The Engineer … No Longer a Person but a Number on an Excel Sheet: Enterprise Resource Planning and Commoditisation of Labour

  • Rajalaxmi Kamath Indian Institute of Management Bangalore
  • Eureka Sarkar

Abstract

Based on transcripts provided by 145 engineers working in various information technology organisations in Bangalore, India, the article examines the commoditisation of labour in this sector. In doing so, we specifically want to problematise algorithm-based decision-making embedded in the wider technology of Integrated Development Environments like Enterprise Resource Planning and its ramifications for business and labour processes. Standardisation and modularisation of tasks have made wide inroads in workers’ lives, resulting in a replication of Taylorist mass-production techniques. In unpeeling the “materiality” behind such a development, we elaborate on how efficiency and profit motives of these firms are turning engineers into numbers on a spreadsheet. We conclude by commenting on the implications of this on labour’s organisation and resistance and the future trajectory of working life.

Author Biography

Rajalaxmi Kamath, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore

Authors:

Rajalaxmi Kamath (corresponding author)

Associate Professor,

Indian Institute of Management Bangalore

Bannerghatta Road,

Bangalore – 560076.

Email: rajalaxmik@iimb.ac.in

Tel: 91-80-26993748.

 

 

Eureka Sarkar,

Academic Associate,

Indian Institute of Management Bangalore

Bannerghatta Road,

Bangalore – 560076.

Published
2020-05-30
Section
ARTICLES