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Technology and technological competences on services

Grant number: 14/10982-8
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: October 01, 2014 - September 30, 2016
Field of knowledge:Applied Social Sciences - Administration - Administration of Specific Sectors
Principal Investigator:Dimária Silva e Meirelles
Grantee:Dimária Silva e Meirelles
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências Sociais e Aplicadas (CCSA). Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie (UPM). Instituto Presbiteriano Mackenzie. São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers: Ana Maria dos Santos ; Elvio Correa Porto ; Felix Hugo Aguero Diaz Leon ; José Carlos Thomaz ; Sidnei Augusto Mascarenhas


The services sector has been showing a growing increase in the technological content. The mediation of technology services includes not only services, such as telecommunications and computers, but also traditional services, such as education and tourism (SCHUMAN et al, 2012).The development of technology competence is considered by experts to be relevant from the point of view of the assimilation of new technologies such as the generation of new services, new product and process improvement (DANNELLS, 2007).The use of technology in services includes a number of advantages for service providers and users (cost reduction, flexibility, convenience and availability). At the same time, some of these technologies increase the potential for exploiting economies of scale and reduce barriers to entry. In this sense, service companies should suffer heavy impacts with the introduction of these technologies, especially those of pure service, which traditionally protected themselves from the competition through relational and geographical barriers (MEIRELLES, 2010).So one important question is: How service companies in Brazil, from the use of new technologies mediators of performance, have developed technological skills? Research on technological competence has focused on manufacturing, especially high technology industries, therefore, make use of indicators that do not apply to the service sector, such as spending on R & D and patents. As pointed out in the literature of innovation in services, service companies make little use of formal R & D and rely more on the skills of engineers, managers and marketing personnel (GALLOUJ, 2002). The role of R & D is less important as innovation in service is multi-dimensional and mostly characterized by organizational changes, such as new service concepts, new interfaces with the customer and new systems of service delivery ( HOWELLS; Tether 2004).The specificities of innovation in service raise additional questions: How to identify technological skills in the service? What would be the appropriate indicators to capture these skills according to the inherent characteristics of service activities?Existing studies on technological competence (LALL, 1992; BELL; PAVITT, 1995; TSAI, 2004; VEDOVELHO; FIGUEIREDO, 2006) focus on the results of competence and not on their development. These studies do not address competence as action (RUAS, 2006), in which the attributes of individual agents and the work process are seen in an interactive and dynamic perspective (SANDBERG, 2000).The fundamental assumption guiding this project is that the use of technology in services occurs in coordination with human resources. We use here the vision of technology as practice (ORLIKOWSKI, 2000, 2007), in which technology is created and changed by human action. As pointed out by Feldman and Orlikowski (2011), it is not the technology itself and how it is used, in general, that matters, but the emerging technology structures, produced repeatedly in daily action. This dynamic view of technology is well suited to service activities, since they are, by definition, work process (MEIRELLES, 2006).These variations in the use and the emergence of technological structures through daily practices raise another important question: To what extent it is possible to parameterize the technological competence of service organizations? There are common features between the various activities in relation to technological competences?Considering the dual role of technology in organizations, in which production and use are dynamically interrelated in time and space, it is expected variations both from the point of view of the development and use of technology and technological competences. (AU)