The adoption and enforcement of a technological regime. The case of the First IT Regime.

Werner Hölzl, Andreas Reinstaller

Publication: Working/Discussion PaperWU Working Paper

Abstract

In this paper we explore the process of adoption and enforcement of a number of new information processing technologies, such as the typewriter, calculators, tabulation gears and book-keeping machines, starting from the 1880s in the United States. We show that their innovation and diffusion was inexorably coupled to the economic development in the USA in the late 19th century. It is a complex and contradictory consequence of underlying socio-economic processes that led to the formation of modern organisational structures in large scale manufacturing which required systematic and efficient information processing. The typewriter and all the complementary office automation devices that entered the scene shortly after were part of a socio-technical regime that started being established: the office work regime or as we prefer to call it the first IT regime, as for the first time a technology was set up to process information on large scale. The logic of large scale manufacturing to produce standardised products in large series and to apply labour saving techniques was cast into the organisation of administration. This required a convergence of technical practices. The lock-in to the inferior QWERTY-keyboard is hence the outcome of the diffusion and hardening of the First IT Regime. (author's abstract)
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationVienna
PublisherInst. für Volkswirtschaftstheorie und -politik, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Publication series

NameWorking Papers Series "Growth and Employment in Europe: Sustainability and Competitiveness"
No.12

WU Working Paper Series

  • Working Papers Series \ Growth and Employment in Europe Sustainability and Competitiveness

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