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October 26, 2006

Is Technology deskilling the Workforce and Social Efficiency

It's been an interesting few weeks! We have been pretty immersed in the 8141 class and reading and writing a lot!

Our mid-term paper was due yesterday and mine was on; Social Efficiency and Social Reconstruction-Effects on 19th Century Educational Structure.
Without getting into to much detail, I was trying to read, interpret, study, reflect and write on the effect technological advances, growth and change had on our worker education system during the Progressivism period. What had sparked my interest in this, was the concept of social efficiency and how it was such a large push in the country at the time, due to multiple reasons. What was also interesting, was the corresponding response as exemplified by people like Jane Addams, John Dewey, Booker Washington,William Wirt and others.
It was interesting to me to learn about a historical period and at least try to transfer some of these thoughts to modern day. When we look cross-culturally at this example, especially into places like China and India, we can see the cause for concern of dehumanizing the process of education. We can also see the long term deleterious effect that this may have on overall system productiviity. On the other hand, from the organizations perspective, it would seem that it would be a good idea to slot students/workers into needs of the organization based on their respective skills. Isn't this the premise of a good organization? I think the important thing from these recent lectures, classes and readings is the idea of balance and moderation in the application of these theories to practice.
We are pushing onto the more philosophical side of the class and already it is very interesting!
Yesterdays lecture/discussion was on the readings of Braverman's labor process theory (technology leading to deskilling of the workforce)Hecht(similar) and introduction to Foucault's notion of subjectivity that bureaucracies engender individuation, through means such as science (personality testing/Myers Briggs,etc,), through corp. culture and internal labor markets. We are also going to be talking about team work middle management loss due to reliance on teams and how this constitutes the checking of peer behavior (Barker)