By Stephen Lax (eds.)
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Extra resources for Access Denied in the Information Age
Several obstacles stand in the way of the effective and economic use of the internet. In Britain, the issue of access has been recognized in debates and decisions relating to schools and education provision generally, especially in relation to the development of the National Grid for Learning (NGfL). Access is also the key issue for trade unions. Without full access, trade unions, their members and branches, cannot use the technology nor inﬂuence its effects in the workplace, in Joe Holly and Gary Herman 37 the community and in legislation.
However, in terms of the substantial furtherance of labour movement objectives, the second reason for adoption of ICTs relates to the needs of collective bargaining and campaigning. It is these activities which make the substantial difference between trade unions’ and employers’ uses of the technologies. Employers do not as a rule see their objectives as freedom, equality and democracy in an environment where the goal is to secure the economic, social and political wellbeing of their employees (LTC 1995).
Rather, the different responses of users suggest that some individuals and organizations employ the pager in ways that can enhance organizational control, and others in ways that empower individuals in relation to organizations. Generally, we found that the pager played a far more signiﬁcant role than we had anticipated in reconﬁguring electronic and physical access to information, people, services, and technology – what we deﬁne as ‘tele-access’ (Dutton 1999a) – in ways that affected the relative power of different actors.