Management consultants: systems development, power and the translation of problems. Bloomfield, B. P. & Best, A. Sociological Review, 40(3):533--560, 1992.
Management consultants: systems development, power and the translation of problems. [link]Paper  doi  abstract   bibtex   
The article considers the exercise of power during the development and implementation of organizational information systems. Considering the use of Information Technology (IT) to help solve organizational problems, the authors in the article employs the concept of the sociology of translation to theorize the process by which the organizational problem is constituted and for which the appropriate IT solution is proposed. Discussing the nature of the power relationship between external management consultants in IT and client or user organizations, the article considers the role of symbolic resources such as managerial discourse, and the differential access to IT knowledge and skills, as important aspects of power in that relationship. The theoretical basis of the authors' approach draws upon the work of Michel Callon and Bruno Latour, and their articulation of the "actor-network" model which has come to prominence within recent sociological studies of science and technology. In particular they have argued that the definition of an organisation's problem, together with the proposed solution, is an exercise of power which takes place through the medium of various translations.
@article{bloomfield_management_1992-1,
	title = {Management consultants: systems development, power and the translation of problems.},
	volume = {40},
	issn = {00380261},
	shorttitle = {Management consultants},
	url = {http://proxy.lib.sfu.ca/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=byh&AN=9210193005&site=ehost-live},
	doi = {10.1111/1467-954X.ep9210193005},
	abstract = {The article considers the exercise of power during the development and implementation of organizational information systems. Considering the use of Information Technology (IT) to help solve organizational problems, the authors in the article employs the concept of the sociology of translation to theorize the process by which the organizational problem is constituted and for which the appropriate IT solution is proposed. Discussing the nature of the power relationship between external management consultants in IT and client or user organizations, the article considers the role of symbolic resources such as managerial discourse, and the differential access to IT knowledge and skills, as important aspects of power in that relationship. The theoretical basis of the authors' approach draws upon the work of Michel Callon and Bruno Latour, and their articulation of the "actor-network" model which has come to prominence within recent sociological studies of science and technology. In particular they have argued that the definition of an organisation's problem, together with the proposed solution, is an exercise of power which takes place through the medium of various translations.},
	number = {3},
	urldate = {2010-03-17},
	journal = {Sociological Review},
	author = {Bloomfield, Brian P. and Best, Ardha},
	year = {1992},
	keywords = {consulting firms, INFORMATION resources, Information technology, MANAGEMENT information systems, ORGANIZATIONAL sociology, SYSTEM design},
	pages = {533--560}
}
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