ABSTRACT

Working life, like the whole of society, is in an intense period of transformation. One of the main driving forces behind this is often said to be the so-called new technology. This refers to the variations of the ‘new information technology’ which can take many different forms of expression, some of which have a revolutionising potential. With the new technology it is assumed that distance in time and space can be suspended. The time of cyberspace is here! The virtual organisation will replace the old business structures with their roots in the industrial breakthrough at the end of the 1800s. Although we read and hear of this new world more or less daily, it is more often a question of utopia – or dystopia (depending on how one sees it) – than the result of empirically established observations of reality. In this article, I shall leave both utopia and dystopia open and limit myself to what is, or has been, a reality – this is exciting and difficult enough. If we forget that what occurs becomes what becomes, because it is what it is, also that it is what it is because it has been what it has been, we may land easily but completely wrongly in both research and debate.