Dissertation Abstract

Radiologic Technologists: Alienation and Deskilling in a 'High Technology' Profession

Publication Number:  AAT9542022
Author:  Donahue, Karen Ann
School:  University of California, Santa Barbara
Date:  1995
Pages:  231
Subject:  Radiologic Technology, Workplace

Research on the effects of technology in the workplace has resulted in what has become a still unresolved deskilling versus upgrading controversy. Those on the upgrading side believe that the work machines do best involves repetitive and simple physical movements or decisions, so automation most easily replaces already deskilled repetitious labor, resulting in an overall upgrading of worker skills (Attewell, 1987). It has also been suggested that the introduction of computer technologies requires intellective skills of workers, leading to increasing levels of job satisfaction (Zuboff, 1984).

Those on the other side of the controversy feel that mechanization and automation lead to deskilling of the workforce, and therefore to alienation. Although the work of radiologic technologists is continuing to change with the introduction of increasingly sophisticated and complex technologies, such as nuclear medicine, diagnostic ultrasound, computerized tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging, the skills of the technologists are, in some respects, being degraded, leading to some alienation among the workforce.

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