Click here to download

Trust, but verify.. Power relations and control practices in a smart working environment
Journal Title: STUDI ORGANIZZATIVI  
Author/s: Silvia Doria 
Year:  2021 Issue: Language: English 
Pages:  24 Pg. 24-50 FullText PDF:  268 KB
DOI:  10.3280/SO2021-001002
(DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation:  clicca qui   and here 


The world of working is changing and the technological transformations are playing a relevant role in this change. In particular, new technologies are making the physical boundaries of traditional offices increasingly permeable, allowing the diffusion of New Ways of Working (Demerouti et al., 2014; Koops and Helms, 2014), such as smart working. This paper, based on a qualitative research and discursive interviews, intends to reflect on the introduction and top-down management of smart working within a banking institution. At the same time, it aims to grasp the role attributed to and played by technology in its implementation. Starting from the two reconstructed stories, I shall show if and how the innovations introduced whereby technologies enable us to work remotely, are changing existing power relations and what control dynamics emerge from the field.
Keywords: Smart (remote) working, technologies, power relation, control, narrative approach.

  1. Albano R., Curzi Y., Parisi P., Tirabeni L. (2018), “Perceived autonomy and discretion of mobile workers”, Studi Organizzativi, 2: 31-61,, DOI: 10.3280/SO2018-002002
  2. Barad, K. (2003), “Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter”, Signs, 28(3): 801-831,, DOI: 10.1086/345321
  3. Beverungen A., Beyes T., Conrad L. (2019), “The Organizational Powers of (Digital)Media”, Organization, 26(5): 621-635,, DOI: 10.1177/1350508419867206
  4. Boje, D.M. (1995), “Stories of the Storytelling Organization: A Postmodern Analysis of Disney as ‘Tamara-land’”, Academy of Management Journal, 38(4): 997-1035.
  5. Brocklehurst, M. (2001), “Power, Identity and New Technology Homework: Implications for New Forms’ of Organizing”, Organization Studies, 22(3): 445-466,, DOI: 10.1177/0170840601223003
  6. Brown, A.D., Gabriel, Y., Gherardi, S. (2009), “Storytelling and Change: An Unfolding Story”, Organization, 16(3): 323-333.
  7. Bruni, A. (2014), “Introduzione: sulle trame dell’innovazione”, Polis, 3: 327-338,, DOI: 10.1424/78336
  8. Butera, F. (2003), “Reti digitali di organizzazioni reali”, Studi organizzativi, 3: 27-67,, DOI: 10.1400/68680
  9. Callon, M. (1986), “Some Elements of a Sociology of Translations”, in Law J. (ed.), Power, Action and Belief: A New Sociology of Knowledge?, London, Routledge, 196-223.
  10. Cardano, M. (2003), Tecniche di ricerca qualitativa. Percorsi di ricerca nelle scienze sociali, Roma, Carocci.
  11. Ciborra U.C., Lanzara G.F. (2020). “Designing New Systems in Action”, Studi Organizzativi, 50th anniversary Special Issue: 86-100,, DOI: 10.3280/SO2020-001-S1006
  12. Clapperton, G., Vanhoutte, P. (2014), The Smarter Working Manifesto. When, Where and How do you work best? Oxford, Sunmakers.
  13. Clegg, S., Wilson, F. (1990), “Power, Technology and Flexibility in Organizations”, Sociological Review, 38(1): 223-273,
  14. Cominu, S. (2018), “Tutti knowledge worker? Ricchezza e impoverimento dei lavori al tempo del digitale”, Sociologia del Lavoro, 151: 174-189,, DOI: 10.3280/SL2018-15101
  15. Crozier, M. (1964), “Pouvoir et organisation”, Archives Européennes de Sociologie, 5(1): 52-64.
  16. Crozier, M., Friedberg E. (1977), L’acteur et le système, Paris, Seuil.
  17. Czarniawska, B. (1997), Narrating the Organization, Dramas of Institutional Identity, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press.
  18. Czarniawska B., Joerges B. (1995), “Venti di cambiamento organizzativo: come le idee si traducono in oggetti e azioni”, in Bacharach, S.B., Gagliardi, P. e Mundell, B. (a cura di), Il pensiero organizzativo europeo, Milano, Guerini e Associati.
  19. de Kok, A., J. Koops, R.W. Helms (2014), “Assessing the New Way of Working: Bricks, Bytes and Behaviour”, Pacis 2014 Proceedings, Paper 7.
  20. Demerouti, E., Derks, D., ten Brummelhuis, L.L., Bakker, A.B. (2014), “New Ways of Working: Impact on Working Conditions, Work-family Balance, and Well-being”, in Korunka, C., Hoonakker, P. (eds.), The Impact of ICT on Quality of Working Life, New York, Springer, 123–141.
  21. Doria, S. (2021), “Lavorare agile, lavorare da remoto: che genere di conciliazione?”, Sociologia del Lavoro, 159: 217-236,, DOI: 10.3280/SL2021-15901
  22. Doria, S., Francescetti, L., Pentimalli, B. (2021), “Le sfide per i manager sanitari tra soft skills, ICT e carriere frammentate”, Salute e Società, XX, 1: 101-117,, DOI: 10.3280/SES2021-001008
  23. Dunleavy, P., Margetts, H., Bastow, S., Tinkler, J. (2006), “New public management is dead–Long live digital-era governance”, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 16(3): 467–494,, DOI: 10.1093/JOPART/MUI057
  24. Eurofound, ILO (2017), Working anytime, anywhere: The effects on the world of work. Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, and the International Labour Office, Geneva.
  25. Friedman, A. (1977), Industry and Labour. Class Struggle at Work and Monopoly Capitalism, London, MacMillan.
  26. Foucault M. (1977), Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, New York, Pantheon.
  27. Godin, B. (2006), “The Linear Model of Innovation. The Historical Construction of an Analytical Framework”, Science, Technology, and Human Value, 31: 639-67.
  28. Kelliher, C., Richardson, J. (2012), New Ways of Organizing Work: Developments, Perspectives and Experiences, New York, Routledge.
  29. Lake, A. (2015), The Smartworking Handbook, (2nd edition) Flexibility Ltd.
  30. Latour, B. (1986), “The Power of Associations”. In J. Law (ed.), Power, Action and Belief. A New Sociology of Knowledge?, London, Routledge, 261-277.
  31. Marabelli, M., Page, X. (2016), “Performing Identity Through Social Media: A Sociomaterial Perspective”, IFIP 8.2. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3134979.
  32. Miele, F., Tirabeni, L. (2020), “Digital Technologies and Power Dynamics in the Organization: A conceptual Review of Remote Working and Wearable Technologies at Work”, Sociology Compass, 14(6),
  33. Moschera L., Pezzillo Iacono M., Lo Nigro G., Parolin L.L. (2018), Rethinking Work: Pathways and Practices in Business and Society. Introduction to the Special Issue. Studi Organizzativi, 2: 9-27,, DOI: 10.3280/SO2018-002001
  34. Nielsen, J.A., Andersen, K.N., Danziger, J.N. (2016), “The Power Reinforcement Framework Revisited: Mobile Technology and Management Control in Home Care”, Information, Communication and Society, 19(2): 160–177,, DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2015.1047784
  35. Norris, D.F., Reddick, C.G. (2013), “Local e-government in the United States: Transformation or incremental change?”, Public Administration Review, 73(1): 165-175,
  36. Orlikowski, W.J. (1992), “The Duality of Technology: Rethinking the Concept of Technology in Organizations”, Organization science, 3(3): 398-427,
  37. Orlikowski, W.J. (2010), “The Sociomateriality of Organisational Life: Considering Technology in Management Research”, Cambridge Journal of Economics, 34: 125-141,
  38. Orlikowski, W.J., Scott, S.V. (2008). “Sociomateriality: Challenging the Separation of Technology, Work and Organization”, The Academy of Management Annals, 2(1): 433-474,, DOI: 10.1080/19416520802211644
  39. Perillo, F.D. (2019), “Più umanesimo per più tecnologia. Essere manager nell’era della trasformazione digitale”, in Alessandrini, G. (a cura di), Lavorare nelle Risorse Umane. Competenze e formazione 4.0, Roma, Armando editore, 59-64.
  40. Petrakaki, D., Klecun, E., Cornford, T. (2016), “Changes in healthcare professional work afforded by technology: the introduction of a national electronic patient record in an English hospital”, Organization, 23(2): 206-226,, DOI: 10.1177/1350508414545907
  41. Plesner, U., Raviola, E. (2016), “Digital technologies and a changing profession”, Journal of Organizational Change Management, 29(7): 1044-1065, doi 10.1108/JOCM-09-2015-0159.
  42. Poggio, B. (2004), Mi racconti una storia? Il metodo narrativo nelle scienze sociali, Roma, Carocci.
  43. Sennett, R. (1998), The Corrosion of Character. The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism, London, Norton and Company.
  44. Sewell, G., Taskin, L. (2015), “Out of Sight, Out of Mind in a New World of Work? Autonomy, Control, and Spatiotemporal Scaling in Telework”, Organization Studies, 36(11): 1507-29,, DOI: 10.1177/0170840615593587
  45. Strauss, A.L. (1997), Mirrors and Masks: The Search for Identity, New Brunswick, Transaction Publishers.
  46. Tagliaro, C., Ciaramella, A. (2016), “Experiencing smart working: a case study on workplace change management in Italy”, Journal of Corporate Real Estate, 18(3): 194-208.
  47. Till, C. (2018), “Commercialising bodies: Action, subjectivity and the new corporate health ethic”, in Lynch, R., Farrington, C. (eds.), Quantified lives and vital data, London, Palgrave Macmillan UK, 229–249,, DOI: 10.1057/978-1-349-95235-9_10
  48. Weick, K.E. (1995), Sensemaking in Organizations, Thousand Oaks, Sage.
  49. Wicks, D. (2002), “Successfully Increasing Technological Control Through Minimizing Workplace Resistance: Understanding the Willingness to Telework”, Management Decision, 40(7): 672-681,, DOI: 10.1108/00251740210438508
  50. Winner, L. (1980), “Do Artifacts Have Politics?”, Daedalus, 109(1):121-36.
  51. Wood, A.J., Graham, M., Lehdonvirta, V., Hjorth, I. (2019), “Good Gig, Bad Gig: Autonomy and Algorithmic Control in the Global Gig Economy”, Work, Employment and Society, 33(1): 56–75,, DOI: 10.1177/0950017018785616
  52. Zuboff, S. (1988), In the Age of the Smart Machine, New York, Basic Book

Silvia Doria, in "STUDI ORGANIZZATIVI " 1/2021, pp. 24-50, DOI:10.3280/SO2021-001002

   

FrancoAngeli is a member of Publishers International Linking Association a not for profit orgasnization wich runs the CrossRef service, enabing links to and from online scholarly content