This book provides one of the first clear-headed assessments of information technology and organizational transformation. Its virtue is not so much in its recognition of the importance of the subject; speculations on this topic have been rampant for more than a decade. Rather, it is unusual and unusually useful, because it avoids speculation in favor of conceptually coherent accounts grounded in empirical study of actual organizations. The chapters contained in this volume move beyond the superficial glorification of information technology as an extraordinary instrument of social change, and straight to the heart of the mechanisms of change as they play out in everyday organizational life. In the process, they reaffirm that the real story of information technology in organizations is more about people than about technology. Taken together, they provide an important contribution to the intellectual foundations of one of the most interesting developments in decades.

Information Technology and Organizational Change in the British Census, 1801–1911

Information technology and organizational change in the british census, 1801–1911
MartinCampbell-Kelly

This chapter describes the historical development of data processing in the British census and the related organizational changes from 1801 to 1911.

During this period of a little more than a century, the processing of the British census evolved from a decentralized manual operation, to a centralized manual activity, and finally to a fully mechanized system, as traced in the following sections. This study in Victorian data processing illuminates a number of contemporary issues concerning the influence of information technology on organizations.

First, an examination of Victorian data processing methods forces us to question what we mean by an information technology (IT). Most modern IT specialists would not ...

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