Technologies aren’t neutral

Digging around to find a link to explain who Arie de Geus is, for a recent entry, I found this excellent interview, well worth reading for anyone who is interested in what is going wrong in so many organisations. Going a bit deeper into the site it was on I found a number of gems that got me thinking and feeling grateful that there are people challenging some of the mechanistic nostrums floating around today. Since I having been thinking a lot about tools recently, (prompted by conversations with Nick Durrant, who really ought to get a website or some other form of public presence, so his insights could be more widely appreciated), I was particularly drawn to the interview with Wanda Orlikowski and her remarks about the nature of technology:
“I think there are a group of us who would say we know that technologies get implemented with particular agendas, with particular social interests. Technologies aren’t neutral tools with neutral objectives. We know that when people appropriate technologies into the work places, they end up using them in all sorts of ways that go way beyond what the designers ever anticipated. We know that there is an evolution, an emergence of different and new uses of technology that change how people work, and that this in turn changes the technology and its uses. Its recursive. We know that technological artifacts are not closed, fixed, or deterministic. We talk about technology as if it were one thing, as if it were monolithic and fixed and stable, but, of course, its constantly shifting, it breaks down, it wears down. Technologies are evolving, changing, emerging they are not stable. Likewise, our practices of use are constantly evolving, constantly changing as we change, as our understanding of the technologies changes, as our organizations change, as our responsibilities or interests change…”