Evidence of this can be seen in several industries in which Hong Kong is not longer as competitive as it once was (Edmonds, 2004).
There are several reasons for the diminished international business reputation Hong Kong has experienced in recent years. Like other countries Hong Kong has been affected by the problems present in the overall global economy. In addition, the political climate in Hong Kong has changed the level of economic freedom that allowed businesses to excel in the country. In addition to these reasons for the diminished reputation, there are industries that have failed to provide proper it training to employees.
Several studies have found a positive correlation between Information technology training and competitive advantage. According to an article entitled "Information Technology as Competitive Advantage: The Role of Human, Business, and Technology Resources "
IT creates advantage by leveraging or exploiting preexisting, complementary human and business resources. In the retail industry, sophisticated it users did not generally outperform less sophisticated users, but those that combined it with critical complementary resources did gain performance advantages (Poell & Dent- Micallef, 1997, 375)."
It could be concluded for this research that information technology is pivotal to the development of a competitive advantage. Acquiring and maintaining a competitive advantage is essential to making a firm or an industry profitable. Firms that possess a competitive advantage have high levels of productivity and employees at these firms have high morale.
With this understood it is important to understand the ways in which it training leads to productivity and boosts the morale of employees. As training relates to productivity "A relationship between training and productivity is fundamental to the existence of the vocational education and training system." Not only is vocational education built upon a foundation of training, training is the most important determinant in job performance and productivity levels. The author further asserts that Drawing in part on feedback from employees, the research has highlighted the importance, for operational personnel, of one-to-one, relatively informal, work-based learning in being able to apply skills within the context of a particular enterprise. Firms that have integrated on-the-job training with class-based teaching, and with assessment and recording of achievement against customized industry standards, tend to have benefited most from their investment in training. The research has also suggested that training must not be provided as an event, but as something which is integral to the business function by being built into everything that takes place (Maglen et al., X)."
This finding suggests that the training of employees makes a difference in their ability to be productive. It can also be concluded that on-the-job training should be ongoing if an industry expects to see improvements in productivity. This research also establishes that training is a type of investment that can yield significant returns when properly implemented.
Additionally as it pertains to the increase in productivity, it training simply leads to greater efficiency which increases productivity. An article published in the journal Management Science, asserts that employee training and investment in it have a positive impact on productivity. According to the article, nation's that invested in it training and technology equipment increased productivity.
The increase in productivity is due to the capacity of the employees to recognize and incorporate technology into the workplace environment. According to an article entitled "The Productivity Pay-Off from Effective Allocation of it and Non-it Labour," much of the increases in productivity that occurred during the 1990's in American can be attributed to large investments in information technology.
These investments in technology were inclusive of telecommunications, hardware and software. Companies used these new technologies to make business processes more efficient leading to improvements in profitability, productivity and market share. In addition, companies trained employees concerning the proper use of these new technologies which asl contributed to the improvements in productivity.
The article asserts that the companies that took an intensive approach to making their corporate infrastructure technological, many changes also occurred within the labor force. These changes occurred because the increase in the presence of technologies called for the hiring of highly skilled employees in certain areas of information systems technology. The article explains "the character of the corporate labor force then evolved into one combining individuals with it skills who could develop and implement software applications and build and maintain it networks; and employees with fewer it skills (Kudyba, 2004, 235)." The author asserts that in an effort to get the most out of the technologies a company must ensure that it has workers with it skills. These workers are not only important as it pertains to ensuring the information is operating properly, they are also critical because they are able to lend a hand in training employees without it skills. The author also reports that Economists have long been concerned with labour productivity. National labour statistics such as those published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the United States are collected all across the world, enabling the estimation of labour productivity (Kent, Jablonski and Klarquist, 1995); and national productivity statistics are estimated as a function of output generated per unit of labour input. Management is also concerned with labour productivity in human resource management (Huselid, 1995: Barney, Feurst and Mata, 1995). These studies conclude that management initiatives which increase employees' skills and knowledge have a positive impact on corporate productivity, and that the source of organizations' sustained competitive advantages is their skilled employees (Kudyba, 2004, 235)."
The author further asserts that modern approaches in management theory have focused on "knowledge management" strategies. Such strategies are geared toward increasing organizational productivity by improving upon the skills employees already possess through the use of information technologies (Davenport and Prusak, 1998, Kudyba, 2004). The author goes on to state that various studies have found a definitive correlation between investment in high technology and need for skilled labor (Berman, Bound and Griliches, 1994; Autor, Katz and Krueger, 1998; Kudyba, 2004).
Although there is a positive correlation between it training/investment and productivity, increases in productivity are not guaranteed. Epstein & Buhovac (2006) explains that businesses must use the appropriate measures when determining the type of training and investment that is needed; if firms do not use the appropriate measures the wrong types of technological investments can be implemented. Likewise, firms must ensure that the appropriate training is implemented.
Overall the research suggests a positive correlation between it training/investment and productivity. The research asserts that it training/investment is critical because it provides employees and companies with the resources needed to ensure that tasks can be carried out efficiently. Proper it training/investment speeds up business processes, which means that companies can service more people in a shorter period of time. This results in greater productivity and increased profitability.
Morale and it Training
Morale is defined as the condition of the spirits of a person or group demonstrated by confidence, cheerfulness, discipline, and willingness to perform assigned tasks. Within the context of the business environment morale is what propels people to work hard and to meet the goals they are expected to meet. Every industry wants workers who have good morale so that the industry can be profitable and productive.
It has long been established that skills training is an essential component in guaranteeing a high level of morale. This is the case for any type of skill whether it be military training or it training. As it pertains to it training workers desire to have the skills to work in ways that will meet the goals of the organization.
In addition to productivity, morale is also boosted by the presence of information technology and training. According to an article entitled "6 Ways to Boost Employee Morale," not only is it training important for the morale of all employees, it is particularly critical for it workers. It workers are those employees that are specifically responsible for various aspects of a company's information system. This includes networks, security, help desks, programming and so forth. Morale is more important to it workers because of the frequency with which changes occur within the context of information technology. In order to properly carry out their jobs it workers must have the most current training. Having access to this continuous education provides it workers with an increased level of morale (Heller, 2003).
The article also explains that businesses should make a concerted effort to guarantee that it workers get the proper training. The author contends that of budget cuts must be made, training should not be sacrificed (Heller, 2003). One of the ways in which it training can be made more affordable is through state grants. Such grants are available to businesses from any type of industry and can greatly reduce the expense related to it training (Heller, 2003). For instance in New York a state grant can cover an estimated 50% of it training. Although this particular…