Digitalization and Work Behaviour: A Paradigm Shift

Digitalization and Work Behaviour: A Paradigm Shift

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7231-3.ch008
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The digital economy has brought in its wake numerous issues of a technological kind. It has affected every element within the organization (e.g., structure, informal work relationships, culture, and most importantly, managerial leadership). Because of new technologies emerging every day, the process of change has become persistent, and a paradigm shift has been witnessed in the management of workplace behaviour. The chapter has three sections. Concepts underlying organizational behaviour and the meaning of digitalization are discussed in the first section; the second section is an analysis of the changing leadership framework and its role in digital business transformation, and the third section highlights the positive and negative effects of a digital workplace on employee behaviour. The discussion concludes with comments on the significance of a digital workplace in COVID-19 era. The primary objective of this chapter is to identify and organize the accumulated knowledge on the implications of digital transformation for organizational behaviour and provide critical insights.
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The Model Of Organizational Behaviour In The Context Of A Digital Transformation

The effects of digitalization on all aspects of business have been quite widespread. However, a study of the impact of such a change on organizational work life remained neglected for quite some time (Foerster-Metz et al., 2018). The two salient features of the third wave economy are a boom in the service sector and a complex, ever changing IT mainframe. A change in the nature of work, the workplace and the worker is witnessed with the evolution of the industrial economy into a knowledge-based one. Hojeghan & Esfangareh (2011, p. 309) state that this digital economy “is based on electronic goods and services produced by an electronic business and traded through electronic commerce.”

Of the various macro and micro variables that affect behaviour within organizations, an individual himself is the most significant entity. As per the OB model (Newstrom & Davis, 1997), there are three basic elements that define an organization and are in a reciprocal relationship with each other viz. structure, technology, and informal social groups. The organization is not located in a vacuum; there is a socio-economic-political-cultural environment around it which acts and interacts with it (Richards, 2018). The change in the economic structure and order very conspicuously depicts the interdependences between the three determinants mentioned. The external factors have influenced the internal environment of the enterprise: its goals, vision and mission. The technological revolution apart from changing the reporting lines and the direction of businesses has impacted work environments and workflows and also individual and group behaviour. The induction of tech-savvy and digitally sound Gen Y has brought with it a distinct value system and new attitudes (DuBrin, 2002). In sum, technology has affected both the composition of the work force and its psyche.

The onslaught of technologies like advanced algorithms, robotics, and analytics is a megatrend that demands companies to be proactive in their approach. It is important here to understand the minute differences in terms associated with a software-controlled economy. The 2 stages preceding digital transformation are:

a. Digitization:

According to Ernst & Young (2011), “Digitization means the conversion of analogue information to digital (computer-readable) information.” The analogue information is encoded into zeroes and ones so that computers can store, process, and transmit such information (Bloomberg, 2018).The manufacturing of a transistor and microprocessor in the 20th century paved the way for the conversion of traditional media such as video, sound or picture into the binary language of bits and bytes. Converting handwritten or typewritten text into digital form is also an example of digitization. With an increase in the amount and complexity of digital information, the global storage capacity has also increased manifolds.

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