The Impact of Technology on Work Practices

Lanu Kim
Kim, Lanu. 2018. "The Impact of Technology on Work Practices." Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Sociology, University of Washington.
Katherine W. Stovel (Chair), Emma Spiro (GSR), Kyle Crowder, Jerald R. Herting, Jevin West.

The recent development of computer technology has created the belief that it provides the most neutral and efficient solution for existing social problems; however, this dissertation shows that the use of technology and its impacts are inherently embedded in the social context. Thus, the impact of technology is more nuanced and complicated, and sometimes the opposite of what it intends to achieve depending on how people use it. Empirical chapters examine the impacts on two broad work practices. First, the study focuses on how academic search engines such as Google Scholar influences scholar’s work behavior of searching and citing previous literature in the course of writing scientific articles based on quantitative approaches. The results suggest that the overall citation distribution has been stable or more unequal as time goes forward. However, for those scholars who have less expertise and thereby more affected by social influence, they rely more on new academic search engines providing the information of individual paper's previous citation count. Although the previous citation count has been more decisive in making a decision, journal’s role as the credential system still remains firm. Secondly, the dissertation analyzes whether the advancement in information and communication technology influenced "the death of distance" by analyzing how much geography matters for occupations. So far, there is no evidence to support this hypothesis; instead, occupations with higher technical skills are more interdependent on other occupations’ location.