Information Systems Research pp 577-596
Resistance or Deviance? A High-Tech Workplace During the Bursting of the Dot-Com Bubble
Under certain circumstances, a critical orientation to the study of workplace deviance/resistance is necessary to understand ICT-enabled workplace culture and employee behavior. The critical orientation to workplace deviance characterizes acts in opposition to an organization with the potential to do harm as semi-organized, group resistance to organizational authority. The questions that drive this research are, does technology enable deviance? When does an act of social deviance become an act of resistance against domination? The answers depend on the perspective of the labeler. To discuss these, I offer the example of a case study of a small software development company called Ebiz.com. For the first few years of the existence of Ebiz.com, the social control exerted on the employees increased yet there were no observable or discussed acts of employee retaliation. I argue that the social environment of the dot-com bubble allowed several myths to propagate widely and affect human behavior. As the market began to fail, and dot-corns began to close, the employees seemed to recognize their situation and enact deviant behavior, or resist. Most importantly, what I have learned from this work is that ICT work may lead to increased deviant or resistant behaviors and that ICT work may also provide a means to do increased deviant or resistant behavior.