Technology, Work, and the Organization: The Impact of Expert Systems

  • Rob R. Weitz


This article examines the near-term impact of expert system technology on work and the organization. First, an approach is taken for forecasting the likely extent of the diffusion, or success, of the technology. Next, the case of advanced manufacturing technologies and their effects is considered. From this analysis, a framework is constructed for viewing the impact of these technologies -- and technologies in general -- as a function of the technology itself; market realities; and personal, organizational, and societal values and policy choices. Two scenarios are proposed with respect to the application of this framework to expert systems. The first concludes that expert systems will have little impact on the nature of work and the organization. The second scenario posits that expert system diffusion will be pulled by, and will be a contributing factor toward, the evolution of the lean, flexible, knowledge-intensive, postindustrial organization.