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Given the rapid advances and the increased reliance on technology, the question of how it is changing work and employment is highly salient for scholars of organizational psychology and organizational behavior (OP/OB). This article attempts to interpret the progress, direction, and purpose of current research on the effects of technology on work and organizations. After a review of key breakthroughs in the evolution of technology, we consider the disruptive effects of emerging information and communication technologies. We then examine numbers and types of jobs affected by developments in technology, and how this will lead to significant worker dislocation. To illustrate technology's impact on work, work systems, and organizations, we present four popular technologies: electronic monitoring systems, robots, teleconferencing, and wearable computing devices. To provide insights regarding what we know about the effects of technology for OP/OB scholars, we consider the results of research conducted from four different perspectives on the role of technology in management. We also examine how that role is changing in the emerging world of technology. We conclude by considering approaches to six human resources (HR) areas supported by traditional and emerging technologies, identifying related research questions that should have profound implications both for research and for practice, and providing guidance for future research.
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OP03CH14-Cascio ARI 4 March 2016 10:34
How Technology Is Changing
Work and Organizations
Wayne F. Cascio
1and Ramiro Montealegre2
1The Business School, University of Colorado, Denver, Denver, Colorado 80217;
email: wayne.cascio@ucdenver.edu
2Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado, Boulder, Boulder, Colorado 80309;
email: ramiro.montealegre@colorado.edu
Annu. Rev. Organ. Psychol. Organ. Behav. 2016.
3:349–75
The Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and
Organizational Behavior is online at
orgpsych.annualreviews.org
This article’s doi:
10.1146/annurev-orgpsych-041015-062352
Copyright c
2016 by Annual Reviews.
All rights reserved
Keywords
technology, work, organizational change, ubiquitous computing, disruptive
technology, OP/OB research review
Abstract
Given the rapid advances and the increased reliance on technology, the ques-
tion of how it is changing work and employment is highly salient for scholars
of organizational psychology and organizational behavior (OP/OB). This
article attempts to interpret the progress, direction, and purpose of current
research on the effects of technology on work and organizations. After a
review of key breakthroughs in the evolution of technology, we consider the
disruptive effects of emerging information and communication technolo-
gies. We then examine numbers and types of jobs affected by developments
in technology, and how this will lead to significant worker dislocation. To
illustrate technology’s impact on work, work systems, and organizations, we
present four popular technologies: electronic monitoring systems, robots,
teleconferencing, and wearable computing devices. To provide insights re-
garding what we know about the effects of technology for OP/OB scholars,
we consider the results of research conducted from four different perspec-
tives on the role of technology in management. We also examine how that
role is changing in the emerging world of technology. We conclude by
considering approaches to six human resources (HR) areas supported by tra-
ditional and emerging technologies, identifying related research questions
that should have profound implications both for research and for practice,
and providing guidance for future research.
349
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ANNUAL
REVIEWS
Further
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INTRODUCTION
We live in a global world where technology, especially information and communication technol-
ogy, is changing the manner in which businesses create and capture value, how and where we
work, and how we interact and communicate. Consider five technologies that are transforming
the very foundations of global business and the organizations that drive it: cloud and mobile com-
puting, big data and machine learning, sensors and intelligent manufacturing, advanced robotics
and drones, and clean-energy technologies. These technologies are not just helping people to do
things better and faster, but they are enabling profound changes in the ways that work is done
in organizations. As Murray (2015, p. 6) contends, “Together these innovations are hurtling us
toward a new industrial revolution. Savvy corporate leaders know they have to either figure out
how these technologies will transform their businesses or face disruption by others who figure it
out first.”
Academic literatures not only in business (Turban et al. 2009, VanHoose 2011), but also in
medicine (Demaerschalk et al. 2012, Ross et al. 2010), engineering (K¨
uhnle 2010, Smite et al.
2010), sciences (National Research Council 1999) and social sciences (Castells 1996, Wellman
& Haythornthwaite 2002) echo this observation. Barley (2015) suggests that although digital
technology is rapidly becoming as infrastructural as electricity, there is surprisingly little research
on how it is altering work systems or the work that people do.
The last great wave of technological innovation was all about social interaction. The next one
may well feature the emerging general technology paradigm known as ubiquitous computing.
This concept is not about one technology. Rather, it reflects information and communication
environments in which computer sensors (such as radio frequency identification tags, wearable
technology, smart watches) and other equipment (tablets, mobile devices) are unified with various
objects, people, information, and computers as well as the physical environment. The combina-
tion of these developments is giving us a new kind of world, “one that is hyperconnected and
data saturated, a world where an Internet of everyone is linked to an Internet of everything”
(Wooldridge 2015, p. 29). These new technologies, disruptive as they are, did not just appear
overnight. Rather, many other developments in technology preceded them, and their effects on
work and organizations over the past several decades have been far-reaching, as we shall see.
Work is defined here as the application of human, informational, physical, and other resources
to produce products/services (Alter 2013). Given the increasing reliance on technologies to get
work done within and across organizations, the question of how technology is changing work
and organizations is highly salient for scholars of organizational psychology and organizational
behavior (OP/OB). If one accepts the premises that work does not exist without people and
that OP/OB researchers are inherently concerned with the study of people within organizational
settings, then OP/OB bears some responsibility for understanding the effects of technology on
work and organizations. Research-based answers have profound implications both for research and
practice about the kinds of organizational realities that might be produced. Thus, our goal here is
to interpret the progress, direction, and purpose of current research on the effects of technology
on work and organizations. Seven broad sections comprise this article. We begin with a review of
key breakthroughs in the evolution of technology and its effects on work and organizations. In our
second section, we focus on the disruptive effects of emerging information and communication
technologies as they create further opportunities to unify physical and virtual workspaces. Our
third section examines the numbers and types of jobs affected by developments in technology,
and how this will lead to significant worker dislocation. A fourth section considers the effects of
technology on how and where we work, including new types of work arrangements and work-life
fit. In this section, we consider four technologies in some detail: electronic monitoring systems,
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robots, teleconferencing, and wearable computing devices. In the fifth section, we consider the
role of management and how it is changing in the emerging world of technology. The sixth section
looks toward the future. In it we consider approaches to six human resources (HR) areas supported
by traditional and emerging technologies and identify related research needs. The seventh section
provides guidance for conducting future research on the effects of technology on individuals, work,
and organizations.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN TECHNOLOGY AND THEIR
EFFECTS ON WORK AND ORGANIZATIONS
The effects of technology1over the course of human history are well documented (Beniger 1986,
Bradley & Nolan 1998, Bradley et al. 2016). The growth and advancement of civilization can be
divided into three eras according to their respective core technological infrastructures: the agri-
cultural era, the industrial era, and the digital era. Each of these eras has been profoundly affected
by the ability to acquire new information and knowledge. However, they have all required and
enabled new economic structures, social revolutions, cultural transformations, and work models.
In the agricultural era, people focused primarily on the use of the power of natural elements,
such as wind and water. The most important resources were land, livestock, and agricultural
implements. The initiative to gain core economic power was in the hands of the owners of the
resources (farmers who owned vast and fertile farm lands). During this era, the owner of the
resources also controlled access to proprietary information.
In the industrial era, people concentrated on the application of industrial power, the procure-
ment of traditional physical resources, and mass production operating in accordance with the
law of increasing costs. That is, once all production factors (land, labor, capital) are at maximum
output and efficiency, producing an extra unit will cost more than average. Vapor and steam en-
gines, as well as fuel, comprised the core infrastructures. During this era, the richness of material
civilization was amplified by increasing the productivity of the physical space—building factories
and establishing industrial complexes. The relationships among manufacturers, distributors, and
consumers; improved productivity; process efficiency; and attention to transaction costs were all
critically important to the success of industrial societies.
In the digital era, people are focusing on the generation and trading of products and services via
digitalized data, information, and knowledge. This era is based on an infrastructure comprising in-
formation and communication technologies. This new infrastructure is not just helping people do
things better and faster than in previous eras, but it is enabling new ways of control, coordination,
and collaboration on activities more readily, at lower costs, governed by the law of diminishing
costs. That is, because of the properties of digital goods, the cost per unit of marginal or addi-
tional output incrementally decreases, whereas the amount of all other factors of production stays
constant. As digital resources become accessible, processed, transferred, and stored regardless of
location or time, borders and geographical distances are no longer as critical as they once were,
and wholly new, invisible electronic spaces are now available.
Because the digital era began with the development of computers and communication tech-
nologies, we must appreciate that these technologies are also evolving. Indeed, the continuous
1The English-language Wikipedia includes the following description in its entry on technology: “Technology is the collection
of techniques, methods or processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives, such
as scientific investigation. Technology can be the knowledge of techniques, processes, etc, or it can be embedded in machines,
computers, devices and factories, which can be operated by individuals without detailed knowledge of the workings of such
things” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology).
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Pervasive computers and networks
empower/enhance unication of physical
and electronic spaces
Communication technology and enterprise
systems empower/enhance
eectiveness of dispersed groups
and individuals
Personal computers
empower/enhance
productivity of individuals
Mainframe computers
empower/enhance
eciency of physical space
Ubiquitous
computing
Ubiquitous
computing
Strategic
computing
End-user computing
Enterprise computing
1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020
Societal impact HighLow
Figure 1
Stages of information and communication technology within the digital era.
advances of information and communication technology have enabled the scope of human activity
to expand continuously in the electronic space and to create a variety of changes in the ways that
economic activity is conducted. Hence, we now need to probe more deeply the four distinctive
stages of information and communication technology within this era (Applegate et al. 2002, Cash
et al. 1994, McKenney et al. 1995), as shown in Figure 1.
The first stage, enterprise computing, was based on mainframe computers. In this stage, the
focus was on improving the efficiency of the physical world by analyzing its characteristics in the
electronic space and then modifying the physical space. The administrative model followed was
that of a regulated monopoly by centralizing all the computing resources within data-processing
centers. Many users shared a single mainframe computer. It was infeasible at that time to supply
expensive computing equipment to the multitude of potential users.
The second stage, end-user computing, was based on personal computers. The focus in this
stage was on supporting productivity improvements of individuals, particularly business profes-
sionals. The administrative model followed was that of a free market enabled by each individual
having her/his own personal computer/desktop computer. The notion of “one computer per per-
son inside a company” became possible.
The third stage, strategic computing, was based on communication technology. The Internet
became a global network of networks as heterogeneous computers and communication interfaces
were connected with each other, thereby linking local area networks into a single, large commu-
nication network (Hauben & Hauben 1995). Companies combined the Internet and enterprise
applications systems (such as enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management,
supply chain management, material requirement planning, human resource management, and
enterprise-form automation systems) to support business processes and interorganizational activ-
ities. The administrative mode adopted was a regulated free market structure like client-server
architecture.
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Today, information and communication technology is heading toward a new stage that is based
on ubiquitous computing. The concept of ubiquitous computing refers to an environment in which
computational technology permeates almost everything, thereby enabling people to access and
control their environment at any time and from anywhere. During the beginning stages of the
digital era, the dual nature of the environment was such that it did not unify the physical world
and electronic space. This new stage, however, focuses on linking the physical world directly
with the electronic space, thereby creating a ubiquitous space that allows a level of complexity,
speed, and quality not possible before. The goal is to create an optimized space that links people,
computers, networks, and objects, thereby overcoming the limitations of both the physical world
and the electronic space. The administrative model is collaboration and entrepreneurship. Given
that ubiquitous computing is paving the way for a new stage, we now expand on this stage and
focus on understanding how it may disrupt the way work is done in organizations.
EFFECTS OF DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY
Christensen (1997) coined the term disruptive technology. He separates new technology into two
categories: sustaining and disruptive. Sustaining technology relies on incremental improvements to
an already established technology. Disruptive technology lacks refinement, often has performance
problems because it is new, appeals to a limited audience, and may not yet have a proven practical
application. Although companies today have trouble capitalizing on the potential efficiencies, cost
savings, and new opportunities created by ubiquitous computing, its various uses and its portfolio
of underlying technologies are expanding. Thus, we analyze here its potential to disrupt the way
work is done in organizations.
The term ubiquitous computing was coined by Mark Weiser of the Xerox Palo Alto Research
Center in 1998 (see “In Memory of Dr. Mark Weiser” at https://www.parc.com/services/focus-
area/ubicomp/ ). In Latin, ubiquitous means being everywhere. Ubiquitous computing incor-
porates concepts from the previous stages of information and communication technology
development, so its basic elements are software, hardware, networks, and data. The ever-cheaper
prices of computers, however, have resulted in the proliferation of computing devices such that
now they are nearly everywhere. Here computing devices refer not only to the abundant supply
of personal computers, but also to embedded (enabled by microminiaturization) and networked
(empowered by increased speed and bandwidth of communication networks) devices. These
include industrial sensors and processors, speech-recognition and eye-tracking devices, mobile
devices, radio-frequency-identification and near-frequency-communication tags and labels, global
positioning systems (GPS)–enabled devices, smart televisions, car navigation systems, drones,
wearable sensors, robots, and 3D virtual reality, among others. Initially, the communication
interfaces for these various pieces of computing equipment were inconvenient. Over time,
however, the development of easy-to-use interfaces and their connection to communication
networks have, in turn, brought about new ways of linking people, computers, and objects. This
has created further opportunities to unify two separate spaces: (a) the physical space, which has
always used information to try to make an inherently inefficient system more efficient, and (b)the
electronic space, which has used information to overcome the limitations of the physical space.
The ubiquitous computing infrastructure is also allowing the collection of enormous amounts
of structured and unstructured data—creating a need to use the adjective “big” to distinguish
this new stage of information and communication technology development. As data have become
increasingly digitized, everything from newspapers to music and movies can be produced and
reproduced easier via digital technology and transmitted at a lower cost. Furthermore, ubiquitous
computing is blurring the boundaries between industries, nations, companies, providers, partners,
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competitors, employees, freelancers, outsourcers, volunteers, and customers. Merging the phys-
ical and electronic spaces also has implications for privacy, security, and no less important, how
companies are organized. New business models are sprouting up to change the way organiza-
tions create and capture value in important ways (e.g., Airbnb, Uber, Zipcar, MyTaxi, Car2go,
Duolingo).
The widespread adoption of ubiquitous computing will take time, but the timeline is shrinking
thanks to improvements in the underlying technologies mentioned above. No one can predict with
certainty all of the ubiquitous-computing innovations that the coming years will bring, and realiz-
ing their full potential will not be easy. General predictions herald sizeable changes in knowledge
acquisition, sharing and distribution, as well as massive ripple effects in the workplace (Andreessen
2011). We realize that computing in this stage does not manifest itself in a clear-cut form, but
rather in a more nuanced manner. We provide here brief examples of some applications of ubiq-
uitous computing to stimulate our understanding of how the advent of ubiquitous computing may
disrupt work and work systems in organizations:
As employees wear clothing and other wearables embedded with computer chips and sensors,
they no longer need to carry a computer separately to meetings. They are armed with up-to-
date information, their decisions are guided by analysis of the information provided by cloud
computing, and they can resolve operational issues in creative ways that were not possible
before.
Computer networks allow employees to work from the office, their home, or anywhere.
Employees are routinely collaborating with people they have never met, in places they have
never visited, and staying connected with the office anywhere and anytime. This has enabled
the emergence of ubiquitous working environments supporting different types of working
styles and conditions.
The same computer networks also allow for a variety of devices to be remotely controlled,
as well as internal temperature, humidity, lighting, and even the opening and closing of
windows.
Computer programs, intelligent robots, and other devices are used to perform an increasing
variety of tasks with a high level of technical skills, and with benefits that include lower
costs, higher quality, improved safety, and environmental protection. People, however, par-
ticipate in defining, creating, and maintaining these automated programs, machines, and
other devices.
Firms routinely capture publicly available information to monitor traffic conditions. They
then use that information to find optimal delivery routes, to track vehicle locations, engine
status, dangerous driving conditions, etc.
Product, sales, and customer information can be monitored in real time, 24 hours a day, so
that inventory can be supplemented in a timely manner to maintain freshness or to provide
additional products and services.
Employees can integrate their use of Facebook, Twitter, Google, and other social media into
their daily routines, and companies can integrate social media into their intranets, so that
they can share internal information and knowledge with employees, and even with suppliers
and customers if desired.
Through the use of smartphones, GPS, earphones, and microphones, employees can access
online education and training materials anytime from their own companies, but also from
universities in or outside their home countries.
Attachable devices and microchips can be used to transmit information about wearers’ levels
of stress, physical disabilities, or injuries in real time to medical organizations, to facilitate
preventive treatment as well as timely responses in emergency situations.
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EFFECTS OF TECHNOLOGY ON JOBS
Ubiquitous computing, of course, is not the first technology to have effects on jobs. From steam
engines to robotic welders and ATMs, technology has long displaced humans—often creating
new and higher-skill jobs in its wake. The invention of the automobile threw blacksmiths out
of work, but created far more jobs building and selling cars. Over the past 30 years the digital
revolution has displaced many of the middle-skill jobs that underpinned twentieth-century middle-
class life. The number of typists, travel agencies, bank tellers, and many production-line jobs has
fallen dramatically, but there are ever more computer programmers and web designers. Displaced
workers with obsolete skills are always hurt, but the total number of jobs has never declined over
time (Aeppel 2015).
Paradoxically, although productivity—a crucial indicator of growth and wealth creation—is at
record levels, and innovation has never been greater, over the past several decades, median wages
have not risen (Galston 2014). This pattern is inconsistent with economic theory, which holds
that when productivity increases, any automation that economizes on the use of labor will increase
incomes. That will generate demand for new products and services, which, in turn, will create new
jobs for displaced workers (The Economist 2014). One explanation for this inconsistency is that
advances in information and communications technology are destroying more jobs in developed
economies than the advances are creating. In short, technological progress is eliminating the need
for many types of jobs, and leaving the typical worker worse off than before (Brynjolfsson &
McAfee 2014, Rotman 2013).
Not everyone concurs with this conclusion, however (e.g., Jacoby 2015). Although labor
economists generally agree that the digital revolution is creating a great divide between a skilled
and wealthy few and the rest of society, hollowing out the middle class (Autor & Dorn 2013), it
is not clear whether this can be attributed entirely to the effects of technology, and the data are,
at best, far from conclusive. One reflection of this change is the simultaneous increase in both job
openings and unemployment relative to the early 2000s (Elsby et al. 2010). This suggests that the
types of skills now demanded by employers do not match those of the existing labor force (Katz
2010). Other plausible explanations, including events related to global trade and the financial
crises of the early and late 2000s, could account for the relative slowness of job creation since the
turn of the century. The problem is that it is difficult to separate the effects of technology from
other macroeconomic effects (Rotman 2013).
The advent of machine learning, in which computers teach themselves tasks and rules by an-
alyzing large sets of data (The Economist 2015a) will surely lead to large-scale worker dislocation
as areas such as speech recognition, pattern recognition, and image classification eliminate wide
swaths of white-collar workers (The Economist 2015b). We agree that many jobs currently per-
formed by humans will be substantially taken over by robots or digital agents by 2025. Other jobs
will disappear as a result of structural changes in the economy, such as the long-term drop in the
demand for coal, as cleaner sources of energy become more popular.
Even if today’s information and communication technologies are holding down employment,
however, history suggests it is a temporary, although painful, shock. As workers adjust their skills
and entrepreneurs create opportunities based on the new technologies, the number of jobs will
rebound. At the same time, we believe that human ingenuity will create new jobs, industries, and
ways to make a living, just as it has been doing since the Industrial Revolution (Mabry & Sharplin
1986, Smith & Anderson 2014; see also Bessen 2015 and Stiglitz & Greenwald 2014).
What about the demand for managers and executives? Unlike effective managers, machines
have not yet learned to tolerate high levels of ambiguity or to inspire people at every level in
organizations. Consider ambiguity. The bigger and broader the question to be addressed, the
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more likely it is that human synthesis will be central to problem solving because although machines
can provide many pieces, they cannot assemble the big picture. This process of assembly entails
discerning why a company is doing what it is doing, where it is trying to go, and how it is going to
go about it. Success depends on the ability of executives to tolerate ambiguity, and to synthesize
and integrate a variety of types and forms of information. The big picture represents the glue that
holds a company together.
When it comes to engaging and inspiring people to move in the same direction, empathizing
with customers, and developing talent, humans will continue to enjoy a strong comparative ad-
vantage over machines. As one observer noted, “I’ve still never seen a piece of technology that
could negotiate effectively, or motivate and lead a team, or figure out what’s going on in a rich
social situation, or get people to move in the direction you want” (McAfee, quoted in Kirkland
2014). In short, no computer will ever manage by walking around, but inspirational leadership
will always be in demand.
EFFECTS OF TECHNOLOGY ON HOW AND WHERE WE WORK
Technology can be used to enable or to oppress people at work (Coovert & Thompson 2014b).
Indeed, the implementation of modern technology reflects both of these outcomes, as we shall
see. Psychological research and theory can help inform solutions to this problem. At a conceptual
level, self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan 2012, Ryan & Deci 2000) is a particularly use-
ful guide. That theory holds that self-motivation and well-being will be enhanced when innate
needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness are satisfied, and diminished when these needs
are thwarted. Autonomy is the need to control one’s actions, to be a causal agent in one’s life.
Competence is the need to experience mastery and to affect one’s outcomes and surroundings.
Relatedness is the need to feel interpersonally connected with others (Greguras & Diefendorff
2009).
In practice, at least four considerations influence the adoption and implementation of workplace
technologies (Coovert & Thompson 2014b). First, are they natural and easy to use? Usability
concerns the interface between humans and technology (Hancock 2014), and it can be measured
in terms of efficiency (time to complete a task), effectiveness (error rate), and user satisfaction
(Gillan & Bias 2014). A second consideration is self-efficacy (Bandura 1997). People who feel
competent to use, or to learn to use, new technology are likely to experience less anxiety when
that new technology is introduced. A third consideration is economic. Does the new technology
promise competitive advantage to an organization or to an individual in his or her personal life?
If so, the organization or individual is more likely to implement it. Finally, it also is important
to consider the role of social factors in the acceptance of technology. If friends, coworkers, or
family members are using a particular technology, for example, a smartphone-payment system,
peer pressure increases the likelihood of one’s own adoption of it.
If technology is to enable people at work, it should foster self-motivation and well-being,
key elements of self-determination theory; enhance productivity; and promote job satisfaction,
organizational commitment, and citizenship behaviors among workers. Feelings of oppression
occur when technology leads to a lack of autonomy, competence, and relatedness. In turn, these
lead to stress, demotivation, and counterproductive work behaviors.
To illustrate how technology is changing the ways we work and live, consider just four examples:
electronic monitoring systems, robots, teleconferencing, and wearable computing devices. Each of
these technologies shares the expressed ubiquitous computing vision of interweaving technology
into everyday life, making technology pervasive, and facilitating physical and virtual interactions.
We analyze next how each of them can enable or oppress their users.
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Electronic Monitoring Systems
Monitoring refers to systems, people, and processes used to collect, store, analyze, and report
the actions or performance of individuals or groups on the job (Alge 2001, Ball 2010). Our focus
here is on electronic monitoring and surveillance systems (Riedy & Wen 2010). Monitoring
today may assume a variety of forms: telephone, video, Internet, and GPS. In the past, courts
have generally sided with employers who have chosen to monitor their employees, arguing that
because monitoring takes place during work using organizational assets (e.g., corporate computer
networks, electronic mail), monitoring is acceptable (Kidwell & Sprague 2009).
Many organizations are equipping machinery, shipments, infrastructure, devices, and even
employees with networked sensors and actuators that enable them to monitor their environment,
report their status, receive instructions, and take actions based on the information they receive.
This is what is meant by the expression “the Internet of Things.” By monitoring these organi-
zational resources in real time, companies can better control the flow of operations and avoid
disruptions by taking immediate actions and engaging in preventive solutions when problems
arise. Organizations are also developing policies about using blogs and social networks such as
Facebook outside of work, and this can affect employees’ perceptions of trust and loss of personal
control (McNall & Stanton 2011). Although social media have fundamentally changed the ways
people interact with information, it is important to note that the term social media does not refer to
a specific technology, but rather to a family of technologies with a common set of ideals at the core
of their design (Landers & Goldberg 2014). Such ideals include the following: Users should be
able to generate their own content to share as they wish, information should be provided free and
honestly, personal opinions from unbiased persons can be trusted, and the mob is wise. Obviously
not all of these ideas are met in practice.
Monitoring per se is neither good nor bad; it depends on how it is implemented. Monitoring
can certainly be beneficial, as self-initiated systems demonstrate. Systems that enable employees to
track their activities at work have led to increases in productivity by helping people to understand
better how they are allocating their time (Osman 2010). This understanding allows workers to
reallocate their time, tasks, and activities to accomplish goals at work more effectively.
A comprehensive review of research in this area (Alge & Hansen 2014) concluded that attitudes
in general, and attitudes toward monitoring in particular, will be more positive when organizations
monitor their employees within supportive organizational cultures. Supportive cultures allow
employee input on the monitoring system’s design, and focus on groups of employees rather
than singling out individuals, and on performance-relevant activities. Theoretical and empirical
researchers have identified three additional features of monitoring systems that contribute to
employee perceptions of fairness or invasiveness (Ambrose & Alder 2000; Kidwell & Bennett
1994a,b). These are consistency in how data are collected and used, freedom from bias (e.g.,
selective monitoring), and the accuracy of data collected. Conversely, when monitoring systems
are perceived as invasive or unfair, organizations run the risk that employees may not comply with
rules and procedures, slack off on the job, or engage in deviant behaviors (Alge et al. 2010, Zweig
& Scott 2007).
One additional factor that can be associated with electronic monitoring systems is stress. When
organizations impose control they reduce autonomy and increase perceived job demands—both
factors that contribute to burnout (Maslach & Leiter 2008, Nixon & Spector 2014, Schaufeli et al.
2009). Evidence indicates that close supervision is associated with increased stress (Lu 2005). With
electronic monitoring a supervisor or higher-level manager need not even be present to monitor.
As a result the potentially unceasing, continuous capability to monitor creates an unrelenting type
of control that employees often regard as particularly stressful. As a general conclusion, when
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electronic monitoring is seen as control-based rather than developmental, employees are likely to
experience more negative outcomes (Castanheira & Chambel 2010).
Robots
Robots2have been on factory floors for decades. Years ago they were mostly big, expensive ma-
chines that had to be surrounded by cages to keep them from smashing into humans. Furthermore,
they could perform only a single task (e.g., spot welding) over and over, albeit extremely fast and
precisely. They were neither affordable nor practical for small businesses. Today, however, so-
called collaborative machines are designed to work alongside people in close settings (Davenport
& Kirby 2015). They cost as little as $20,000 and offer small businesses incentives to automate
in order to increase overall productivity and to lower labor costs (Aeppel 2014). Furthermore,
advances in artificial intelligence, combined with improved sensors, are making it possible for
robots to make more complex judgments and to learn how to execute tasks on their own, enabling
them to manage well in uncertain and fluid situations.
Not only are robots becoming embedded into organizational social systems, they are becoming
social actors in those systems. As noted by Coovert & Thompson (2014b), consider the terms
coworker and teammate. Historically, they implied other humans, but this may no longer be the
case as cobots (coworker robots) enter the workplace as team members. As robots evolve, they are
likely to become more adaptable to the work environment, with multimodal interfaces enabling
them to communicate more efficiently and effectively with human teammates, receiving as well as
transmitting information (Redden et al. 2014).
A key challenge to human factors specialists is to design human-robot control interfaces that
are simple and easy to use, yet robust, because the connections that allow remote robots to take
action without a human operator could be subject to hacking. As Redden et al. (2014) have noted
in their comprehensive review of human factors and ergonomic issues associated with the design
and implementation of robots in workplaces, social acceptance is critical. If robots are truly to
become team members, humans must accept them, communicate effectively with them, develop
shared mental models with them, and perhaps most importantly, trust them. As robots perform
more and more autonomous tasks, in theory an operator’s workload should decrease, freeing him
or her to perform other tasks. However, the allocation of functions between humans and robots is
an area that needs considerable research attention because automation has been shown to create its
own set of problems. These include decreased situation awareness; distrust of automation; misuse,
abuse, and disuse; complacency; decrements in vigilance; and negative effects on other facets of
human performance (Redden et al. 2014). Research and theory in areas such as work analysis,
teams, selection, training, motivation, and performance management can aid the successful design
and integration of robots into work teams and organizations (Coovert & Thompson 2014b, Miles
& Hollenbeck 2014).
There is an additional concern that managers must deal with, namely, that workers will view
robots as competitors for jobs and will fight their installation. For workers who remain, robots can
certainly augment their capabilities, but the fear of job loss is real. Four people comprise the entire
staff of Fanuc Corporation’s 86,000-ft2factory in Oshino, Japan, where industrial robots are made.
In another Fanuc factory, robots can assemble an industrial motor in just 40 s (Pfanner 2015).
2The Oxford Dictionary offers the following definition of a robot: “A machine capable of carrying out a complex series of
actions automatically, especially one programmable by a computer” (http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/
american_english/robot).
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Robots threaten the jobs of white-collar workers as well. As an example, consider that robots now
perform work in corporate finance departments that used to require whole teams of people, as
software automates many corporate bookkeeping and accounting tasks. Between 2004 and 2015,
the median number of full-time employees in the finance departments of big companies declined
40%, from 119 to approximately 71 people for every $1 billion of revenue. Jobs most in jeopardy
include accounts-payable clerks, inventory-control analysts, and accounts-receivable clerks, who
send invoices to customers, track payments, and forecast customer default rates (Monga 2015).
Not all robots or robot makers will displace humans. For example, the Kiva robot, owned
by Amazon, is designed to scurry across large warehouses, fetching racks of ordered goods and
delivering the products to humans who package the orders. A warehouse equipped with Kiva
robots can handle up to four times as many orders as a similar unautomated warehouse, where
workers might spend as much as 70% of their time walking about to retrieve goods. Most of Kiva’s
customers are e-commerce retailers, some of which are growing so rapidly that they cannot hire
people fast enough. By making distribution operations cheaper and more efficient, the robotic
technology has helped many of these retailers survive and even expand. Advances such as these
illustrate that although some aspects of work can be automated, humans still excel at certain tasks,
such as packaging various items together. Kiva’s robots are cleverly designed and built to work
with people, taking over tasks that humans do not want to do or are not very good at. Although
they can enhance the productivity of these workers, clerical and some professional jobs could
be more vulnerable, as the marriage of artificial intelligence and big data gives machines more
human-like abilities to reason and to solve many new types of problems (Rotman 2013).
Teleconferencing
Teleconferencing is an interactive group communication (three or more people in two or more
locations) through an electronic medium (Rogan & Simmons 1984). The concept was first intro-
duced in the 1960s with American Telephone and Telegraph’s Picturephone. There are at least
five types of teleconferencing: audio, audiographic, video, web, and business television. Virtual
teams, where members are not physically colocated, represent just one type of extended work
arrangement where teleconferencing has facilitated the unification of the physical and electronic
spaces. Perhaps the biggest advantage of virtual teams is that by crossing geographical, cultural,
organizational, and time boundaries, organizations can leverage a larger pool of intellectual re-
sources and diverse talent to solve problems (Potosky & Lomax 2014). Virtual teams represent
just one type of work arrangement where technology has facilitated the seamless movement of
work in dimensions of time and space. Today, most large organizations and many smaller ones
use them (Farr et al. 2014).
There are many types of teams that could be classified as virtual teams, however (Martins et al.
2004). Although virtual teams have altered the way that many people work, and they have facilitated
global talent management, they also present numerous knotty management problems (Cascio &
Shurygailo 2003, Golden & Veiga 2008). Such problems include, for example, how to structure a
virtual team (domestic or global), how to create trust and motivation among team members who
are not physically colocated, how to deal with introverts on a team, how to structure meetings and
other virtual interactions, how to provide feedback, and how to deal with team members who do
not all speak a common language (Cascio 2011).
As Miles & Hollenbeck (2014) note, adding a requirement that all team members adapt to the
technology involved imposes a learning and socialization task that is separate from any team tasks
that might be required. This generally requires additional organizational support, particularly in
the areas of motivation and psychological safety (Gibson & Gibbs 2006). In addition, and perhaps
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most fundamentally, teleconferencing has often resulted in five types of communication problems
(Driskell et al. 2003). Specifically, team members tend not to communicate local context to others,
fail to distribute the same information to all team members, have difficulty understanding and
communicating the relative importance of information, access information at different speeds,
and have difficulty interpreting the meaning of silence. A different study confirmed these findings,
which resulted in virtual teams having higher levels of confusion and lower levels of satisfaction
than their face-to-face counterparts, as well as less accuracy recording their decisions (Thompson
& Coovert 2003).
The end result of these communication problems is a reduction in mutual knowledge among
team members. A further issue in virtual teams is a lack of social and status cues. These have
both positive and negative effects when it comes to team effectiveness (Miles & Hollenbeck 2014).
Miles & Hollenbeck (2014) found that these three differences—technical adaptation, lack of mutual
knowledge, and reduction in social- or status-cue information—characterize virtual versus face-
to-face teams. Moreover, they found that five dimensional scales, each expressed with continuous
variables, are sufficient to describe all teams, face-to-face or virtual. These are skill differentiation,
authority differentiation, temporal stability, interaction frequency, and interaction quality. The
Team Descriptive Index (Lee et al. 2015) includes the first three of these dimensions. The use
of such scales now makes it possible to examine more precisely how virtual teams differ from
face-to-face teams, to compare virtual teams with different teleconferencing technologies and
different team profiles to one another in a meaningful fashion, and to discern their effects on team
effectiveness or team performance.
Wearable Computing Devices
Wearable computing devices, also known as wearables, is the term that refers to electronic tech-
nologies or computers that are incorporated into items of clothing and accessories that can com-
fortably be worn on the body (Tehrani & Michael 2014). Wearables can be networked or might
store data that can be transferred later to other devices. In many cases, the technology need not
be activated; it simply functions as part of the item. Wearables can gather data—from the body
of the wearer or from the environment—or provide information, or both (Educase 2013). They
generally comprise three broad categories (Wooldridge 2015). The first is quantified self products
that allow people to measure activities that they engage in, such as physical activity and sleep (think
Fitbit and Jawbone). The second category is enhancement technologies. Google Glass is one ex-
ample, but prosthetic devices and exoskeletons are others. They allow elderly people or those with
handicaps to overcome their disabilities. The third category is virtual reality devices, including
headsets and telepresence systems. Architects who use them will be able to slip on headsets to see
what their designs will look like in practice. Telepresence systems enable executives to get the
feeling of “being there”—attending meetings without the need to travel. These devices are now
possible thanks to four developments: improvements in computing power, the increasing speed
of broadband access, the spread of sensors, and cloud computing (Wooldridge 2015). As just one
example of how the nature of work is changing, consider smart vending machines. Sensors embed-
ded in the machines, combined with broadband access and cloud computing, allow employees to
monitor them remotely for items out of stock, temperature changes, or thievery (Shoot 2014). Al-
though the promise of wearable computing devices is obvious, there are also downsides. The first
is distraction, as people are half present and half absent, constantly checking their smartphones
as they walk along or stand in line. How often? They check them an average of 150 times a day
(Meeker 2013). Obviously this can wreak havoc on work/life integration, as there is no boundary
by time or geography on when or where people work (Vanderkam 2015). The second downside is
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that digital devices make human interaction more difficult as the devices compete constantly for
people’s attention.
Despite the downsides, there are many emerging uses of wearable technology beyond con-
sumers. It is becoming popular in industries as varied as construction, building maintenance,
medicine, manufacturing, energy, and oilfield services. As just one example, consider how a com-
pany in the field of building maintenance is using wearables to preserve and transmit institutional
memory. Workers nearing retirement are not always suited to climb to significant heights, where
mechanical equipment is often stored. They leave that task to younger workers, who wear special
safety glasses equipped with a camera, microphone, speaker, detachable flash drive, and wireless
antenna. Through Bluetooth connections to their phones, the younger workers transmit live video
feeds of their actions back to a ground-based command center, staffed by veteran older workers
who monitor the videos and offer further instructions (Griffith 2014). There is almost no research
on the behavioral effects or impact of wearable computing devices. However, opportunities abound
to conduct research on wearers’ attitudes and their use of this technology, as well as its impact on
organizational outcomes such as acceptability, productivity, safety, and potential cost savings.
TECHNOLOGY AND THE CHANGING ROLE OF MANAGEMENT
In the previous stages of information and communication technology development, hoarding in-
formation was a source of power, and information moved in one direction only—up the corporate
hierarchy. In today’s ubiquitous-computing stage, the contrast could not be starker. The impli-
cations of these technological developments in changing the nature of competition, work, and
employment are profound and cannot be ignored.
Although the changes made possible by today’s technology may be impressive, and digital in-
novations will continue for the foreseeable future, technology by itself is not enough. Fulfilling its
potential will require leaders to recreate the way their organizations operate in a world of digital
ubiquity. This includes framing right questions, responding to exceptional circumstances high-
lighted by intelligent algorithms, and doing things that machines cannot (Dewhurst & Willmott
2014).
A comprehensive review of research at the junction of leadership and technology concluded that
researchers have tended to treat technology either as a contextual aspect relevant to the leadership
process, or as a set of tools that leaders and followers can use to communicate with each other
(Potosky & Lomax 2014). Similarly, an earlier review expressed disappointment over the extent to
which leadership researchers have incorporated technology into the study of leadership (Gardner
et al. 2010). At a broader level, we now consider some lessons from the management literature on
technology and organizations.
Orlikowski and Scott’s (Orlikowski 2009, Orlikowski & Scott 2008) 50-year review of the ways
that the management literature has addressed and accounted for technology in organizations iden-
tified four distinctive conceptual positions: (a) absent presence, (b) exogenous force, (c)emergent
force, and (d) entanglement in practice. In the first perspective, absent presence, technology is
unacknowledged by researchers; that is, it is unaccounted for in their studies.3Thus, Zammuto
et al. (2007, p. 750) found that only 2.8% of the research articles published in the Academy of
Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Administrative Science Quarterly,andOrga-
nization Science focused on technology and organizations. Researchers who adopt this perspective
3Orlikowski (2009) draws on Gergen’s (2002) idea of absent presence introduced by describing a group of people sitting in a
room together, absorbed in their own thoughts and activities, and not acknowledging each other’s presence.
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Table 1 Examples of research topics and authors who have adopted the exogenous-force perspective in studying
technology in organizations
Research topic Author(s)
Examination of the meanings or attitudes toward computing at the individual level Davis 1989, Griffith 1999, Rafaeli 1986,
Rice & Aydin 1991
Research into changes in communication and decision making related to technology
use at individual and group levels
Daft & Lengel 1986, Hinds & Kiesler
1995, Huber 1990, Trevi ˜
no et al. 2000
Studies of shifts in firm structure associated with technology Blau et al. 1976, Burkhardt & Brass 1990,
Fry 1982, Pfeffer & Leblebici 1977
Examinations of transformations in market or industry conditions attributed to the
diffusion of new technological capabilities
Malone et al. 1987, Tushman & Anderson
1986
Productivity improvements at both individual and enterprise levels linked to the
adoption of or investment in new technologies
Aral & Weill 2007, Brynjolfsson & Hitt
1996, Kraut et al. 1989
Examination of various supply chain partnership configurations that exist based on
differences in capabilities of information technology infrastructures
Malhotra et al. 2005
give priority to human actors and social structures, and as a result, technology tends to disappear
into the background or is taken for granted. They do not work on questions about technology,
and their research underestimates the role and significance of technological artifacts.
In the second perspective, exogenous force, technology is posited to be a powerful and relatively
autonomous driver of organizational change. Thus, it has significant and predictable impacts on
various human and organizational outcomes, such as governance structures, work routines, infor-
mation flow, decision making, individual productivity, and firm performance (e.g., Blau et al. 1976,
Brynjolfsson & Hitt 1996, Carter 1984, Huber 1990, Pfeffer & Leblebici 1977). Researchers in this
tradition tend toward a positivistic research approach; they are interested in deriving generaliz-
able laws from statistical, empirical studies. Second, they explore the relationship between general
aspects of technology and organizations, so that they can make predictions across types of organi-
zations and technologies. Third, they tend to draw from contingency theory, conducting empirical
research that includes variables believed to influence technology’s impact on organizations. Re-
search in this perspective has been criticized for ignoring or downplaying the role of history,
social context, and human agency in shaping technology, production, use, and change (Orlikowski
2009). Table 1 presents examples of research studies that have adopted this perspective.
In the third perspective, emergent force, technology is viewed as fundamentally social,
grounded in specific historical and cultural contexts, and dependent on specific meanings and
contingent processes. The focus is on the dynamic interactions between people (or organizations)
and technology over time. Research that adopts this perspective has been criticized for minimiz-
ing the role of technology, in particular, the physical characteristics and capabilities entailed in
particular technological objects (Faulkner & Runde 2009). It has tended to downplay specific
technological properties, focusing primarily on human interpretations and social actions. More
generally, by focusing on the specifics of situated microinteractions, it is unable to offer widely
applicable insights into the ways in which technologies broadly shape organizations and societies.
Table 2 presents examples of research studies that have adopted this perspective.
The fourth perspective, entanglement in practice, focuses on how technology is intrinsic to
everyday activities and social relations. From this view, people and technology only exist in re-
lation to each other, and, as Slife (2005, p. 159) explains, “They start out and forever remain in
relationship.” In other words, entities (whether humans or technologies) have no inherent proper-
ties, but acquire form, attributes, and capabilities through their interpenetration. Scholars in this
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Table 2 Examples of research topics and authors who have adopted the emergent-force perspective in studying technology
in organizations
Research topic Author(s)
What meanings emerge to make sense of a new information system Prasad 1993
How do technological implementations entail the mutual adaptation of technology
and organization?
Leonard-Barton 1988
How does the use of electronic media get shaped by existing cultural norms and
practices?
Markus 1994, Yates et al. 1999
How does the design and use of technology shift the nature of work? Zuboff 1988
How does electronic surveillance affect team dynamics? Sewell 1998
How do lead users shape the nature of capabilities of new technologies? von Hippel 1994
How does the use of technology restructure organizational relations? Barley 1986, 1990; DeSanctis & Poole 1994;
Walsham 1993
How do computer technologies shape, and how are they shaped by,
technologies-in-practice?
Orlikowski 2000
When and how do the design, implementation, and adoption of a new
industry-wide information system shift relations among stakeholders?
Barrett & Walsham 1999
How does technology come to be institutionalized (or not), rendering new rules
and meanings during systems design with those already existing in the
organization?
Silva & Blackhouse 1997
How do particular interests and actions by various social groups shape the designs,
meanings, and uses of new technologies over time?
Ciborra & Lanzara 1994, Fulk 1993, Heath &
Luff 2000
How does technology serve to enable knowledge sharing across disparate
communities?
Bechky 2003, Carlile 2002
How do firms develop, manage, and deploy capabilities to influence strategy
formation and implementation?
Montealegre 2002
How do computer technologies shape, and how are they shaped by, improvised
learning?
Boudreau & Robey 2005
How do workers use and interpret a personal digital assistant as a resource for
boundary management?
Golden & Geisler 2007
How do consumers’ information needs and online information retrieval influence
their shopping process?
Kuruzovich et al. 2008
How do email and other communication technologies contribute to the stress that
people experience?
Barley et al. 2011
Which mechanisms contingently lead to the evolution of digital infrastructure? Henfridsson & Bygstad 2013
tradition posit that any distinction of humans and technologies is analytical only, and done with
the recognition that these entities necessarily involve each other in practice. Although this stream
of research is relatively new, Table 3 presents examples of research studies that have adopted this
perspective, showing the breath and fluidity of its intellectual ideas and substantive themes.
In sum, the alternative perspectives adopted in management research on technology and or-
ganizations provide valuable insights regarding what we know about the effects of technology for
OP/OB scholars that they might usefully draw upon to enhance our understanding of specific
aspects of the relationship between technology and organizations.
Whether emphasizing individual, stable entities or ongoing, interactive processes, existing
perspectives in the management research literature each generate distinctive blind spots in dealing
with technology in organizational life. We hope that future research will help to illuminate some
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Table 3 Examples of research topics and authors who have adopted the entanglement-in-practice perspective in studying
technology in organizations
Research topic Author(s)
How does the production and use of information technology within organizations entail an ongoing
“double mangling” of human and technological agencies?
Jones 1998
What is the flow of situated action as expressed through organizational routines, global product
development, strategizing, and communities of practice?
Feldman & Pentland 2003,
Jarzabkowski 2005,
Orlikowski 2002
How are the social-life spheres of university rankings, claims regarding accounting knowledge,
government regulations, and the practices of credit ratings agencies entangled with the
implementation of an enterprise resource planning package?
Scott & Wagner 2003
What have been the effects of the emergence of new sociotechnical relations and domains—digital
formations—that exhibit dynamics of their own, derived from technological capacities that enable
specific patterns of interaction?
Latham & Sassen 2005
How did the Black-Scholes pricing formula—the first to describe option pricing—come to enact,
over time, the world through its inscriptions in computer algorithms, professional skills, and
financial institutions?
MacKenzie 2006
Will an exploration of information growth challenge the assumption that there is a straightforward
connection between an objectified domain of technology and a normative world of institutions?
Kallinikos 2006
What are the sociotechnical dynamics of everyday practices, drawing on such cases as photocopiers,
robots, and cyborg information systems?
Suchman 2007
How does the process of delegation in the distribution of work between social and technical elements
over time reconfigure the organization of work and transform the way outcomes are accomplished?
Ribes et al. 2013
What are the dynamics of mutual constituency of social and material arrangements as they play out
in the practice of NASA scientists?
Mazmanian et al. 2014
How have meaning and materiality been entangled in the practices of evaluation and ranking in the
hospital industry through the use of social media?
Scott & Orlikowski 2014
How do key sociomaterial themes (materiality, inseparability, relationality, performativity, and
practices) apply in the implementation and use of a new clinical information system in a critical
care unit of a hospital?
Jones 2014
How did corporate directives and structure, business activities, and technology in the development
of information services coevolve?
Montealegre et al. 2014
What were the key tensions related to digital coordination in the use and development of a
computing grid infrastructure at CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research)?
Venters et al. 2014
How and why has the Internet transformed the work systems in which cars are sold? Barley 2015
of these blind spots more clearly, and to provide a deeper understanding of the role of management
and how it is changing in the emerging world of technology. The next section addresses this issue
in more detail.
TOWARD THE FUTURE: RESEARCH NEEDS ON THE EFFECTS
OF TECHNOLOGY ON WORK AND ORGANIZATIONS
It has been more than 25 years since Zuboff (1988) published her seminal book, In the Age of
the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power, an insightful study of the work implications
associated with the adoption of information technology in organizations. She was among the
first scholars to weave together the technological, sociological, and psychological processes that
converged to shape the modern workplace. The book is based on empirical relationships explored
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through in-depth ethnographic involvement in eight different organizational contexts in which
comprehensive computerization of work processes had been undertaken. Zuboff’s key insights are
about the nature of information and its significance in restructuring and redefining the patterns
and meanings of work—even though at the time she conducted her study the diffusion of the
Internet had not yet occurred.
More recently, Barley (2015) observed that a complex, pliable, changing, and ever-expanding
portfolio of Internet tools, information, and media is altering how we act in situations where we
previously would have acted differently. Before the Internet, for example, it was impossible to
communicate instantaneously as well as asynchronously across time and space, or to access vast
bodies of information without visiting a library or other repository. With the Internet, people
have easy access to information that previously they could not have found. Barley’s (2015) study
drew on ethnographic data collected over a two-year period in two car dealerships, and used role
theory and dramaturgical analysis of sales encounters to show how the Internet has changed the
relationship between car salespeople and their customers. This study revealed how and why the
Internet transformed the work system in which cars are sold. It changed the “rules of engagement”
in which salespeople and customers met to sell and buy vehicles. It eliminated the need for initial
face-to-face interactions, thereby changing scripted interactions during sales encounters. Those
changes altered the definition of the situation in ways that required salespeople and allowed
customers to play their roles differently.
In many ways research at the intersection of technology, work, and organizations is still in its
infancy. However, the manner in which technology is altering work settings and the work that
people do, particularly in this new stage of ubiquitous computing, raises compelling questions as
well as a need to revisit prior research in this area in the face of the emerging digital ubiquity.
What existing perspectives might they draw on to address these questions? What new or alternative
perspectives might be more relevant? To be sure, there is great potential for OP/OB researchers
to deepen our understanding and prediction of behavior in this domain, while also generating
important implications for practice. Drawing on conventional OP/OB research domains identified
by Cascio & Aguinis (2008a), we end our review with a discussion of approaches to these domains
that are supported by traditional and ubiquitous computing technologies and that identify related
research questions (see Table 4)
SOME GUIDANCE FOR RESEARCHERS
As researchers continue to study the effects of technology on individuals, work, and organizations,
we offer some important guidance. First, select your philosophical stance. Is the purpose of the
research to study the dynamic interactions between people (or organizations) and technology over
time? This is Orlikowski’s (2009) emergent-force perspective. Or is the purpose to focus on how
technology is intrinsic to everyday activities and relations (Orlikowski’s entanglement-in-practice
perspective)?
In either case, it is helpful to study in situ performance. Cascio & Aguinis (2008b) defined this
construct as the specification of the broad range of effects—situational, contextual, strategic, and
environmental—that may affect individual, team, or organizational performance. To appreciate
such effects, consider pre-employment testing. Traditionally candidates took tests at the em-
ployer’s site, in a quiet, distraction-free, and comfortable place, where employers could prevent
breaches of security by checking candidate identification, eliminating opportunities for collusion,
and controlling test materials at all times (Tippins 2015).
Now consider unproctored, Internet testing, where the candidate, not the employer, decides
which conditions work best for him or her. Technology can deliver simulations or pre-employment
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Table 4 Approaches to six HR areas supported by traditional and ubiquitous computing technologies and some related
research questions
HR area
Supported by traditional
technologya
Supported by ubiquitous
computingb
Research questions (in moving from
traditional to ubiquitous computing
technologies)
Job analysis
and design
Technology is part of the
“how,” a feature of the context
in which work is performed.
Employees often pool
resources to accomplish tasks.
Based on context-aware
technology that delivers the
right information to the right
person at the right place and
time. Technology is an integral
component and fundamental
feature of jobs.
How does the unlimited access to
computing, data, automation, and
communication networks change the
processes and dynamics of the work
activities of communication, document
sharing, knowledge exchange, and
collaboration? How do these changes
affect the nature of the work?
How can technology enable job designs that
advance, rather than threaten, innovation,
fulfilling work, and value creation?
How might the design of jobs balance
advances in technology to preserve
employee attention and to avoid
information saturation?
How might the design of work reduce the
stress associated with constant
connectivity?
Workforce
planning
Traditional technology is based
on descriptions of work
supported by documents,
charts, and schematics used by
supervisors relying on past
patterns and expected changes
in the business.
Ubiquitous computing is based
on digitized inventories of
talent. Teams of people that
might be geographically
distributed pool their
knowledge to solve immediate
problems. As information can
change instantly, supply and
demand forecasts rely on
multiple variables, allowing
what-if scenario planning.
What are the desired and undesired effects
on workforce planning of the removal of
time and space constraints in doing work,
improved access to decision makers, and
increased ability to receive and process
rich streams of data about the organization
and its environment?
Under what circumstances do ubiquitous
computing-related technologies affect
workforce collaboration, cohesion, and
performance?
How can organizations leverage technology
to enhance company, team, and individual
performance?
Recruitment
and staffing
Traditional technology is based
on locating, attracting,
selecting, and retaining capable
employees through media
advertising, broadcast postings,
yield pyramids, staffing graphs,
onsite testing, face-to-face
interviewing, on-boarding, and
historical background checks
that rely on individuals’ past
performance and expected
business needs.
Ubiquitous computing is based
on individuals and companies
exchanging continuous data
through social media, mobile
devices, electronic boards, and
other means that create mutual
awareness to transmit the right
message to the right person at
the right time.
What are the legal, ethical, privacy, and
fairness issues associated with filtering and
tracking individuals inside and outside an
organization, via the volume of digitalized
data that might be available?
How do applicant reactions and evaluations
of procedural justice change in response to
ubiquitous computing technology?
How is the role of the recruiter changing in
a world of constant connectivity?
What are the effects of technology-based
staffing on productivity at both individual
and enterprise levels?
(Continued )
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Table 4 (Continued )
HR area
Supported by traditional
technologya
Supported by ubiquitous
computingb
Research questions (in moving from
traditional to ubiquitous computing
technologies)
Training and
development
New employees learn from
experienced ones through
in-house, face-to-face
instruction, lectures,
simulations, or programmed
instruction, and also through
apprenticeship programs
whose focus is on-the-job
training.
Ubiquitous computing is based
on access to instantly available
knowledge, on-demand
development of skills and
intellectual abilities through
boundaryless delivery of
instruction materials, virtual
reality simulations,
asynchronous training,
educational games, chat rooms,
and knowledge-management
systems.
What are effective and efficient ways of
enabling and supporting
employee-centric training and
development?
Just as there are smart cars and smart
buildings, how can organizations enable
and support smart workers?
How can OP/OB researchers build on
their knowledge of effective training and
transfer of learning to the job (Blume
et al. 2010) to enhance the impact of new
training technologies (e.g., virtual reality,
e-learning, games)?
Performance
management
and
compensation
management
Periodic performance appraisals
are based on historical
tracking, behavioral checklists,
graphic rating scales, and
behaviorally anchored rating
scales; pay systems are based on
manual job evaluation,
pay-survey analyses,
spreadsheets to analyze bonus
and commission structures.
Ubiquitous computing is based
on instant and on-demand
appraisal, guidance, support
and alerts enabled by digital
traces of embedded and
context-aware technologies
tracking work and movements
of goods as well as of roaming
employees. Software manages
job evaluation, pay-survey
analyses, complex bonus and
commission structures, reports,
and analytics. Pay is based on
specific work output.
What strategies promote workable,
sensible performance management and
fair compensation in digital, ubiquitous
working environments?
How do factors such as employee tenure,
social ties, and nonwork-related
communication affect organization and
employee performance in a world of
unlimited connectivity?
What are ways of enhancing employee
retention in an environment in which
barriers to interruption are reduced and
expectations of availability are increased?
What are effective and efficient ways to
supervise employees in ubiquitous
technology work environments?
Career
management
Traditional technology is based
on a joint effort of employee
and company in matching
career goals through
career-path planning, in-house
library, intranets for career
self-service, and online
self-assessments.
Ubiquitous computing is based
on employee-centric career
arrangements in recognition
that wants and needs vary over
the span of an individual’s
career. Untethered workers are
able to perform tasks anywhere
at any time.
What are effective and ineffective ways of
coaching employees to self-manage their
careers? What kinds of technology might
enhance this process? What strategies
might improve work/life integration?
What is the role of personal control,
collaboration, and coordination of career
management in a world of digital
ubiquity?
What does HR leadership mean in this
new digital era?
aTraditional technology is characterized by interactions based on keyboards, computer mice, joysticks, monitors, and devices that assume a fixed physical
relationship between the employee and her/his work environment. Even mobile devices are not context aware—thus creating distraction problems given
that the employee is often preoccupied with walking, driving, or other essential interactions with the real world.
bUbiquitous computing technology is characterized by interactions based on sensors and devices embedded in products, processes, individuals, and
buildings, and the unlimited access to computing, data, and communication networks from any location at any time. Context-aware technology is alert to
an employee’s physical surroundings as well as his/her cognitive and social states, and makes decisions in a proactive fashion, anticipating the employee’s
needs.
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assessments to any location at any time, and this raises numerous other issues that might affect
outcomes of interest (e.g., reliability and validity of the measures, adverse impact, size of the
applicant pool, differences in means and standard deviations, applicant reactions, perceptions of
procedural justice).
A researcher who wishes to study the effects of technology on test performance must con-
sider not only differences in the mode of administration (e.g., paper-and-pencil versus computer),
but also the mode of test delivery (e.g., face-to-face interviews versus remote, videoconference
interviews). Either of these might affect the construct(s) being measured as well as assessment
outcomes; other contextual, strategic, or environmental effects may, as well. Potosky (2008) pro-
posed four such attributes. These are transparency (the extent to which the medium facilitates
the communication exchange), social bandwidth (the capacity for data transfer), interactivity (the
pace of mutual or reciprocal exchange between communicating parties), and surveillance (the
extent to which an outside party can monitor messages carried by the medium for test adminis-
tration). Such specification of the broad range of effects that might affect performance—that is, in
situ performance—provides a richer, fuller, context-embedded description of the outcomes that
researchers wish to predict.
Another consideration is research methodologies. For those interested in studying the effects
of technology on work systems and organizational structures, role theory may be especially useful.
Barley (1990, 2015) argued that technologies trigger change by altering workers’ nonrelational
roles, that is, the tasks they perform and how they perform them. Such changes may then lead
to changes in the nature of interactions workers have with members of their role set (those with
whom they interact while doing their work) and who comprises their role set (e.g., robots as
coworkers, or cobots). If role relations change in either way, then the social network may change.
If it does, one can say that technology has altered the work system. Changes in role relations are
therefore key to changes in work systems.
Role-based studies of how technologies alter work systems usually involve ethnography.
Ethnography provides insights about who interacts with whom, and potentially about what, but
not how they enact their relationships (Barley 2015). To study how people play their roles, re-
searchers need to document repetitive patterns of typical encounters. A method that facilitates
this is dramaturgical analysis (Goffman 1959, 1983). Relying on observations rather than inter-
views, dramaturgy highlights roles, scripts, interactions, and role relations, including those with
whom users interact regardless of whether they also use the technology. Dramaturgy asks a simple
question, namely, has the technology shaped role relations within the work system in which it
resides? The combination of role theory and dramaturgical analysis allows researchers to address
holistically yet systematically both social and material features of technology-based changes in
work systems.
An additional methodological alternative for studying how technologies alter work systems is
experience sampling (Beal 2015). Experience sampling methods (ESM), a family of approaches,
attempt to capture a wide range of each individual’s experiences as they occur in daily life, as close
to the moment that they occur as possible. Typically, ESM designs involve intensive, repeated
assessments with brief intervals (e.g., several hours to a day, or even 1–2 weeks). Because ESM
attempts to capture fluctuations in one’s daily experiences, it is clearly a within-person process,
but Beal (2015) has shown that ESM can also link to higher levels of analysis that are aggregated
versions of individual-level variables, such as customer service or store sales per work hour.
ESM clearly offers several advantages in the form of reductions in memory and method biases,
as well as ease of study implementation and data collection. For example, the use of participants’
own smartphones facilitates signaling, survey administration, and the collection of responses. At
the same time, however, the use of ESM may create problems that do not ordinarily exist in
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more traditional research designs (Beal 2015). For example, high-intensity, repeated assessments
can lead to participant fatigue, reduced or careless responding, or within-subject manipulation of
affect. Measurement equivalence is another concern, that is, whether the same construct is being
assessed at each measurement occasion in the same manner. However, to allay concerns about
internal validity, the certainty with which inferences are made for observed effects, researchers
might usefully incorporate elements of experimental or quasi-experimental designs (Shadish et al.
2002).
ESM data, which capture individual experiences, for example, as new technology is introduced
into a work setting, might usefully be combined with naturalistic observations of conversations in
the form of audio clips. There are many other potential uses of ESM data to paint an extremely
comprehensive, dynamic assessment of an individual’s or work group’s daily life, either from the
perspective of technology as an emergent force or as entanglement in practice. The possibilities
are limited only by the imagination and ingenuity of researchers.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
This review offers three main contributions. First, it presents an up-to-date treatment of the role
that technology, particularly information and communication technology, is playing in changing
work and organizations. Second, it summarizes and interprets the progress, direction, and purpose
of the current research related to technology and work in organizations. Third, it illustrates the
implications for future research and for the OP/OB discipline as a whole that go far beyond the
fundamental effort to align technology and the work done in organizations.
Ultimately, as noted by Coovert & Thompson (2014b), the critical issue to consider is not
technology in and of itself; rather, it is how to create and use psychological theory and research
to deepen our understanding about how to manage the impact and implementation of emerging
developments. The objective is clear: Maximize the positive consequences for individuals and
organizations and minimize the negative effects. This will be a stimulating and ongoing challenge
for the field of OP/OB.
DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
The authors are not aware of any affiliations, memberships, funding, or financial holdings that
might be perceived as affecting the objectivity of this review.
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Annual Review
of Organizational
Psychology and
Organizational
Behavior
Volume 3, 2016
Contents
Stumbling Toward a Social Psychology of Organizations: An
Autobiographical Look at the Direction of Organizational Research
Barry M. Staw ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp1
Team-Centric Leadership: An Integrative Review
Steve W.J. Kozlowski, Stanton Mak, and Georgia T. Chao pppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp21
Mindfulness in Organizations: A Cross-Level Review
Kathleen M. Sutcliffe, Timothy J. Vogus, and Erik Dane pppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp55
Themes in Expatriate and Repatriate Research over Four Decades:
What Do We Know and What Do We Still Need to Learn?
Maria Kraimer, Mark Bolino, and Brandon Mead ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp83
Identity Under Construction: How Individuals Come to Define
Themselves in Organizations
Blake E. Ashforth and Beth S. Schinoff pppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp111
Dyadic Relationships
Robert C. Liden, Smriti Anand, and Prajya Vidyarthi ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp139
Genetics and Organizational Behavior
Richard D. Arvey, Wen-Dong Li, and Nan Wang ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp167
Safety Climate in Organizations
Mark A. Griffin and Matteo Curcuruto ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp191
To Seek or Not to Seek: Is That the Only Question? Recent
Developments in Feedback-Seeking Literature
Susan J. Ashford, Katleen De Stobbeleir, and Mrudula Nujella ppppppppppppppppppppppppp213
Dynamic Modeling
Mo Wang, Le Zhou, and Zhen Zhang ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp241
Learner Control and e-Learning: Taking Stock and Moving Forward
Kenneth G. Brown, Garett Howardson, and Sandra L. Fisher ppppppppppppppppppppppppppp267
vii
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Charisma: An Ill-Defined and Ill-Measured Gift
John Antonakis, Nicolas Bastardoz, Philippe Jacquart, and Boas Shamir ppppppppppppppp293
The Nonconscious at Work
Michael G. Pratt and Eliana Crosina pppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp321
How Technology Is Changing Work and Organizations
Wayne F. Cascio and Ramiro Montealegre pppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp349
Impression Management in Organizations: Critical Questions,
Answers, and Areas for Future Research
Mark Bolino, David Long, and William Turnley ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp377
Employer Image and Employer Branding: What We Know and What
We Need to Know
Filip Lievens and Jerel E. Slaughter ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp407
The Social Context of Decisions
Richard P. Larrick ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp441
Adaptive Measurement and Assessment
Matt Barney and William P. Fisher Jr. ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp469
Errata
An online log of corrections to Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and
Organizational Behavior articles may be found at http://www.annualreviews.org/
errata/orgpsych
viii Contents
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... Increasing capacity of ICT has further been empowered by the growth of a global network of computer networks known as internet (Teng et al., 2020). It has impacted in the way business is conducted, facilitated learning and knowledge sharing, generated global information flows, empowered citizens and communities in ways that have re-defined governance and have created significant wealth and economic growth resulting in a global information society (Cascio & Montealegre, 2016). ...
... In accordance with the rating of low and high, as indication of level of awareness of available e-learning facilities, the respondents' scores in level of awareness as shown in Table 2, range 1-22 with a mean of 10.9. To find the level of awareness of available e-learning facilities, the scores were grouped into two categories; low (0-11) and high (12)(13)(14)(15)(16)(17)(18)(19)(20)(21)(22). The analysis revealed that level of awareness of available e-learning facilities by the respondents, with a majority (71.0%) claiming to be as low, while 29.0% ...
... To determine the level, the respondents' scores were grouped into two categories. It described (0-7) as low, and (8)(9)(10)(11)(12)(13)(14) as high. The results of the level of knowledge according to the respondents', with more than half (53.0%) stating as low, while 47.0% of the total respondents indicated high level of knowledge towards the use of e-learning facilities. ...
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This study aimed at determining the utilization of e-learning by agricultural students' of public higher institutions in the Southwest of Nigeria. A multistage sampling procedure was used to select 300 respondents from the higher institutions. Students were mostly female with a mean age of 22.4 years and with majority enrolled in undergraduate programmes. Respondents had a low usage of e-learning due to low awareness and knowledge level, complexity of technology and inadequate e-learning infrastructures in their schools. A significant relationship existed between constraints, awareness, knowledge, and utilization of e-learning. The regression analysis carried out in this study resulted in R-square of .957. These findings indicate that about 95.7% of variance in the level of usage of e-learning is explained by awareness, knowledge and different constraints. The study recommends that efforts should be geared towards encouraging students to integrate e-learning usage in their academic activities by providing e-learning infrastructures and easy access through competent e-learning personnel.
... In addition, previous studies found that technology advancement has effect on how humans live, work, think, communicate and create [16,97]. Although it is argued that the direction of the effect is not technology in and of itself; rather, it is how to create and manage the impact and implementation of emerging developments [18]. ...
... The results also supported other studies that technological work environment had significant effect on creative product [63,30]. Scholars posited that technology is adding value, and changing work and organizations although, it is argued that the direction of the effect is not technology in and of itself; rather, it is how to create and manage the impact and implementation of emerging developments [16,18]. Indeed, it is often debated that the connection between technology and creativity is a key issue for twenty-first century education [67]. ...
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Creative product generates novel research output and patents which has been on the decline in Nigeria among academia when compared with other universities in both developing and developed countries. Therefore, this paper investigated whether flexible wellbeing elements such as workload, mental health, life satisfaction, physical, psychological and technological work environment, has effect on creative product in selected private universities in South West Nigeria. A cross-sectional survey research design was adopted and data were collected from 532 academic staff ranked as Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor, and Professor from 8 selected private universities in South West Nigeria through a multi-stage random sampling technique. The questionnaire was adapted; validity and reliability tests were conducted before it was administered. The result from multiple regression analysis revealed that flexible wellbeing elements had a positive significant effect on creative product (Adj. R 2 = 0.314 (F (6, 525) = 41.561, p<0.05) in selected private universities in South West Nigeria and the artificial neural network analysis showed technological work environment as the best individual predictor followed by physical and psychological work environment. It recommended that administrative policies regulating academic staff work-based-empowering wellbeing measures should be redefined and fine-tuned to support academic staff members' knowledge-based culture and creativity to boost novelty, patents, and scholarly research.
... Nowadays, organizations face greater complexity due to ever-increasing competitive pressure and introduction of new technologies (e.g. Cascio and Montealegre, 2016). That implies the impracticality to rely on fixed procedures and the need for constant change and adjustment for dealing with unexpected situations and exploiting new opportunities (Anderson et al., 2014;Bagheri et al., 2020). ...
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Purpose This study aims to explore whether expected image outcomes (risk and gain) represent a mechanism through which perceived organizational climates, in the dimensions of tradition and reflexivity, affect key components of the innovation process (idea generation and idea realization). Design/methodology/approach Structural equation models have been conducted to empirically analyse 3 waves of longitudinal survey data from an Italian military organization ( N = 410). Findings Results confirmed that image outcome expectations mediated the effects of perceived climate on idea generation, and that a serial mediation of image expectations and idea generation those on idea realization. Additionally, reflexivity was directly associated with idea generation. Practical implications The findings offer guidance for organizations that aim to strengthen employee-driven innovation, highlighting the importance of organizational climate and image outcomes expectations. Originality/value Advancing from existing organizational behaviour and individual innovation literature, this article contributes to extend knowledge about the role of organizational climate and image outcome expectations in enhancing innovative work behaviours.
... Due to the environmental factors and administrative developments, the need of third world countries for modern IS depends on automated computers. Especially since there is a strong demand for the acquisition of modern technological devices, due to the technical capabilities available in them [8]. ...
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The literature supports that information systems improve the effective performance of any organization and gain a competitive advantage for their success in the business environment. Therefore, the scholars should do more studies that focus on how to enhance organizational performance to let corporations to sustain their competitive advantage. This study aims to empirically investigate the mediating role of competitive advantage with information systems capabilities and organizational performance among managers and department heads working in Jordanian industrial corporations. The study population consisted of all managers and department heads working in 20 Jordanian industrial corporations. The analysis of the data included the calculation of descriptive statistics as well as structural equation modeling, regression analysis, correlation analysis, and factor analysis. The study results showed that information systems capabilities, competitive advantage, and organizational performance were statistically significant. In addition, the result revealed that information system capabilities through competitive advantage influence organizational performance. The study model developed to provide the relationships of information systems capabilities through competitive advantage that can be used by Jordanian industrial corporations as evidence of a positive impact on organizational performance of managers and heads of departments in their corporations.
... Changes in the labor market present both challenges and opportunities for career development (Hirschi, 2018;Ghislieri et al., 2018;Lent, 2018). Technological innovations have created new sectors of employment that require diverse skill sets and training (Cascio & Montealegre, 2016). Yet automation replaces many jobs and threatens the availability of stable work that pays sufficient income and benefits for millions of people (Brynjolfsson & McAfee, 2014). ...
Article
Full-text available
Despite a rapidly changing labor market, little is known about how youth’s career goals correspond to projections about the future of work. This research examined the career aspirations of 3,367 adolescents (age 13–18 years) from 42 U.S. states. We conducted a large-scale coding effort using the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) to compile the vocational interests, educational requirements, and automation risk levels of career aspirations. Results revealed that most adolescents aspired to careers with low potential for automation. However, there were large discrepancies between the sample’s aspirations and the types of jobs available when the sample entered the workforce. Almost 50% of adolescents aspired to either an investigative or artistic career, which together account for only 8% of the U.S. labor market. There were also notable trends across age and gender, such that aspirations were more gendered among younger adolescents, whereas older adolescents appeared less influenced by gender stereotypes. Overall, findings indicate important discrepancies between young people’s dream jobs and employment realities. We discuss how lofty career aspirations can have both positive and negative effects, and we present implications for career theories and workforce development initiatives aimed at promoting a more dynamic future workforce.
... ( Gaudioso et al., 2017 ;Tarafdar, Tu, Ragu-Nathan, & Ragu-Nathan, 2007 ) Even though using technology may contribute to technostress, achieving an optimal fit between the technology functionality, tasks, and individual abilities would alleviate it ( Ayyagari et al., 2011 ). Technology that enables individuals at work and promotes employee self-motivation and well-being will boost productivity and job satisfaction ( Cascio & Montealegre, 2016 ). On the contrary, in situations where the TTF is poor and technostress is present, individuals may engage in a coping process to minimise the distress. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter presents the task-technology fit theory, which argues that the functionality of technology and the task it aims to support should match with the individual abilities of users to achieve improved performance and outcomes. Furthermore, we look at the transactional theory of stress and coping, which explains how stress emerges between the interaction of individuals and their environment and how individuals cope with stress. With these theories, we explore technostress as a workplace issue in knowledge work. Technostress refers to the challenges of adopting and coping with new digital technologies and affects knowledge workers’ well-being at work. In this chapter, we combine the task-technology fit theory with the transactional theory of stress and coping in a conceptual framework that workplace researchers can use to investigate the implementation of new digital technologies and their maintenance in workplaces while minimising technostress. We propose to apply and test the conceptual framework through action research by applying methods that can reduce the negative effects of technostress, for example, building awareness of technostress, minimising techno-stressors, and establishing adaptive coping mechanisms. While contributing to work-related stress research, participatory interventions may also assist organizations in reducing the effects of technostress.
... This finding supports the arguments ofDimnwobi, Ekesiobi, & Mgbemena (2016) andKremer et al. (2019), who posited that innovative leaders generate new ideas and concepts that will improve the quality of operations and enhance the dynamic agility of FBOs. The finding also validates a similar submission byCascio & Montealegre (2016). Three: In a related development, hypothesis three also depicts a path coefficient of 0.325, a t-value of 5.420, and a p-value of 0.000. ...
... The sociotechnical intertwinement of technology and society makes technology a grand challenge for organizations. Mainstream management and organization theories tend to focus on the instrumentality of technology for organizational performance, seeing it as enabling people to do their work faster, more innovatively and effectively, or as a way to dislocate workers (Cascio & Montealegre, 2016). Feminist theorizing addresses this grand challenge in a distinctive way, developing knowledge on the defining role of social categories in the design, implementation and use of technologies in organizations and society at large. ...
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Feminist organization theories develop knowledge about how organizations and processes of organizing shape and are shaped by gender, in intersection with race, class and other forms of social inequality. The politics of knowledge within management and organization studies tend to marginalize and silence feminist theorizing on organizations, and so the field misses out on the interdisciplinary, sophisticated conceptualizations and reflexive modes of situated knowledge production provided by feminist work. To highlight the contributions of feminist organization theories, I discuss the feminist answers to three of the grand challenges that contemporary organizations face: inequality, technology and climate change. These answers entail a systematic critique of dominant capitalist and patriarchal forms of organizing that perpetuate complex intersectional inequalities. Importantly, feminist theorizing goes beyond mere critique, offering alternative value systems and unorthodox approaches to organizational change, and providing the radically different ways of knowing that are necessary to tackle the grand challenges. The paper develops an aspirational ideal by sketching the contours of how we can organize for intersectional equality, develop emancipatory technologies and enact a feminist ethics of care for the human and the natural world.
... Digital technologies and tools have brought novel opportunities and challenges to the built environment and have profoundly shaped the way we design, manage, and make decisions [1,2]. Built environment professionals and organisations are inevitably facing increasing challenges when embracing digital transformation. ...
Conference Paper
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Digital technologies and tools have brought novel opportunities and challenges to the built environment and have profoundly shaped the way we design, manage, and make decisions [1,2]. Built environment professionals and organisations are inevitably facing increasing challenges when embracing digital transformation. Among them, one salient challenge for practitioners and organisations is ‘Do we have the fundamental capabilities to leverage those digital technologies and tools?’. To address this challenge, it is essential to decode the relationships between digital tasks (what to do with tools) and digital competencies (how to use tools). Furthermore, it is also of importance to better understand and define functional roles which individuals or a team should play within organisations [3]. However, as the digital tasks and digital competencies are becoming increasingly complex, identifying functional roles could be particularly intractable in practice, especially for hidden roles that are often covered by complex interdependent relationships. In this paper, we use quantitative network models and a community detection method to perform a role discovery exercise based on an investigation of digital tasks and competencies. The objective is to seek possible ways to identify important or missing functional role(s) for practitioners and support the development of a competency framework.
The goal of this study is to demonstrate a ‘proof of concept’ for a comprehensive methodological tool that helps architects and building operators distinguish building functions according to their initial investment costs for interiors, utilization rates, and use qualities. For a given building, the method examines the ratio between enclosed and open spaces, i.e. mono-purpose spaces versus open, flexible, multi-purpose spaces. From here, the method systematically collected and synthesized normalized features to compare and balance operational costs and utilization with user needs and satisfaction. To demonstrate the method, we apply it to a newly constructed university building in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. For this case example, initial investment and operation costs for interior and technical equipment are drawn from space inventories and are then supplemented with space-utilization rates from sensors and booking reference systems. User feedback from the distinct spaces are then integrated into the assessment metrics, forming the baseline for improving the ratio between open and enclosed spaces within higher education facilities. Our findings suggest that increasing the proportion of open spaces would lead to both economic benefits and improved experience for buildings users. This can enhance the design, maintenance and refine interior spaces so that they are more dynamic and able to meet the increasing trend for more flexible and self-directed space use.
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Experts suggest that automation and advanced digital technologies are eliminating the need for people in a growing number of jobs. Advanced technologies have created an uncertain future of dismal job opportunities, stagnant income, and worsening inequality. Experts argue that such advancements in computer technology, ranging from improved industrial robotics to automated translation services have resulted in sluggish employment growth over a long period of time. Academic experts from MIT foresee dismal prospects for many types of jobs as these powerful new technologies are increasingly adopted in manufacturing, clerical, and retail work, along with professions such as law, financial services, education, and medicine. Experts believe that rapid technological change has been destroying jobs faster than it is creating them, contributing to the stagnation of median income and the growth of inequality in the US.
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In taking into account the ways in which material and social realms are constitutively entangled within organizations, it is rhetorically tempting to say that technologies and social structures reconfigure each other. But what does it mean to reconfigure? How does one "figure" the other and how do we fully embrace a mutually constitutive relationship when examining fluid relations? This paper delves into these questions by exploring how physical, social, material, technological, and organizational arrangements dynamically reconfigure each other in the duration of organizational practice. Using the venue of space exploration, we present three empirical examples from an ethnographic engagement with a NASA mission orbiting an outer planet in the solar system to examine various configurations and sociomaterial relations. In this endeavor, we suggest that theoretical and empirical traction can be gained by focusing attention on the dynamic reconfigurations between social and material realms. In so doing, we call attention to the ways in which current sociomaterial perspectives have difficulty articulating the shifting, figural, asymmetric and dynamic negotiations between people, social structures, information technologies, and representational objects. This paper contributes to current discussions of sociomaterial relations in information systems research by presenting an empirical treatment of entangled and shifting reconfigurations and providing language for engaging with this perspective.
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Sociomateriality has been attracting growing attention in the Organization Studies and Information Systems literatures since 2007, with more than 140 journal articles now referring to the concept. Over 80 percent of these articles have been published since January 2011 and almost all cite the work of Orlikowski (2007, 2010; Orlikowski and Scott 2008) as the source of the concept. Only a few, however, address all of the notions that Orlikowski suggests are entailed in sociomateriality, namely materiality, inseparability, relationality, performativity, and practices, with many employing the concept quite selectively. The contribution of sociomateriality to these literatures is, therefore, still unclear. Drawing on evidence from an ongoing study of the adoption of a computer-based clinical information system in a hospital critical care unit, this paper explores whether the notions, individually and collectively, offer a distinctive and coherent account of the relationship between the social and the material that may be useful in Information Systems research. It is argued that if sociomateriality is to be more than simply a label for research employing a number of loosely related existing theoretical approaches, then studies employing the concept need to pay greater attention to the notions entailed in it and to differences in their interpretation.