The Reorganization of Work during COVID-19: How Devices Reorganize Work and the Effects Hereof

Cæcilie Brydenfelt Wulff

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

The covid-19 pandemic, affecting the entire world in 2020, prompted the Danish government to set restrictions to minimize the infection of the virus. These restrictions resulted in a reorganization of work, which this paper will explore as well as the effects of the reorganization on work. This paper is inspired by Science and Technology Studies (STS) and explores the reorganization and its effects through devices and how devices organize actors and their attachment in work programs.
The study is performed within the research philosophy of Actor-Network Theory (ANT), disregarding the distinction between social and technical aspects, arguing their inevitable interconnectedness. The research is performed as a case study using qualitative data to explore the engagements of actors in Mermaid Medical. The primary source of data is 13 interviews conducted with employees at Mermaid Medical, supported by unstructured observations and internal documents.
The findings show that the government’s restrictions require a relocation of actors. This relocation results in devices, such as printers and job descriptions, reorganizing work processes, and in a transformation of the onsite location. Further, the findings show that devices aid in creating predictable behavior both as employees bring devices home and with the production of ‘Layoff’ schedules. The reorganization of work results in the integration of Microsoft Teams, becoming a device reorganizing work as it affects when and how actors communicate. Further, work is affected by the reorganization of work as it changes communication, risk management, and the focus of employees. Lastly, the paper discusses the experience of work, revealing that social mechanisms have an impact on the reorganization work.

EducationsMSc in Strategy, Organization and Leadership, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2021
Number of pages80
SupervisorsTrine Pallesen