MM337-Our Relationship with Technology

Module Provider: Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Level:6
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Pre-requisites:
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Lebene Soga

Email: lebene.soga@henley.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

In a fast-moving world in which information technology can be described as ubiquitous, we are often tempted to take for granted or perhaps not critically consider the impact information technology (and of course digital technologies) bring to our social and organisational lives. In this module, we will take a critical look at the relationship information technology has with the social world and by consequence, the organisation and our own individual selves. What do we mean by ‘information’ and ‘technology’ in the idea of ‘information technology’ anyway? This module will challenge our ideas about what information technology is or what it does to the social world and the lively debates in the classroom will drive us to conduct some empirical research to help us gain understanding.  



Organisations are looking for individuals who can critically consider contemporary issues, conduct research and design solutions to solve them. This module fills this gap by taking aim at some of the recent challenges that modern technologies pose to organisations and society as a whole. We will thus critically analyse issues concerning information and decision making, surveillance and management control, technology and modern day work in the gig economy, among others. Drawing on some philosophical and leading-edge theories, we will explore whether technology is in control of the human or the whether the human is in control of technology or whether the issues at stake are a bit more complex than we all think. The student taking this module is one who is curious, willing to challenge existing thought, and is able to work independently.  


Aims:

The aim of this module is to explore the social aspects of information technology on individuals, organisations, and society as a whole. It makes prominent what was beforehand taken for granted, and builds critical thinking and research skills that enable students to take on various roles in contemporary organisations that deploy digital technologies for their work.  


Assessable learning outcomes:

At the end of this module, students will gain a sound understanding and develop awareness of how technology in the social space of the human has implications for modern organisations and individuals as a whole. As part of assessable learning outcomes, it is expected that the student will be able to: 




  • Critically analyse ongoing technological developments in contemporary organisations 

  • Identify the social challenges that new technologie s pose to individuals, organisations and society  

  • Critically assess the role that individuals play in the implementation of new technologies inside the organisation 

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the complex nature of the human-technology relationship 

  • Conduct primary research into the nature of the human-technology relationship with a focus on a given technological solution 

  • Demonstrate competence in pro ducing a convincing research report that includes a clear organisation and presentation of information in the given format.  

  • Critically appraise own relationship with technology and reflect on this relationship and personal learning on the module 


Additional outcomes:


  • It is expected that at the completion of this module, students will be able to take any context involving technology and debate from a critical standpoint on its impacts on the social world. 

  • An additional outcome of this module is that the student will be intellectually stimulated to continue to or want to conduct primary research on technological issues that (in)directly affect the social.  


Outline content:


  1. Conceptualising ‘information’ 

  2. Conceptualising ‘technology’ 

  3. Technological determinism, Social shaping of technology & Social construction of technology. 

  4. Critical perspectives to the human-technology relationship  

  5. The inequality of algorithms 

  6. The Web and social technologies 

  7. Surveillance and data protection (Insights fro m Europe, USA & China) 

  8. Management control and technological decision making 

  9. Understanding technological failures 

  10. The virtual organisation and the gig economy 


Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Although the summative assessment on this module is individual work, the module is highly interactive. The sessions involve formal lectures, student-led debates, case studies, and interactive group work.  


Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Tutorials 4
Project Supervision 1
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (independent) 20 15
    Wider reading (directed) 20 10
    Peer assisted learning 10
    Advance preparation for classes 10
    Preparation for tutorials 5
    Preparation of practical report 20 10
    Completion of formative assessment tasks 10
    Carry-out research project 25 10
    Reflection 10
       
Total hours by term 0
       
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Report 80
Set exercise 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students will produce a 3,000-word individual coursework (80% of the marks) after conducting primary research on a given topic (20%). Transcripts of the primary research conducted (details will be in the module guide) to be submitted at a secure portal by the ninth week of the Autumn Term. The final research report to be submitted in the fifth week of the Spring Term.  



 



Upper limit of word count: 



A word count of 10% excess is allowed for the written research report. Exceeding the word count will attract a penalty whereby written work beyond the 10% excess is discounted in the grading of the assignment. 


Formative assessment methods:

Students will be supported in the tutorial sessions and given formative feedback towards their assessment submissions. Formative feedback shall also be given through the online portal which shall be used in Blackboard on the student’s progress of work.  


Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:

40% overall 


Reassessment arrangements:

Reassessment by coursework. 


Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Required text book - £50 


Last updated: 7 August 2020

THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS MODULE DESCRIPTION DOES NOT FORM ANY PART OF A STUDENT'S CONTRACT.

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