Department History

The Department of Organisation, Work and Technology, originally entitled Behaviour in Organisations, was one of the first departments of organisation studies to be established in the UK. While empirical research has always been an important strand within the Department it has always been conducted on the basis of strong theoretical foundations.

The Department has been known from its inception in 1969 as a centre for the advancement and application of organisational and social theory, with the research and writing of staff helping to define the emerging field of organisational studies. Indeed, in common with a number of Lancaster Management School departments, the establishment of the Department in the form that was chosen was both innovative and far-sighted. A succession of well-known academics has worked in the Department and many of our students, who have subsequently become influential figures in their own right, perpetuate Lancaster traditions.

In 2004 the Department changed its name. Organisation, Work and Technology emerged as an umbrella that sought to straddle the emerging diversity of research and teaching interests – and the changing nature of contemporary organisations themselves. It also recognised the Department’s interest in technology studies. Indeed, while the organisation of technology and, conversely, the practice of organisation through technology have emerged as strong foci within the Department these have nonetheless reinforced its longstanding theoretical interests through a dialogue on the nature of organisation and organisation theory.

The Department also continues to develop its well established involvement in the critical analysis of applied areas of the field such as human resource management, knowledge management, expertise and organisational design. More recently we have attended to important issues such as management and the environment, globalisation and also in the area of management and its links to development studies.

The Department commands an international reputation across its three research clusters of Organisation, Work and Technology. The traditional emphasis on a high level of conceptual awareness and especially interest in organisation theory continues to be an identifying feature of the Department but has been supplemented by the deployment of ideas and theories from the area of science, technology and society studies (STS) and ethical philosophy. Departmental expertise in these areas supports collaborative work being undertaken in the Management School (LUMS) and in the wider University.