Effect of technological environment on the behavior of employees
The effect of development of tools and technology on the evolution of human activity has long been a major concern for researchers of social behaviour. Marx one of the founding fathers of sociology in his works clearly made a connection between the advent of technology and its impact on production. He clearly viewed technology as a key factor that led to development of the productive means and emphasized it importance in shaping socio-economic structure (Mishra, 1979). According to Marx, the identity of the dominant or ruling class was determined by their ability to best muster the development of technology. Furthermore even in neo-classical economics, technological progress is regarded as the driving force behind economic growth (Chennells and Reenen). This notion has been further strengthened by endogenous growth theory which states that in order to sustain a positive growth rate of output per capita in the long run, there must be continual advances in technological knowledge (Aghion and Howitt, 1998). Hence given its role in economic growth a common deduction that people can make is that technical progress leads to higher efficiency of employees and hence eventually leads to higher standard of living. However there are two sides to a coin and technological progress and environment can have both positive and negative impact on the behavior of employees.
The impacts are dependent on the sector the technological environment is introduced into and the nature of work of the employee in any institution. While there are multiple benefits there is always a flipside to the benefit.
Technological environment increases the competence of an employee and often reduces workload. It helps reduce unproductive hours by increasing an employee’s efficiency. It helps an employee carry out long drawn processes in lesser time and hence saves time which can be invested in other activities. For example new social technologies like Yammer are being introduced exponentially into an organization’s working system as they help organizations, managers and employees to perform better, faster and smarter. An application like Yammer provides a social networking platform wherein employees have real-time access to what’s happening even when they are out of the office. Through this program, co-workers can collaborate and share ideas across an infinite number of people and locations instantaneously. This facilitates quick responses and suggestions from employee and hence increases efficiency (Daniels, 2012). Existing technologies offer organizations a way to improve their efficiency and effectiveness. The latest technology and tools allows quicker knowledge acquisition and knowledge transfer which helps employees successfully compete in global competitive climate. Technology provides the standardization mechanism for sharing learning and knowledge across organizational boundaries, which is the key to improving capability of employees (Vodopivec and Krstov 2007). Hence technology has a very positive impact on employee behavior as it optimizes their output.
Computerization of any job usually requires only the behavior of monitoring, which is a dramatic change from the usual behaviors, e.g., placing cartons on a rack, completing paperwork, etc. In monitoring, the employee only has to keep a check on the equipment periodically and monitor the optimum functioning of the equipment, this helps employees multi-task. Multi-tasking in turn further optimizes an employee’s utility. With the high reliability of new computerized processes, a problem occurs rarely and it saves time. However, occasionally computerization can lead to complacency due to increased dependence on the technological aspect. Under such circumstances if a person quits monitoring, the failure to check over long periods can cause disastrous effects in safety, production, quality and cost. The reason behind the...
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