The (re-)configuration of digital work in the wake of profound technological innovation: Constellations and hidden work
Klein, Stefan; Watson-Manheim, Mary Beth
This paper explores the technology-induced transformation of work by examining two fields, robotic surgery and teaching from home via Zoom. We begin by examining the perspectives of individual surgeons and lecturers and the relational, organizational, and institutional settings in which they are embedded. Recognizing and emphasizing the idiosyncrasies of these cases, we develop theoretical lenses that allow us to identify the dynamics of the transformation and patterns in reconfiguration work.
To investigate these illustrative cases of digital work and their implications, we employ two conceptual frames, 1) configuration work (Suchman, 2012), specifically emergent configurations of digital-human work, and 2) orders of change (Bartunek & Moch, 1987), emphasizing the role and development of frameworks in making sense of organizational change.
We thus combine multi-faceted accounts of individuals' experiences of “figuring out” how to make digital work feasible with reflections on how the transformation of work affects the identities of individuals, organizations, and institutions. We propose that this transformation affects the ways in which we think about ourselves, our colleagues and employers, and the institutions that shape our work.
Digital work; Hidden work; Configuration; Liminal innovation; Robotic surgery; Zoom teaching