Automation and Its Consequences for Organizations: From Fordism to Information Technology
Along with strategy and environment, production technology can be cited as one of the most important variables when analyzing the formation of an organizational structure. In fact, it was considered by contingency approach theorists as one of the determinants of the formation of the structure and, in Henry Mintzberg’s classification, one of the aspects to be observed when searching for structural consistency. In the same way, automation, one of the main variables related to production technology, deserves increasing emphasis in structural analysis. This chapter, therefore, has the principal goal of presenting the main automation technologies that were and that are being used in organizations. It also examines some of their effects in production processes, in the organization of work, and in structures. In this respect, it was decided to broach the automation technologies related to Fordism, numerical control (NC), continuous process production, and the production processes that use modern information technology (IT). These technologies were chosen due to the impact they have had in organizations, as well as them being the most cited in the literature on the subject.