Information technology and the first-line manager's dilemma: Lessons from an ethnographic study
This research builds on the literature on information technology and organizations to suggest an
alternative to the current understanding of the production of computer-generated representations of work.
This literature sees computer-generated representations of work as automatic outcomes of information
technology that managers use to scrutinize employees. We present a ethnography of a desk-based sales
unit which suggests that first-line managers can address the tension between the need to enforce
prescribed goals and procedures and the need to adapt to and protect employees’ improvisation by
forfeiting surveillance and instead use information technology to build a façade of compliance with
prescribed goals and procedures. Our results to shed light on the hidden labours behind representations
of compliance and place agency in the centre stage of the process of producing computer-generated
formal representations of work.
da Cunha, Joao Viera and Carugati, Andrea, "Information technology and the first-line manager's dilemma: Lessons from an ethnographic study" (2009). ECIS 2009 Proceedings. 323.