'... the walls fell down but the blokes just coded ...' - Varieties of stability in software product development during organizational restructurings

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Title: '... the walls fell down but the blokes just coded ...' - Varieties of stability in software product development during organizational restructurings
Author: Segercrantz, Beata
Contributor: Svenska handelshögskolan, institutionen för företagsledning och organisation, företagsledning och organisation
Hanken School of Economics, Department of Management and Organisation, Management and Organisation
Belongs to series: 226
ISSN: 0424-7256
ISBN: 978-952-232-122-0
Abstract: Many Finnish IT companies have gone through numerous organizational changes over the past decades. This book draws attention to how stability may be central to software product development experts and IT workers more generally, who continuously have to cope with such change in their workplaces. It does so by analyzing and theorizing change and stability as intertwined and co-existent, thus throwing light on how it is possible that, for example, even if ‘the walls fall down the blokes just code’ and maintain a sense of stability in their daily work. Rather than reproducing the picture of software product development as exciting cutting edge activities and organizational change as dramatic episodes, the study takes the reader beyond the myths surrounding these phenomena to the mundane practices, routines and organizings in product development during organizational change. An analysis of these ordinary practices offers insights into how software product development experts actively engage in constructing stability during organizational change through a variety of practices, including solidarity, homosociality, close relations to products, instrumental or functional views on products, preoccupations with certain tasks and humble obedience. Consequently, the study shows that it may be more appropriate to talk about varieties of stability, characterized by a multitude of practices of stabilizing rather than states of stagnation. Looking at different practices of stability in depth shows the creation of software as an arena for micro-politics, power relations and increasing pressures for order and formalization. The thesis gives particular attention to power relations and processes of positioning following organizational change: how social actors come to understand themselves in the context of ongoing organizational change, how they comply with and/or contest dominant meanings, how they identify and dis-identify with formalization, and how power relations often are reproduced despite dis-identification. Related to processes of positioning, the reader is also given a glimpse into what being at work in a male-dominated and relatively homogeneous work environment looks like. It shows how the strong presence of men or “blokes” of a particular age and education seems to become invisible in workplace talk that appears ‘non-conscious’ of gender.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/26137
Date: 2011-04-15
Subject: organizational change
organizational restructurings
new product development (NPD)
subject position

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