chapter  1
18 Pages

Introduction

The sociological reader will doubtless be immediately alerted to various methodological assumptions underscoring this approach; for non-sociologists the assumptions will be of less interest than the output of such research. Besides, the important point is that the increasing success of this research over the past

decade or so is indicating that the historical conception of the role of sociology and its relationship to technological design and the management of organisational change needs to be revised. Whereas hitherto, these matters have been the subject of sociological inquiry, a new post-disciplinary approach is emerging where sociology is contributing to and helping guide such changes. Moreover, it is doing so not only through making sociology a more actionoriented discipline. It is also offering correctives to those disciplines more traditionally associated with organisational change and technological designmanagement science, organisational studies and such approaches as offered by Business Process Engineering (or BPR as it is more familiar to the public at large). The latter, for example, oversimplifies organisational processes and, though it enables senior managers to get a top-down view of the overall structure of their organisation, it does not generate the kind of detail required to understand the role of technology or the arrays of skills deployed at any workplace. This is not to say BPR has no advantages or does not go a long way in terms of offering those concerned with organisational change a way of seeing what choices they might make; it is only to say that such an approachlike many others currently offered-does not do it all. This is something that members of organisations are all too aware of, and thus is one reason why BPR initiatives are invariably allied with a host of other processes and inquiries.