Shoshana Zuboff

Management Skills in Our Society Are Not Appropriate for the Level of Information Technology That is in Place

Shoshana Zuboff


Is the Charles Edward Wilson Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School (retired). One of the first tenured women at the Harvard Business School, she earned her Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard University and her B.A. in philosophy from the University of Chicago.


Computer-Mediated Work

The concept of computer-mediated work was first introduced by Shoshana Zuboff in a 1981 MIT Working Paper, “Psychological and Organizational Implications of Computer-Mediated Work”,[2] elaborated in a 1982 article, “New Worlds of Computer-Mediated Work”, and brought to full expression in the 1988 book In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power.


The Research

Zuboff’s research consisted of in-depth multi-year studies of office, factory, professional, executive, and craft workplaces all characterized by a recent shift from traditional to computer-mediated task environments. The research demonstrated the tripartite nature of the relationship between information technology and work: 1) technology is not neutral, but embodies intrinsic characteristics that enable new human experiences and foreclose others, 2) within these new “horizons of the possible” individuals and groups construct meaning and make choices, further shaping the situation, and 3) the interplay of intrinsic qualities and human choices is further shaped by social, political, and economic interests that inscribe the situation with their own intended and unintended opportunities and limitations.




Professor Zuboff has been called “the true prophet of the information age”. Her much celebrated classic In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power (1988) won instant critical acclaim in both the academic and trade press—including the front page of the New York Times Book Review—and has long been considered the classic study of information technology in the workplace.


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