Craftsmanship in a Digital Age: A Case Study of Digitalisation and Professional Identity in the Danish Architecture Industry

Viktoria Juel & Sidsel Hellstrøm Weihrauch

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

In this thesis, we aim to explore the relationship between digitalisation as a broad phenomenon and the professional identity of Danish architects. Inspired by the methodological approaches of Actor-Network Theory (Latour, 2005), we aim to shed light on different actor perspectives in the industry and hereby unfold the heterogeneous network consisting of non-human and human actors. Specifically, we study how changing roles and work practices, as well as the implementation of digital tools, influence the architects’ perception of craftsmanship, and ultimately their professional identity. Our findings are based on a qualitative research design consisting of 13 semi-structured interviews with key actors from the architecture industry. This includes interviews with architects and construction architects from 11 different organisations, including an industry association and a large engineering consultancy firm. We draw on critical theory concerning acceleration – specifically how digital developments affect our sense of hurriedness (Rosa et al., 2016; Wajcman, 2015) and combine it with literature concerning professional identity grounded in organisational studies (Högberg & Willermark, 2020). To explore the two-sided relationship between IT artefacts and professionals, we make use of the agency perspective on non-human actors adopted by scholars within Actor-Network Theory (Latour, 2005), which imply that technologies take an active part in shaping the work practices of professionals. We conclude that digitalisation affects the professional identities of architects both indirectly, through altering their roles and work processes, and directly, through the use of IT artefacts. By capturing the wider implications of digitalisation in the Danish architecture industry, we hope to contribute to a discussion about whether architectural craftsmanship and digitalisation can go hand in hand in creative industries

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and E-business, (Graduate Programme) Final ThesisMSc in Strategy, Organization and Leadership, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2021
Number of pages103
SupervisorsCecilie Kampmann