When should workers embrace or resist new technology?

Paul Edwards, Paulina Ramirez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
517 Downloads (Pure)


The question of how workers might respond to new technologies has lurked behind many debates on the subject. It has not been posed directly, in part because of concerns about the determinism of asking about the effects of a technology. A preliminary is to set aside these concerns by showing that effects can be identified without determinism. The main argument is that technologies can be assessed on six dimensions: intended or unintended effects; direct and indirect effects; degree of reconstitution in use; immanence; degree of success; and degree of discontinuity with the past. These dimensions can then be used to pose questions about any one technology. Three illustrations suggest how such questions can be posed in concrete conditions. Technologies can be challenged so that alternatives to extant systems of work organization can be considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-113
Number of pages15
JournalNew Technology, Work and Employment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2016


  • new technology
  • lean production
  • worker interests
  • technical change
  • forces of production
  • Industrie 4.0
  • Impact of Technology.


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