Affective Side of Technology Incorporation in the Workplace

Affective Side of Technology Incorporation in the Workplace

Lesley S. J. Farmer (California State University at Long Beach, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2181-7.ch026
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The need for critical use of technology is more important than ever in a digital world. This changing informational environment affects the workplace, and also emphasizes the need for lifelong education and learning organizations. Additionally, the intersection of technology and globalization has led to more intense and pluralistic interactions across societies. Affective factors that impact workplace learning in order to integrate technology are discussed: on the personal, social, and organizational level. Change theory, cultural issues, and emerging trends are also noted.
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To understand the problem and contributing factors, an overview of technology in the workplace is needed: addressing both the need to learn about technology as well as work with technology.

Technology’s Impact on the Workplace

Technology has existed for thousands of years, from the invention of the wheel onward. Technology under girded the Industrial Revolution. Today’s technology is marked by its electronic, digital nature. New information and technology have vastly increased the speed, access, and interconnectedness of information worldwide. Simultaneously, information and communication have converged, such as telecommunications and broadcasting.. At this point in history, telecommunications and media constitute one-sixth of the U. S. economy, and 30 percent of all economic growth between 1996 and 2000 was attributed to enhanced productivity based on information technology (Wilhelm, 2004). As early as the 1991 SCANS (Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills) Report, the need for employees to use technology was mentioned. Even job notices and applications require Internet connectivity and the ability of the individual to handle digital documents and applications. With the advent of web 2.0 (i.e., interactive Internet), the importance of social networks of consequence has grown. By using technology to share and advance knowledge, companies stay competitive (Nonaka & Takeuchi, 1995).

Globalization and post-industrialism has given rise to the Knowledge Society where intellectual capital has replaced material capital. “Knowledge is innovation, innovation is quality, and quality is knowledge management” (Gilbert, 2005, p. 4). Medicine exemplifies this change as patient diagnosis and treatment often depend on digital data capture and analysis. The Human Genome Project demonstrates how distributed knowledge can lead to significant discoveries. Collaborative technology plays a central role in many economic realities, drawing upon a broad constituency’s ability to connect. As a result, the need for more technology specialists and engineers has gained crisis status in the United States. At this point, technology industries are resorting to the outsourcing of technology jobs to experts overseas and lobbying for immigration requirement waivers in order to recruit qualified employees.

Even beyond the technological industry, the message is clear. American employers expect their workers to use technology, to use information, and to communicate effectively. As technology advances, adults often need to “retool” themselves throughout their work lives. Particularly for adults who are largely digital immigrants, this new world of information, especially in electronic form, can be puzzling and overwhelming. Do they have enough background information to understand and use the new information? In short, adults who are bypassed by technology are likely to be marginalized in society as a whole; certainly their options will be constrained

Key Terms in this Chapter

Affective Domain: Emotions and their outward expression.

Self-Efficacy: Belief in one’s own ability to perform a task.

Change: A never ending process of readjustment and readaptation, as man responds behaviorally to ever changing circumstances.

Incentive: Something, such as fear of punishment or expectation of reward, that induces action or motivates effort.

RSS Feed: Really Simple Syndication; a Web-based means to disseminate (syndicate) content.

Technology adoption: The stage at which a technology is mentally accepted by an individual or an organization.

Integration: A sense of acceptance, and perhaps transparency, within the user environment.

Digital/Technology Literacy: Ability for a person to effectively and responsibly use technology to access, manage, integrate, evaluate, create and communicate information.

Web 2.0: Interactive Web; enables people to collaborate and share online.

Technology Diffusion: The stage in which the technology spreads to general use and application.

Culture: Customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group; set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.

Innovation: New idea, practice, or object.

E-Learning: Electronic-based learning.

Instructional Design: A systematic analysis of training needs and the development of aligned instruction.

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