Which values and whose interests does a technology embody?

Useful Servant or Dangerous Master? Technology in Business and Society Debates

Frank den Hond & Christine Moser
Hanken School of Economics & VU Amsterdam / VU Amsterdam

This review argues that the role of technology in business and society debates has predominantly been examined from the limited, narrow perspective of technology as instrumental, and that two additional but relatively neglected perspectives are important: technology as value-laden and technology as relationally agentic. Technology has always been part of the relationship between business and society, for better and worse. However, as technological development is frequently advanced as a solution to many pressing societal problems and grand challenges, it is imperative that technology is understood and analyzed in a more nuanced, critical, and comprehensive way. The two additional perspectives invite a broader research agenda, one that includes questions, such as “Which values and whose interests has technology come to emulate?”; “How do these values and interests play out in stabilizing the status quo?”; and, importantly, “How can it be contested, disrupted, and changed?” Any research that endorses green, sustainable, environmental, or climate mitigating technologies potentially contributes to maintaining the very thing that it seeks to change if questions such as these are not being addressed.

den Hond, F., & Moser, C. (2022). Useful servant or dangerous Master? Technology in Business and Society debates. Business & Society, 1–30.


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