Impact of Technology on Work and Working Practices

Impact of Technology on Work and Working Practices
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Impact of Technology on Work and Working Practices
The last decade has seen a significant expansion in the availability and use of information
technology, which has created a paradigm shift in the workplace. The influx of information
technology has transformed various aspects of the modern organization such as communication,
human resource management, supply chain management and productivity (Bodet, 2013). The
implication is that the current employee has more tools at his or her disposal to increase
productivity and communicate with staff across the globe on emerging issues in regards to a
particular industry (Bodet, 2013). The impact of technology in the workplace over the last
decade can be crystallized into the effect of social media in changing the boundaries of
communication, the interface of information technology and human resource management
(HRM) and the emergence of e-commerce.
In the last ten years, the workforce has become increasingly filled with younger
generations of workers, with a critical emphasis on the importance and use of social media at
work. This younger generation expects technology and social media to be core communication
tools in an organization (Strohmeier, 2013). The extensive use of social media means that
information that was previously considered personal is now information that is freely shared.
Consequently, the workplace has become more cohesive because people can easily collect
information about each other which helps in knowing how to relate with one another. Also,
managers can refer to social media in making decisions in the most suitable positions for
employees depending on personal interests expressed on social media (Strohmeier, 2013).
Additionally, the use of social media for internal and external communication translates into
shorter response time because managers and employees are expected to provide feedback
spontaneously even when they do not have complete information.
The functions of HRM have gained increasing strategic emphasis over the last decade.
Effective HRM is vital for an organization to meet the dynamic needs of the market as well as
attract and retain the well-qualified employees at all times. Technology has a significant
influence on HRM and by extension the organization of the workplace (Strohmeier, 2013). One
of the critical impacts of IT is that it provided a framework for evaluating the productivity of
employees, thereby freeing the HR staff from intermediary roles and allowing them to focus on
value-added activities for the employees. For example, with the use human resource information
systems (HRIS), human resource managers can set minimum requirements which are evaluated
by software during the application for a position in an organization (Strohmeier, 2013). The same
technology can be used for regular employee performance evaluation upon which employee can
be rendered redundant.
The exponential growth of e-commerce has been one of the major technological
innovations of the last decade. Companies such as Amazon and Alibaba have become among the
biggest retailers, changing the way of doing business and organization of the workplace (Marler
& Parry, 2015). Unlike traditional retail companies, e-commerce businesses can make more sales
with fewer employees. Also, with innovations of drones to solve the logistical issues, it means
that these companies bypass the services of many intermediaries which have rendered a
significant number of jobs redundant (Marler & Parry, 2015). It is imperative to note that a
majority of e-commerce companies operate without inventories. Hence, they have leveraged on
technology to reduce operational costs and increase profit margins. The effect has been the
growth of multinational with a limited workforce, which has incentivized employees to shift
focus and seek to gain IT skills to remain competitive (Marler & Parry, 2015).
In a word, it is apparent that technology has significantly changed work and work
practices in the last ten years. The three organizational areas that have been most affected are
communication, human resource management, and e-commerce. The growth of social media has
changed communication within and between organizations. This has enabled firms to get
immediate responses and reduce time-lags in decision-making. In regards to HRM and e-
commerce, technology has created software to manage the workforce and execute sales
Bodet, S. (2013). Gaining acceptance in the workplace. Biometric Technology Today, 2010(4),
Marler, J., & Parry, E. (2015). Human resource management, strategic involvement, and e-HRM
technology. The International Journal Of Human Resource Management, 27(19), 2233-
Strohmeier, S. (2013). Employee relationship management Realizing competitive advantage
through information technology?. Human Resource Management Review, 23(1), 93-104.

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