Cet article s'attache aux modifications survenues dans l'organisation du travail de secrétariat suite à l'implantation dans la fonction publique québécoise de la technologie bureautique du traitement de texte.
This article concerns changes arising in the organization of secretarial work in the Quebec civil service following the implementation of work processing technology. The literature on the impact of this type of innovation is somewhat contradictory. Previous developments in work organization would suggest, however, that computer technologies provide an opportunity to reinforce the process of work rationalization underway in offices and, in this particular case, an opportunity to accentuate the division of labour between two categories of secretaries. In total, 349 secretaries participated in this study.
The main hypothesis in this research suggests that the introduction of word processing should result in an increase in the amount of time that class 2 secretaries spend on direct typing, thus accentuating the division of labour between the two groups of secretaries. Class 1 secretaries, on the other hand, should in part be freed from this task and thus be able to engage in more administrative support work. The results indicate that the amount of direct typing time is increased for all of the secretaries. The differences between the two categories of secretary are in fact attentuated rather than accentuated because the more «privileged» group lost their privileges in a number of respects. Thus, a levelling of differences between the two groups of secretaries and a standardization of these job occurred. These results contradict the suggestions of Alter (1984) and Blasis (1982) that the use of word processing technology would allow secretaries to undertake tasks previously done by those in higher level jobs. Instead, it seems that the use of word processing technology does not lead to a new organization of work, either less specialized or more multi-skilled.
In conclusion, this study indicates that the introduction of word processing does not entail a break with the existing organization of work in the public sector. Rather it reinforces existing patterns and remains consistent with previous choices made by management.
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