University of Oulu

Managerial work revisited : shadowing in an IT company

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Author: Vainionpää, Fanny1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Department of Information Processing Science, Information Processing Science
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
Persistent link: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:oulu-201706022486
Language: English
Published: Oulu : F. Vainionpää, 2017
Publish Date: 2017-06-02
Physical Description: 52 p.
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Lanamäki, Arto
Reviewer: Iivari, Netta
Lanamäki, Arto
Description:

Abstract

This master’s thesis is an ethnographic study, exploring managerial work in an IT company in Finland. This study follows the model set by Mintzberg’s (1973) classic investigation of managerial work, and Tengblad’s (2006) follow-up study 30 years later. I collected over 30 hours of data by shadowing one IT manager and then compared the results to the earlier studies. By combining the qualitative method of shadowing and the method of quantifying information, the study offers information from an outsider’s perspective. Interviews and discussion were also a part of the study, which offer the perspective of the manager.

Based on the observations of the day-to-day activities, modern managerial IT work is surprisingly similar to the descriptions found in previous literature. The work is fragmented and composed of a lot of communication. Yet, some behavioural patterns are different. Compared to the previous studies, the IT manager’s work includes more desk work. This is largely due to the use of digital use in communication with people working in different locations. Instant messages and calls allow information to be passed on at a fast pace. Online tools help modern managers visualise information, enabling them to make forecasts and aiding in decision-making. It is also visible that there is a low power distance and characteristics of a feminine culture; managers look for consensus in their decision-making. The manager plans mainly for the short term, as situations change quickly in the project-based IT business. This study provides future directions and discusses its limitations. For example, the organisation was going through structural changes, which may explain the large amount of person-to-person communication.

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Copyright information: © Fanny Vainionpää, 2017. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.