Premium Essay


In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By tomix
Words 14431
Pages 58
Journal ofEngineering

and Technology


10 (1993) 229-264



Impacts of programmable manufacturing technology: A review of recent studies and contingency formulation
Jeffrey K. Liker”, Ann Majchrzakb and Thomas Choi”
“Industrial and Operations Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA bZnstitute for Safety and Systems Management and Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA

This paper reviews the literature on the social impacts of programmable manufacturing technology (PMT). Several perspectives on the social impact of technology are identified ranging from simple additive models that view technology as having a set of individual and independent causal impacts to a contingency perspective which views the impact of technology as dependent on technical and organizational characteristics. The paper statistically summarizes 30 empirical studies within the 1986-1990 period and finds common trends in findings as well as contradictory evidence. The common trends are that PMT tends to lead to more organic organizations, but also meets with negative employee attitudes, stress, and perceptions of reduced job security and mobility. The contradictory evidence is that most studies report simple, additive effects, while a substantial portion find that the impacts depend on a wide range of contingency variables. The authors argue that simplistic views of PMT as being a homogeneous set of technologies with unidirectional, non-contingent social impacts is neither realistic nor useful. A number of future research directions in this area are suggested. Keywords. Social impacts of technology; Programmable ing; Sociotechnical systems; Organizational design automation; CAD/CAM; Manufactur-

1. Introduction The microelectronics revolution in manufacturing...

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