Technological Change and Individual Identities: A Multi-facetted Analysis of the Role of the Social and Individual Context in Human Reaction to Technological Change

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This paper investigates an individual’s subjective interpretation of a situation of technological change. It shows how various group and role identities operate simultaneously in a situation of technological change, influencing reactions by normative or structural frames or offering choice in their enactment through personal identity.
It offers a conceptualisation of an individuals meaning system as a psycho-social dynamic processing system and it outlines, how this system’s sense making influences action in a particular context of technological change. The influences of social and organisational frames get analysed by a historic and contemporary narrative of social ties, leading to the degree of guidance and control they offer and demand.
Traditional western approaches to technological change argue that there is an objective and absolute truth, independent of any particular context. This paper shows that truth is based on subjective understanding and that a purely rational perspective misses what is important, insightful, and coherent for the individual.


Keywords: Technological Change, Meaning System, Self, Identity
Stream: Knowledge and Technology
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , , Technology Acceptance,


Ute Hillmer

University of East London
Waldenbuch, Germany

The authors past experience are 16 years of corporate outbound marketing management in large multi-national commercial organizations (Hewlett Packard, CoCreate, Sun Microsystems), managing various marketing teams in the US, Europe and Asia. The product focus centred around state-of-the-art information technology hardware and software. More recent experience includes work as a strategy consultant and management advisor for medium size high tech firms and start-ups. Many years of practical experience dealing with the seemingly unpredictable success or failure of a product as well as its weak relation to a products stated benefits and features, has caused the author to be critical of traditionally one-dimensional perspectives found in management literature; to thinking about organizations from perspectives contained in sociology, social psychology, psychology and some aspects of neuroscience. Researching outside the traditional discipline of management science has caused the author to adopt a broader personal perspective through which individuals’ choice of action and its consequences for technology management can be considered.

Ref: T08P0323