Object-control: A study of technologically dense knowledge work

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Drawing on the literature on active objects and combining it with an ethnographic study of engineering work, this paper offers an alternative and complementary understanding of the problem of control in knowledge-intensive work. This problem concerns largely the question of how creative processes of knowing are enabled on behalf of the organization. The dominant response to this question revolves around the idea that when work becomes complex, the management attempts to control the norms and identifications of employees, rather than their behaviours. Through the concept of object-control, the idea is introduced that organizational objects participate on behalf of the organization in processes of knowledge control by interpellating organizational members; that is, organizational members are invited to interact with the objects and to creatively develop knowledge in order to solve organizational problems. The study covers ground that the established notions of normative control and identity regulation have neglected, and suggests new ways of advancing the scholarship of organizational control by taking the active participation of organizational objects into account.


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Sidor (från-till)1071-1090
TidskriftOrganization Studies
Utgåva nummer8
StatusPublished - 2012
Peer review utfördJa