A Cultural Divide: New Technology and the Work Organisation of Finance Personnel in British and West German Industry.

  • Innes Dennise Newman

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


[Two volumes]. The research investigated the effects of technical change on work organisation and the ways in which national culture may influence technological utilisation within industrial finance functions. Operating within a Weberian conceptual framework, the methodology embraced both institutional and ideational approaches. That is, cross-national analyses of institutional structures and processes using secondary data and the attitudes of respondents using primary data collected through in-depth interviews with 147
British and West German respondents.

It was argued that making sense of the cross-national differences found in the historical development, organisation and operation of three institutional phenomena (jurisprudence, State education, the occupation of accountancy) depends on understanding underlying values and ideologies. Since these were also clearly reflected in differing cross-national attitudes to work organisation, it was further argued that ‘culture’ was the single most important factor influencing working arrangements: particularly in respect of the functional governance of the productive process and the division of labour within finance functions. Pre-existing forms of work organisation were found to be the single most important factor influencing the many cross-national differences in the utilisation of new technology.

The definition of culture was extended retrospectively to account for social constructions of reality and intentionality: and prospectively to embrace the dialectic between structural form and operational process. This definition was applied to taxonomic, critical and processual theoretical frameworks of the professions and the critical approach to technical change. It was concluded that none of these frameworks could adequately explain the nature of the cultural divide and that a cultural perspective provides leverage for future empirical work and theoretical development.

Date of AwardJun 1987
Original languageEnglish


  • Culture
  • new technology
  • work organisation
  • Industrial finance functions

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