Reconfiguring Boundary Relations: Robotic Innovations in Pharmacy Work
Author(s)Barrett, Michael; Oborn, Eivor; Orlikowski, Wanda J.; Yates, JoAnne
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Robotics is a rapidly expanding area of digital innovation with important implications for organizational practice in multioccupational settings. This paper explores the influence of robotic innovations on the boundary dynamics of three different occupational groups—pharmacists, technicians, and assistants—working in a hospital pharmacy. We extend Pickering's tuning approach [Pickering, A. 1995. The Mangle of Practice: Time, Agency, and Science. University of Chicago Press, Chicago] to examine the temporally emergent process that entangled the mechanical elements and digital inscriptions of a dispensing robot with the everyday practices of hospital pharmacy work. We found that engagement with the robot's hybrid and dynamic materiality over time reconfigured boundary relations among the three occupational groups, with important and contradictory consequences for the pharmacy workers' skills, jurisdictions, status, and visibility.
DepartmentSloan School of Management
Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences
Barrett, M. et al. “Reconfiguring Boundary Relations: Robotic Innovations in Pharmacy Work.” Organization Science, Articles in Advance (April 11, 2011) pp. 1–20.
Author's final manuscript