Organisational and industrial practice in the steel industry : a sociology of science study

Sedumedi, Boitshoko Kaelo
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Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The study investigated the nature of a steel production process in South Africa. The Iron and Steel Corporation of South Africa (Iscor) was analysed within various theoretical approaches within the sociology of science and technology. Iscor follows the production processes that are based on a particular paradigm practiced throughout the world by steel-making organisations. The study aims to unlock this paradigm by using specific theoretical (ANT, SCOT and SSR) and disciplinary (MOT) approaches. Each approach provides a unique analytical dimension to the study: the influence of various human and non-human actors, the influence of social pressures, the historical evolution of the current practices and the management of risk. The study explores how Iscor adheres to mainstream scientific work. Hence there is a focus on endogeneous approaches - "processes of technological change and their outcomes are part of what has to be explained and understood" (Rip et ai, 1995). It is also noted that the technologies are derived from practical experiences and processes of scientific research. There is an ongoing attempt to formulate an understanding between technical and social content of steel-making processes because automated plant machinery continue to replace manual labour. Finally, the study investigates how dominant steel-making technologies within lscor's Vanderbijlpark (VP) and Saldanah Bay (SB) plants have evolved to achieve a position of stability.
AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die studie het oorsake van die staal produksie proses in Suid Afrika geondersoek. Die Yster en Staal Korperasie van Suid Afrika (Yskor) was geanaliseer binne die verskillende teoretiese benaderings in die sosiologie van wetenskap en tegnologie. Yskor volg 'n produksie wat gebaseer is op 'n spesifieke paradigm wat deur alle staal vervaardigde organisasie wereld wyd gepraktiseer word. Die studie beoog om hierdie paradigm te ontbloot, deur spesifieke teoretiese (ANT, SCOT and SSR) en disiplinere (MOT) benaderings te gebruik. Elk van hierdie benaderings sal 'n unieke analiese demensie voortbring aan die studie: die invloed van verskillende menslike en nie-menslike aspekte, die invloed van sosiale druk, die geskiedkundige evolusie van die huidige praktyke en die bestuur van risikos. Die studie ondersoek hoe Yskor riglyne volg in die wetenskaplike veld. AI te mits is daar 'n mikpunt op endogeniese benadering - "tegnologiese prosese verandering en die resultate wat deel vorm van hoe die proses verduidelik word en verstandbaar moet wees" (Rip et al, 1995). Dis is dus duidelik dat die tegnologie verkry word deur praktiese ondervinding en wetenskappe navorsing prosese. Daar is voortdurend pogings om die verwantskap tussen tegniese en die sosiale inhoud van die staal vervaardigings prosese te formuleer, deurdat auto-matiese mashienerie all deurgans oorneem van werkers. Laastens die studie ondersoek hoe die dominante staal vervaardigde tegnologie binne in Yskor Vanderbijlpark (VP) en Saldanha Baai (SB) verander het om 'n stabiele stands poort te verkry.
Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2004.
Iscor Limited -- Management -- Case studies, Technology -- Social aspects -- South Africa -- Case studies, Steel industry and trade -- South Africa -- Technological innovations -- Case studies, Science -- Social aspects -- South Africa -- Case studies