Disruptive Technologies in Systems of Care: An Exploratory Study of Social Work with Older Adults in Long-Term Care Facilities
Date of Award
Walter LaMendola, Ph.D.
Culture change, Disruptive technology, Eden alternative, Long-term care, Social work in long-term care, Structuration theory
The purpose of this exploratory research was to explore the application of knowledge about disruptive technologies to the long term care setting using the Eden AlternativeTM as an example. The research questions were: What themes of structuration emerge when a long-term care facility implements a disruptive social technology? What is the nature of the disruption between and among workers, long-term care facility culture, and professionals when a new social technology is introduced? How does social work practice with older adults change when a social technology such as Eden is introduced in a long-term care setting? Is Barley's (1984, 1986) model of analysis useful to predict each facility's stage of implementation at a given time? Can the Barley (1984, 1986) model help explain why the same social technology impacts different facilities in distinct and different ways? Can the Barley (1984, 1986) model predict how far along a facility is in implementing the technology? Can Black, Carlile and Repenning's (2004) model of analysis help predict the relationship between activities, expertise and accumulations in a facility implementing the Eden AlternativeTM?
The literature on culture and structuration was used in this exploration to highlight the internal struggle of culture to resist or relent to change and how structures would reform in the new culture. In doing so the researcher sought to replicate the successful study conducted by Barley (1984) which investigated the introduction of CAT scan technology in the radiology departments at two different hospitals. Barley (1984) hypothesized that it was not the CAT scan technology that lead to different outcomes in each department of radiology, but the social interaction with the technology. Later, a study by Black et al (2004) further examined the changes in occupational role that might emerge by simulating changes using a recursive model based on Barley's work. This study applies Black's extension of Barley's model to speculate about the emerging role of the social worker in long term care facilities that are exposed to disruptive technologies, assuming that the long term care industry will be radically altered in the next ten years in the direction of social technologies such as the Eden Alternative and under the weight of a rapidly increasingly population of older Americans. For the current study Eden AlternativeTM was implemented in two long-term care facilities at approximately the same time and the researcher conducted observations to see how the two organizational cultures responded to the changes that were made and look at the differences in implementation. In the end this research has discovered that the social technology of the Eden AlternativeTM did indeed behave as a soft technology disrupting the existing culture of both settings into which it was introduced during the observation period. The results, explore the manner in which the behaviors in relationship to the technology are similar to and different from previous research findings.
Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.
Paskind, Rebecca Lynn, "Disruptive Technologies in Systems of Care: An Exploratory Study of Social Work with Older Adults in Long-Term Care Facilities" (2009). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 899.
Received from ProQuest
Rebecca Lynn Paskind
Social Work, Gerontology