Automated Lines and "Modern" Times: a Distal and Proximal Understanding of Skill/Knowledge

Who controls what gets defined as skill or knowledge can be an indeterminate struggle in many organizations. Knights and McCabe attempt to understand conflicting interpretations of skills and knowledge around the introduction of a new automated production line in a manufacturing plant by making use of the concepts of distal and proximal organization. Employees and management often draw on a distal understanding of skill/knowledge, thereby treating it as a result or an outcome, a finished object, which one either possesses or is dispossessed of: By contrast, a proximal understanding would focus on relations, processes and representations that are continuous, unfinished, partial and pecarious. Knights and McCabe argue that management adopts a distal perspective because it stresses that employees cannot lose skill/knowledge that they already possess, whereas employees also adopt a distal perspective in believing that they can. They then argue that a proximal understanding is capable of providing greater insight and of opening up new "patterns of possibility." The distinction between a fixed (distal) ontology and a fluid (proximal) one is thus suggested as having meaning for the potential actions of managers
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1207/s15327000em0103_10
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,904
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

3 ( #462,240 of 1,725,477 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #349,436 of 1,725,477 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.