Open Organizing: Designing Sustainable Work Practices for the Engineering Workforce

Aditya Johri
Department of Engineering Education
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
E-mail: ajohri@vt.edu

Abstract:
Maintaining a high quality of life that encompasses work satisfaction and work-life balance is a critical long term need for the engineering practitioners. In this paper I argue that to grow professionally engineers need to design sustainable work environments for themselves through the productive use of information technology. I present a field study to identify ‘open organizing’ as a model to sustain engineering work. Open organizing refers to development of socio-technical infrastructure that allows people to successfully contribute to an endeavor irrespective of their physical location. Through a grounded theory analysis of field study data collected from an organization I call Digitech, I outline characteristics of open organizing practices and discuss their benefits for the engineers who worked there and for the organization. Overall, the findings reveal that successful creation and implementation of open organizing can result in better work-life balance for engineers and increase productivity and innovation.

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