Technology and Organizational Change: Harnessing the Power of Digital Workplace

Technology and Organizational Change: Harnessing the Power of Digital Workplace

Mohsen Attaran (California State University – Bakersfield, USA), Sharmin Attaran (Bryant University, USA) and Diane Kirkland (California State University – Bakersfield, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8933-4.ch018
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This chapter explores the changing dimensions of the workplace and highlights the relationship between technology and organizational change. The chapter begins by briefly reviewing some key perspectives that have emerged in the information systems (IS) literature to account for the relationship between technology and organizational change. It highlights the importance of smart workplace technologies, identifies determinants of successful workplace transformation, proposes a conceptual model for implementation, identifies key factors to consider, and covers some of the potential benefits. The chapter argues that digital transformation is more than just implementing digital technologies. Successful digital transformation occurs when business strategies or major sections of an organization are altered.
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In the past ten years, office work has been shifting from repetitive tasks to knowledge based, flexible, and adaptive tasks. It has been proven that employees waste significantly less time and company resources when they have access to the right information at the right time, and by working in accordance with productive work practices (Igloo, 201, 2019). Therefore, increases in information related productivity need to be the focus of modern organizations, as much as industry automation used to be in past decades. “Information Mastery” was considered the Industry Automation of the 21st Century.

Companies are realizing the importance of workplace transformation which reflects modern work styles, user preferences, and maturing technologies. A large portion of work today is “Information Work”—work that requires information to be executed, and in which information often determines the outcome of the work (Dority, 2016). Many enterprises do not consider information as an organizational resource and therefore do not manage it as such. It is erroneously assumed that information is managed automatically through technology. This mis-treatment of information oftentimes has immense effects on employee productivity, efficiency, effectiveness, and profitability (Avanade, Inc. 2017).

On the other hand, the proper treatment of information as an important organizational resource is key in gaining a competitive advantage-in a globalized economy. According to widespread research, quality and productivity are affected by employees not having access to the right information, such as where, when, and which information is required for the respective tasks (Igloo, 2917, 2019). A meta-analysis of nine studies on wasted employee time found that an average of 1.1 hours per day was lost on unproductive information searches. This is a tremendous waste of time and productivity, considering that 1.1 hours per day is more than 12 percent of total work time summing up to more than 30 work days per year per person (Schillerwein, 2011). In a study conducted by IDC and commissioned by the Information Overload Research Group, significant numbers of employees indicated that less than half of the information they need is searchable and that searching is time consuming and frustrating (Gantz, Boyd, and Dowling, 2009).

This study also found that employees waste 25 percent of their time dealing with information overload related interruptions and distractions. Reducing the time wasted by 15% could save a company with 500 employees more than $2 million a year. According to this study, a large percentage of managers and business leaders are also affected by information overload. They do not have sufficient information across their organization to do their jobs. Over 40 percent of surveyed managers said they use incorrect information at least weekly and had the information they needed less than 75% of the time (Gantz, Boyd, and Dowling, 2009). A mature digital workplace has the potential to revolutionize both the way information is treated in the organization and the way work gets done.

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