The Impact Of Information Technology On Work Organisations The impact of information technology will have significant effects on the structure, management and functioning of most organisations.
It demands new patterns of work organisation and effects individual jobs, the formation and structure of groups, the nature of supervision and managerial roles. Information technology results in changes to lines of command and authority, and influences the need for reconstructing the organisation and attention to job design. Computer based information and decision support systems influence choices in design of production or service activities, hierachal structures and organisations of support staffs. Information technology may influence the centralisation/ decentralisation of decision making and control systems. New technology has typical resulted in a flatter organisational pyramid with fewer levels of management required.In the case of new office technology it allows the potential for staff at clerical/operator level to carry out a wider range of functions and to check their own work. The result is a change in the traditional supervisory function and a demand for fewer supervisors. One example, secretaries with the impact of I technology are moving increasingly into territory previously occupied by managers and administrations, and achieving new levels of responsibility The importance of effective management of technical change has been highlighted by recent and continuing developments in IT.
Although the term IT originated in the computer industry, it extends beyond computing to include telecommunications and office equipment. Advances in technical knowledge, the search for improved economic efficiency and GOV support for It have all prompted a growing movement towards more automated procedures of work. The impact of It demands new patterns of work organisations, especially in relation to achieve procedures, one example is the shift in the traditional role of the secretary more towards that of the manager and administrator.IT effects the nature of individual jobs and the formation and structure of work groups. There is a movement away from large scale, centralised organisation to smaller working units.
Processes of communication are increasingly limited to computer systems with the rapid transmission of information and immediate access to their national or international offices. Improvements in telecommunications mean for example that support staff need no longer be located within the main production unit. Changes wrought by IT means that individuals may work more on their own, from their personal work stations or even from their own homes, or work more with machines than with other people. One person may be capable of carrying out a wider range of activities.
There are changes in the nature of supervision and the traditional heirachal structure of jobs and responsibilities.Computer based information and decision support systems provide additional dimensions of structural design. They affect choices such as division of work, individual tasks and responsibility.
The introduction of IT undoubtedly transforms significantly the nature of work and employment conditions for staff. Advances in technical knowledge tend to develop at a faster rate than, and in isolation from, consideration of related human and social consequences, e.g. fatigue and low morale are two major obstacles to the efficiency of staff.Research is now being conducted into possible health hazards such as eyestrain, backache, general fatigue and irritability for operators of visual display units. This concern has prompted proposals for recommended working practices for VDU operators. The trade union congress has call for regular health checks and eyesight tests for operators and a 20-minute break every two hours.
Failure to match technical change to the concomitant human and social considerations means, that staff may become resentful, suspicious and defensive. People’s cognitive limitations, and their uncertainties and fears, may result in a reluctance to accept change. The psychological and social implications of technical change, such as information technology and increased automation, must not be underestimated. New ideas and innovations should not be seen by members of staff as threats.
The manager has to balance the need for adaptability ain meeting oportunities by new technology with an atmosphere of stability and concern for the interests of staff. The manner in which technical change is introduced into the organisation will influence peoples attitude towards work, the behaviour of individuals and groups, and their level of performance. Continued technical change is inevitable and likely to develop at even greater rate. Managers must be responsive to such change. IT and automation create a demanding challenge.The systems nature of organisations emphasises the interrelationships among the major variables or sub systems of the organisations. The implementation and management of technological change needs to be related to its effect on the task, the structure and the people. It is important to avoid destructive conflict, alienating staff including managerial colleagues, or evoking the anger and opposition of unions.
At the same time, it is important to avoid incurring increasing costs or a lower level of organisational performance caused by delays in the successful implementation of new technology. What needs to be considered is the impact of technical change on the design of the work organisation, and the attitudes and behaviour of staff. It will be necessary for managers and supervisors to develop more agile skills in organisation.This calls for the effective management of human resources and a style of managerial behaviour, which helps to minimise the problems of technical change.