New Technology, Work and Employment

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Work, ICT and travel in multinational corporations: the synthetic work mobility situation

Theorising the relationships between information communication technology (ICT), travel and work continues to preoccupy researchers interested in multinational corporations (MNCs). One motivation is the desire to understand ways of reducing demand for and the negative consequences of business travel. Existing studies offer, however, little in the way of theoretical explanation of why situations that require travel arise in the first instance and how they might be avoided. To address this shortcoming, this paper analyses two case study engineering consultancy MNCs to develop a novel sociomaterial perspective on the role of travel and ICTs. It introduces the concept of the synthetic work mobility situation which highlights the way ICT and travel exert agency that constitutes ways of working and the organisational form of MNCs. The concept also recasts questions about ways of reducing demand for travel as questions about ways of reconstituting the sociomaterial organisation of the MNC.

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