In this essay, I will comment on Morton Winston’s definitions of technology, then apply the six aspects in every technology to an artifact selected from Friedman’s essay “The World is Flat”. The six aspects include first the skills, techniques, human activity forms, or socio-technical practice; second, resources, tools, and materials; third, technological products or artifacts; fourth, end, intention or functions; fifth, background knowledge; and lastly, social context in which the technology is designed, developed, used, and disposed of, and the artifact that I will apply is Nike.
In Children of Invention Revisited by Winston, he describes technology in three different ways in reference to the artifact I selected.
First, Winston clearly defines technology as “the organization of knowledge, people, and things to accomplish specific practical goal”; second, he states that “technology consists of not only useful artifacts and the tools and processes to produce them but also the entire organization of people and materials that permits the acquisition of the knowledge and skills needed to design, manufacture, distribute, use, repair, and eventually dispose of these artifacts”; lastly, Winston’s definition of technological systems states “ the complex of techniques, knowledge, and resources that are employed by human beings in the creation of material and social artifacts that typically serve certain functions perceived as useful or desirable in relation to human interests in various social contexts”.
Nike employs many human activity forms. To begin with, Nike uses many different skills to yield the best productivity. One skill they have is all Nike shoes are generally considered to be attractive and durable. They are innovative, introducing a number of new features designed to increase comfort and enhance an athlete’s performance. They use different techniques to make this happen.
They import from China, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore and the United Kingdom being the top mentioned countries for Nike exportation. Also, Nike has worked to improve labor conditions in their footwear, apparel and equipment supply chains for more than 15 years. Key issues in which they have engaged include the health and safety of the workers who make their products, excessive overtime, the ability of workers to freely associate, and child labor and forced labor. In addition, Nike has created a “sustainable supply chain”, one that includes sustainability on equal footing with cost, on-time delivery and quality .
As one of the pillars of their sustainable business strategy, they have developed a vision of what success looks like. The vision and steps they are taking are making them achieve this strategy of going forward and continuing to one of the leading companies in activewear. Nike employs human activity forms in almost every part of the company; starting with using ships to import, trucks and truck drivers to transport all their products to stores. Lastly, Nike uses socio-technical practices when it comes to designing their stores, deciding on their logo, and designing the layout of the store. There is just so much to speculate at because every aspect of their company relies on human-activity forms.
Nike would not be able to be as powerful of a company if they did not make use of every resource, tool and material available to them. They use computers at stores, which is their most common and powerful resource used. They use computer software everywhere, from cash registers, to security cameras, to tracking their products, and to controlling production. One tool Nike uses in surplus is machinery, such as to produce their products, along with forklifts to boats. Material Nike uses range, for they manufacture and sell many different products from socks, shirts, shoes,hats, to bags.
In addition, Nike sells and uses multiple technological products. They sell iPod cases, headphones, and watches. Nevertheless, Nike is stocked with technological products and artifacts for sell. As a matter of fact, Nike uses a lot of technological products themselves, from cell phones to electricity.
Nike in fact is an artifact of technology. Nike is used to employ many people, to making people comfortable when being active. Nike is a large corporation that functions as a worldwide store. It provides consumers with
a place to purchase to best quality and most known activewear. Nike functions as an employer to some, to make other go day by day in comfort, and a shopping option to many.
Now, for Nike Inc. to have become the corporation that it is today, they need to have had an enormous background knowledge to be this successful and efficient. There are two kinds of background knowledge; knowledge-that and knowledge-how. To begin with knowledge-how, Nike had to know how to buy and find the right location to manufacture products and still make a profit.
They also had to know how to expand and manage inventory accurately and precisely. Not only that, but also how to pick the locations for the stores. All this requires a lot of knowledge and ideas. For Nike to continue its everyday massive production and efficiency, knowledge- that is, is significant. Nike needed knowledge with the store layout, design, the technology that would be used, locations, and many more things. For Nike to operate efficiently, a lot of knowledge into technology and artifacts of technology was needed.
Nike as a whole, is a social artifact for it is a corporation. Within this artifact, lie many divisions of labor. From managing, cashier, shoe designer, logo designer, each position requires different invisible technologies to fulfill the role. Ultimately, all these specific roles come together to create a social organization that run an artifact of technology.
Courtney from Study Moose
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