information Economy.” from http://bactra.org/notebooks/information-society.html
Introna & Tiow
Then lastly Introna’s paper of Virtual organisation was discussed. The definition of virtual organisation appeared to be contentious. The notion that virtual organisation is temporary was unpalatable but it was decided not to hang up on definition per se.
The ‘virtual’ has almost become now a metaphor for technology. The concept of virtual memory, virtual computer, virtual reality connotes IT with capability to provide more with less and giving an illusion to exist at any time & place.
The elements of virtual organisation was discussed like Strategic Alliance, Core Comptence, Trust & Organisational restructuring.
The critique was discussed in particular detail, three three areas critiqued in the article were discussed
- Trust & Conflict
- Wholes & Parts
- Knowledge & Language
This module is focussed on the 3rd point and concept of knowledge & language will be reviewed in detail in this course. Wittgenstein’s notion that language is always situated was discussed in detail. The concept of codification of knowledge appears to be related to indexation of language as postulated by Wittgenstein.
Introna_and_Tiow__Virtual_Org.pdf (1.244 MB)
Introna, L. D. and Tiow, B. L. (1997), “Thinking about virtual organisations and the future”, in 5th European Conference on Information Systems, Vol. 2 (Eds, Galliers, R., Murphy, C., Hansen, H. R., O’Callaghan, R., Carlsson, S. and Loebbecke, C.) Cork Publishing, Cork.