Three Essays on the Relationship Between Technological Tools and Knowledge Work
Anthony, Callen. “Three Essays on the Relationship Between Technological Tools and Knowledge Work”, PhD, Boston College, 2018. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/bc-ir:108084.
The technologies that knowledge workers use in the ongoing production of knowledge are becoming increasingly complex, embedding assumptions that previously would have been made by workers themselves. This dissertation aims to unpack this phenomena, exploring how knowledge workers encounter and use technologies in the ongoing construction of knowledge. I present three essays – one theoretical and two empirical – that examine how patterns of interactions shape technology use and consequently knowledge outcomes. In each essay, I draw on several theoretical lenses, including status, coordination, and behavioral strategy to build new theory on how and why technologies are used and understood. The first essay presents a theoretical model of how status dynamics can shape the way new technologies are interpreted and used, including whether or not knowledge workers seek to understand the assumptions in their technologies. The second essay draws on data from a two year ethnographic study of technology use within an investment bank, comparing how different groups validate the outputs of their technologies when theoretical and physical mechanisms are absent. The third essay examines the evolution of technology adoption and use within a knowledge work group, identifying the unique mechanism of departures as prompting shifts in use. This dissertation contributes to literature on knowledge work and the social construction of technology.