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Digital transformation and power relations. Interpretative repertoires of digitalization in the Swedish steel industry
Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering, Industrial Economics and Organisation. Åbo Akademi, Domkyrkotorget 3, Åbo, Finland. (Digma)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6980-3448
Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering, Industrial Economics and Organisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6955-8350
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0927-4951
Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering, Industrial Economics and Organisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4713-6231
2022 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Management, ISSN 0956-5221, E-ISSN 1873-3387, Vol. 38, no 1, article id 101183Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study focuses on how ideas of ‘digitalization’ are discursively constructed in the Swedish steel industry. Using a discursive psychology approach, we identify seven interpretative repertoires in the discursive practicing of digitalization: everyone-else, speed, competition, job loss, control, safety, and equality. Examining their functions and effects, we show that not only is digital transformation constructed as more productive, efficient, competitive, technologically advanced, safe, and equal, it also involves a shift towards the blue-collar worker being more vulnerable; a construction where she is able-minded but lonely, physically fragile, obtuse and unreliable, and a victim of a development beyond her control, forcing of her to acquire new competence. We conclude that this reproduces asymmetrical power relations between workers and companies, pushing the challenges of digital transformation to the workers. At the same time, we also see how these local discourses hold a possibility of tempering this asymmetry through the construct of togetherness of different contexts, bodies, and hierarchal levels, thus connecting steel industry workers of the future through the use of digital technology. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier Ltd , 2022. Vol. 38, no 1, article id 101183
Keywords [en]
Digital transformation, Digitalization, Discourse psychology analysis, Interpretative repertoire, Steel industry
National Category
Social Sciences Work Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-56660DOI: 10.1016/j.scaman.2021.101183ISI: 000779418100002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85119581214OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-56660DiVA, id: diva2:1620667
Available from: 2021-12-16 Created: 2021-12-16 Last updated: 2023-09-15Bibliographically approved

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Hallin, AnetteLindell, EvaJonsson, BosseUhlin, Anna

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