Presentation Details

The Fourth International Conference on Knowledge, Culture and Change in Organisations

Dancing with Dragons: Social Construction of Technology During Times of Resource Stress

La Verne Abe Harris.

A dragon is described as "a mythical monster traditionally represented as a gigantic reptile having a lion's claws, the tail of a serpent, wings, and a scaly skin" or "something very formidable or dangerous" (The American Heritage Dictionary, 2000). If we symbolize a dragon as one of the challenges facing higher education today, the struggle can be looked upon as either being an opportunity or a crisis. Maintaining balance in the midst of chaos is no easy feat; it is a dance of sorts; hence, the quest for the social perceptions of technology during times of resource stress is like "dancing with dragons."

The context of this study is twofold –– the framing of technology during times of resource stress, organizational change, and technological change through the voice of the academic support technologist, and examining what drives two technical artifacts –– streaming media and electrophotographic processes in higher education. At certain moments these two case studies synchronize with each other to offer a glimpse into the culture of higher education. Through the voices of the "academic support technologists," the study moves behind current statistical data to reveal their experiences, motivations, frustrations, values, and joys in working with these two technical artifacts in two public Southwest Research I public universities in the United States. The findings enlighten us to the significance of the social, economic, and political factors that frame technology in the academy.


La Verne Abe Harris  (United States)
Graphic Information Technology Department of Information and Management Technology College of Technology and Applied Sciences
Arizona State University

La Verne Abe Harris is a fulltime faculty member at Arizona State University since 1999. Prior to joining ASU fulltime, she worked in the graphics industry as a manager, specifically as an art director, creative director, production manager, and owner of an illustration, design and computer consultation studio. May 2004 Harris will receive her PhD in Higher Education with a concentration in Technology and Media Arts from the University of Arizona. She holds a Master of Technology Degree in Graphic Communications Technology and a BA Degree in Art Education.

  • Social Construction
  • Technology
  • U.S. Public Higher Education Organizations
  • Resource Stress

(Virtual Presentation, English)