Embracing Transformative Technology to End Worker Exploitation : How Individual Resistance to Change Management Can Explain the Limited Adoption of Worker Monitoring Tools in Multinational Organizations.

University essay from Jönköping University/IHH, Företagsekonomi

Abstract: Background: The unethical treatment of factory workers is widespread, especially in developing countries. There is no international legal body with the jurisdiction to uphold universal labor rights. Hence, the responsibility to ensure worker well-being falls upon the multinational organizations that operate the supply chain. These focal firms often use social auditing; however, recent research reveals that this approach does not incorporate workers' experiences on a consistent basis. To address these shortcomings, a new technology has enabled organizations to connect directly with factory workers, we term the technology digital reporting tools (DRT).  Problem: Even though DRT potential is supported, their adoption rate amongst multinational organizations remains minimal. The benefits of these tools cannot be leveraged without firm implementation. In fact, the estimated market size for socially sustainable tools in global supply chains significantly outweighs their investment rates. This discrepancy must be explained to advance the industry.  Purpose: This thesis intends to deepen the understanding of individual and group level resistance within the change management field by researching a phenomenon that combines technology and social sustainability: DRTs. By recognizing the internal subjective experiences of potential users of DRT technology, we ultimately hope to inform DRT-providers and focal firms of internal and unrealized bottlenecks that hinder the adoption of these tools.  Method: The thesis employs an inductive research approach with a qualitative research design based on 8 semi-structured interviews. All respondents are potential users of the technology within focal firms.  Result: Upon researching the experience of potential users, we find that their willingness to suggest DRT to upper management is the primary mechanism that impacts adoption. We partitioned willingness to suggest into two aggregate dimensions: perceived acceptance of upper management and organizational culture. We find potential users hold an internal need to pitch DRT to upper management in monetary terms. Furthermore, half of DRT utility was unknown by respondents. Lastly, we correlate the sub-theories of change management to the different factors we identified.

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