Culture, Information Technology Choice and Empowerment: Revisiting the Interplay
Charles E. Downing (Nothern Illinois University, USA), John Gallaugher (Boston College, USA) and Albert H. Segars (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA)
Copyright: © 2004
Empowerment is an important and desirable state for employees within business enterprises around the world. Yet, the pursuit of empowerment across national boundaries may vary due to innate differences within cultures. This may be particularly true with respect to choice of technologies for achieving empowerment. Using an interpretive field study of Fellows within the Japanese MITI and US Dept. of Commerce Manufacturing Technology Fellowship (MTF) Program, this study suggests that the achievement of empowerment through choice of information technology is matched to cultural context. Specifically, employees of Japanese companies prefer, need, and use media-rich information technologies in their efforts to achieve empowerment. In contrast, employees of American companies prefer, need, and use collaborative information technologies in their pursuit of empowerment. These findings suggest that information technology is used synergistically with cultural attributes in the enhancement of employee empowerment.