Title

The Influence of Technological Change on Habits, Routines, and Optimal Experience: An Oral History of a Dairy Farmer

Presenter Information

Elizabeth Crepeau
Gregory Morneau

Start Time

16-10-2002 12:00 AM

End Time

18-10-2002 12:00 AM

Abstract

This paper is part of an oral history project that explores the day-to-day experience of elderly people living in a rural community. Oral history focuses on the use of interviews to understand the first hand experience of participants. The purpose of this project is to understand the intersection between the daily round of activities of project participants, their roles as actors within the community, and how social and political change influenced their lives. In this paper we have selected, James Stuart, a retired dairy farmer who participated in the larger study, and interpret his six decades of dairy farming from the perspective of habits, routines, and optimal experience.

Dairy farming, like many other forms of work, has been influenced by technological change. In the mid-twentieth century most dairy farms were small and were owned and operated by a single family. With increased government regulation and the need for efficiency, dairy farmers have had to make use of the most advanced technological innovations to remain financially viable. Because the costs associated with these changes are so great, many family farms have closed. The remaining dairy farms, such as the Stuart Farm, have had to expand to remain profitable. James Stuart, the participant in this oral history research, was a dairy farmer from 1930 through 1998. He and his family members continually changed their farming techniques to keep pace with government regulation and technological change. In this paper, we explore the continually changing tasks and routines involved in dairy farming and how these changes influenced his motivation and satisfaction. We conclude that the increase in technology created a more efficient but more constrained work environment with less task flexibility and variety and diminished opportunity for optimal experience. Our findings raise questions about the relationship between technological change, work flexibility, work satisfaction, and optimal experience.

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Oct 16th, 12:00 AM Oct 18th, 12:00 AM

The Influence of Technological Change on Habits, Routines, and Optimal Experience: An Oral History of a Dairy Farmer

This paper is part of an oral history project that explores the day-to-day experience of elderly people living in a rural community. Oral history focuses on the use of interviews to understand the first hand experience of participants. The purpose of this project is to understand the intersection between the daily round of activities of project participants, their roles as actors within the community, and how social and political change influenced their lives. In this paper we have selected, James Stuart, a retired dairy farmer who participated in the larger study, and interpret his six decades of dairy farming from the perspective of habits, routines, and optimal experience.

Dairy farming, like many other forms of work, has been influenced by technological change. In the mid-twentieth century most dairy farms were small and were owned and operated by a single family. With increased government regulation and the need for efficiency, dairy farmers have had to make use of the most advanced technological innovations to remain financially viable. Because the costs associated with these changes are so great, many family farms have closed. The remaining dairy farms, such as the Stuart Farm, have had to expand to remain profitable. James Stuart, the participant in this oral history research, was a dairy farmer from 1930 through 1998. He and his family members continually changed their farming techniques to keep pace with government regulation and technological change. In this paper, we explore the continually changing tasks and routines involved in dairy farming and how these changes influenced his motivation and satisfaction. We conclude that the increase in technology created a more efficient but more constrained work environment with less task flexibility and variety and diminished opportunity for optimal experience. Our findings raise questions about the relationship between technological change, work flexibility, work satisfaction, and optimal experience.