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Organising self-referential taxi work with mICT: the case of the London black cab drivers

Elaluf-Calderwood, Silvia (2009) Organising self-referential taxi work with mICT: the case of the London black cab drivers. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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London Black Cab Drivers have a rich and documented history of mobile work practices that are geographically distributed and driven by situated choices for everyday work. To date mobile studies researchers have not made a close examination of these mobile working practices, hence there is a gap in mobile studies concerning this type of worker. This dissertation aims to study the evolution of Black Cab drivers' work practices since the introduction of mobile Information and Communication Technology (mICT) in their everyday work. The theoretical framework for the research is based on studies of taxi drivers' work practices, mobility research, computer supported co-operative work and organisational change promoted by IS interventions. The ontology of this research pinpoints the factors influencing the situated and idiosyncratic choice associated with the use of mICTs when carrying out planned and unplanned work. The case study references a 420-year history of "old", established work practices as a comparison framework. When compared with the "new" and situated choice of mICT-supported work, it becomes apparent that there has been a change in the dynamics of how this type of work is actually completed. Embedding and mixing elements of self-referenced work - as discretionary and independent - with working practices in which mutual interdependencies are supported by the use of mICT aids seems to provide the case for a re-negotiation of the working practices model as well as its associated organisational forms, together with a social shift in the definition of the role and skills required to perform this type of mobile work. The empirical data have been sourced from one-to-one interviews and video recordings using a combination of ethnographic methods and interpretative approaches for the data analysis. This dissertation makes a theoretical and practical contribution to mobile studies by understanding the changing of working practices; it further offers methodological insights for studying mICT-supported work. Finally, it provides a formative evaluation of the new organisational forms emerging as mICT has been introduced to everyday Black Cab work.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2009 Silvia Elaluf-Calderwood
Library of Congress subject classification: T Technology > T Technology (General)
Sets: Departments > Information Systems and Innovation Group
Supervisor: Sørensen, Carsten

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