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Digitalization of office work - an ideological dilemma of structure and flexibility
Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering, Industrial Economics and Organisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6955-8350
Univ Brighton, Brighton, E Sussex, England..
Mälardalen University, School of Business, Society and Engineering, Industrial Economics and Organisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4713-6231
2022 (English)In: Journal of Organizational Change Management, ISSN 0953-4814, E-ISSN 1758-7816, Vol. 35, no 8, p. 103-114Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose The ongoing "digitalization of work" is one of the major phenomena shaping contemporary organizations. The aim of this study is to explore linguistic constructs of white-collar workers (WCWs) related to their use of digital tools. Design/methodology/approach The framework of ideological dilemmas (Billig et al., 1988) is mobilized to investigate the conflicting demands WCW interviewees construct when describing the ongoing digitalization of their office work. Findings This study shows how "digitalization of work" is enforcing an organizational ideological dilemma of structure and flexibility for WCWs. In the digital workplace, this dilemma is linguistically expressed as the individual should be, or should want to be, both flexible and structured in her work. Practical implications The use of language exposes conflicting ideals in the use of digital tools that might increase work-life stress. Implications for managers include acknowledging the dilemmas WCWs face in digitalized organizations and supporting them before they embark upon a digitalization journey. Originality/value The study shows that the negotiation between competing organizational discourses is constructed irrespective of hierarchical positions; the organizations digital maturity; private or public sector; or country. The study confirms contradictory ideological claims as "natural" and unquestionable in digitalized officework.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
EMERALD GROUP PUBLISHING LTD , 2022. Vol. 35, no 8, p. 103-114
Keywords [en]
Digitalization of work, White-collar worker, Discourse analysis, Ideological dilemma
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-59922DOI: 10.1108/JOCM-01-2022-0014ISI: 000851255000001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85137890248OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-59922DiVA, id: diva2:1695495
Available from: 2022-09-14 Created: 2022-09-14 Last updated: 2022-11-09Bibliographically approved

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Lindell, EvaUhlin, Anna

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