Discourse and sociotechnical transformation: the emergence of refinery information systems
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This thesis considers the emergence and diffusion of British Petroleum's (BP) Refinery Information Systems (RIS). Insights from the associology of translation are coupled with the Foucauldian concepts of discourse and power /knowledge in order to analyse accounts of the system provided by organisational participants. The analysis suggests that a new form of managerialism, or "new commercial agenda" is being selectively deployed both within BP and within the wider commercial world. This transformed managerialism seeks to maintain control and heighten commercialism through a re- working of hierarchical relations within the organisation. Artefacts and practices of organisational life are revealed as prime vehicles for instantiating this new agenda and BP's Refinery Information Systems are thus seen to be both a condition and a consequence of the changes underway.