Technology Transfer as a Framework for Understanding Social Impacts of Computerization

by Tora K. Bikson, John D. Eveland

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This Note proposes a technology transfer framework as an appropriate model for understanding the computerization of information-intensive work. This framework regards outcomes of attempts to introduce computer-based tools into ongoing work as a function of three key sources of effect: features of the new technology, characteristics of the organizational context, and properties of the implementation process. Among them, the implementation process itself — the steps taken to embed a new tool in an extant setting — is most closely linked to social impacts. Research results are reviewed to corroborate and refine the model in relation to computer-based work, using it to identify implementation process variables predictive of successful outcomes. Implications for positive change management are discussed.

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