More than a decade in the making and based on extensive field research on engineers in three occupations in seven firms across eight countries, our book offers an occupational explanation for technology choices in the workplace as an alternative to technological determinism and social constructivism. Our research team included 27 people, whose hard work, good humor, and inquisitiveness made this book possible.
"Making visible occupational differences within engineering is by itself a huge contribution. Bailey and Leonardi venture far further, developing with remarkable discipline, care, and insight an occupational theory of technology choice that applies to any domain of work. A must-read for anyone with a stake in how new technologies affect the workplace!"—Gary Downey, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Virginia Tech; President, Society for Social Studies of Science (4S); author of The Machine in Me and coauthor of Engineers for Korea, among other books.
"Chalk one up for people controlling technology rather than the reverse! Bailey and Leonardi's deep analysis shows that occupational norms shape how the same computer technologies can be used in different ways to design products and get work done productively. Let's hope their findings inspire other professionals and occupational gatekeepers to put technologies to work in service of economic, social, and environmental goals important to us all."—Thomas A. Kochan, George M. Bunker Professor, MIT Sloan School of Management.
“[T]his book will reward dedicated readers with novel insights that can apply to wider questions of work and computer technology.”—Choice
"In a compelling ethnography, Bailey and Leonardi take us into the daily working lives of design engineers in India and the U.S. and show us why differences in institutions and occupations make some jobs offshorable and others not. They open the black box of global software engineering, making a seemingly geeky world transparent and accessible. A must-read for students of the sociology of work, organizations, technology, and management."—Rosemary Batt, Alice Hanson Cook Professor, ILR School, Cornell University.
"Bailey and Leonardi provide a detailed scholarly exploration of the forces that shape engineers' interactions with technology in different occupational fields. Their occupational perspective neatly resolves longstanding debates about technical versus social determinants of work practices. Grounded in years of rigorous qualitative field research, Technology Choices is required reading for academics interested in technology, work, product development, and innovation."—Amy C. Edmondson, Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management, Harvard Business School; author of Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy.