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Title page for ETD etd-12022010-173927

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Touve, David Charles
Author's Email Address david@touve.com
URN etd-12022010-173927
Title Ghosts in the shell: An investigation of the relationship between automation and the nature of work.
Degree PhD
Department Management
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bruce Barry Committee Chair
Bart Victor Committee Member
Richard L. Daft Committee Member
Salvatore T. March Committee Member
  • automation
  • management
  • work
  • occupations
  • technology
Date of Defense 2010-12-01
Availability unrestricted
This dissertation addresses the question, “What are the consequences of

automation for the nature of work.” First, I summarize the various approaches within the literature on management and organizations to the matters of technology, work, and social structure. Second, I present three groups of competing hypotheses that have persisted in the management literature regarding the relationship between automation and the nature of work. Third, these competing hypotheses are tested using data gathered as part of the O*NET project, comprising the responses of more than 100,000 individuals across nearly 800 occupations to various aspects of their work. I find that, in general, greater levels of automation alongside work are associated with greater levels of routinization, but lesser levels of education. Furthermore, I find that those occupations with little resource control see a strong and negative link between automation and education while those with high levels of resource control see no such reliable link. Finally, I summarize the implications of these findings for management research and practice, highlighting a challenge I describe as the automatorʼs dilemma, and outline new directions for research at the intersection of organizations, work, and automation.

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