Impact of Technology on Structure & Design of Organizations

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  • 0:03 Technology and Organizations
  • 1:16 Automation
  • 2:53 Information Technology
  • 4:08 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Emily Cummins
Technology has changed many aspects of human life. In this lesson, we'll focus on the way it has changed how organizations work. In particular, we'll talk about how automation and information technology have impacted the workplace.

Technology and Organizations

Technology is all around us. It's become so ubiquitous that we almost don't notice it. But what impact has all of this technology had on the workplace? In this lesson, we discuss how technology has changed the face of the workplace, including a focus on two specific points of interest: automation and information technology.

First, let's talk about some of the broad ways that technology has impacted the workforce. Technology has a number of different impacts on organizations. For one thing, it can impact the structure of an organization. This means introducing new technology to employees through training. Often this requires that more information technology (IT) professionals are added to a workplace.

It can also mean changes to the physical lay out of an organization. For example, switching over to computers from hand filing might mean that file clerks are no longer needed. This changes the layout of an office.

These kinds of technological changes can also make organizations more efficient. While upgrading the technology might be initially expensive, it can help organizations save money in the long term.

Now that we've talked about some of the broader ways that technology impacts organizations, let's talk about the specific processes brought about by technology.

Automation

At the broadest level, automation refers to the ways that machines replace work that was once done by humans. Automation is designed to be a labor-saving technique. This is just what it sounds like: companies use technology instead of hiring additional workers.

A good example of the automation process in the United States is in the agricultural industry. In the past, most of the labor in this industry was done by humans. Tilling, mowing, and fertilizing were done by people. However, the advent of new farming technologies has changed, and now many of these processes are done by machines.

Replaced by Robots?

Does this mean that robots are going to take all of our jobs? It's not that black and white. While automation has eliminated or replaced some jobs, it has also created other ones. We need new IT professionals and other kinds of employees to work on the technology that comes along with automation.

Research has found that less than five percent of jobs can be totally automated. Basically, this means that it's very unlikely we could see total automation of most of our occupations. And, for example, even jobs that have an automated component still require a human being. Think about the self-scan aisle at the grocery store. Even though this technology is doing a job that a human can also do, you still have human beings there to help if something goes wrong or to check identification for alcohol purchases.

Automation is most likely to complement, rather than supplant, most human labor. For example, in very high-skilled jobs, machines can be developed that will help employees focus their attention and be more productive. This will help organizations become more profitable and efficient.

Information Technology

Information technology (IT) has had a number of effects on organizations; so what exactly is it? Basically, IT refers to computers and computer networks, communication systems, telephones and cellular networks, and data storage and retrieval.

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