Papers 3: Renewing Workplaces/ Organizations

Makiko Taniguchi
Event Time
Tuesday, October 16, 2012

In organizational and workplace related work, ethnographic praxis has been used as a tool to identify opportunities for enhancing and improving work practices. As the world changes, many organizations are faced with a need to renew and innovate their organizational visions and workpractices by tapping into unknown and unfamiliar territories. Under this new climate, ethnographers are increasingly asked to play the role of change agent and unlock the potential of organizations. Such undertakings present practitioners with challenges that lead us to question how we engage in our ethnographic praxis to renew complex organizations under the new paradigm.

Back to the Future of Work: Informing Corporate Renewal

Jennifer Watts-Englert, Margaret Szymanski, Patricia Wall, Mary Ann Sprague - Xerox Research Center Webster
Brinda Dalal - Dhoopa Ventures LLC

This paper describes the results of a multi-year ethnographic study of how knowledge workers integrate new technology into their work practices. We studied mobile and remote workers who use smartphones, tablets, cloud computing, and social networking to support their work. Study findings describe the characteristics of mobile work, the coordination of multiple devices and sources of information, how new technology functioned as a social resource, and issues that arose when participants used personal mobile devices to support work. We will also discuss how we are working with corporate teams to renew our research projects, and the solutions and services the company offers, to support the changing nature of work.

Integrating Organizational and Design Perspectives in Addressing Challenges of Renewal: A Case Study of NASA’s Workforce Transition as a Result of Space Shuttle Retirement

Jonie (Jo) Aiken - University of N. Texas

As organizations become increasingly complex and technology-dependent, likewise their challenges become increasingly complex and technology-driven. Although implicitly applied, need remains for an explicit framework integrating organizational and design perspectives to better address the challenges faced by contemporary organizations. This need is evident through a case study of NASA’s transition after the retirement of the space shuttle. NASA’s challenge is both organizational and technological – the end of the Space Shuttle Program left the agency without an operational vehicle and the risk of losing an expert workforce. Approaching these challenges from an integrated perspective could foster an environment of innovation and renewal.

Opting Out Of Stasis: Using integrated techniques to create sustainable change and renewal in healthcare organizations

Lindsey Messervy
Beth Werner - Ximedica

In recent times, hospitals and healthcare organizations have become more accepting of using human-centered approaches, including ethnography, to lend insight on how to prevent risk, increase efficiency, improve staff experience, and advance delivery of care. But often times, these approaches lack the tools and techniques needed to carry these insights through to implementation. This paper identifies and reflects on the hurdles to progress that make change and innovation so difficult in this field, and how the integration of other practices, such as quantitative and co-creative methods, into the foundation of ethnographic methods can help facilitate responsive and sustainable transformation in healthcare organizations.

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