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Another study found that there are many different strategies that are utilized when information technology is developed within the federal government and many of these tend to come not from the top managers but from the management instead (Gupta, Holladay, & Mahoney, 2000).
Much of this has to do with the fact that the top managers in the federal government are often political appointees and therefore know somewhat less about the inner workings of the organization when it comes to specific technological systems (Gupta, Holladay, & Mahoney, 2000). The middle managers are the ones who generally look for strategies to develop other types of information technology and are often comparable to the end users within other studies (Gupta, Holladay, & Mahoney, 2000). Unlike the managers who deal specifically with management information systems, or the other executive managers within the company, these middle managers actually understand many of the challenges and the problems that are being faced by the particular organization and this appears to be why they have so much interest in solving these types of issues (Gupta, Holladay, & Mahoney, 2000).
Much of this is also developed over many years of various interactions with other individuals both within the organization and on the outside of the organization that may help of understand not only that there is new technology available but that there is a real need for a problem that can easily be solved with it (Gupta, Holladay, & Mahoney, 2000). The various long-term relationships that many of these middle managers have developed with other individuals outside of the organization plays a strong role because these individuals are able to discuss with them to some extent the problems and challenges that they were facing and what type of new technology may have worked to correct the problem (Gupta, Holladay, & Mahoney, 2000).
The combination that these middle managers have of knowing about the needs of their particular organization and being able to talk with individuals outside the organization about the needs and problems they face and the technology that they utilized to solve them works to put these middle managers a very good position to be able to find the technology that is needed to work into the organization (Gupta, Holladay, & Mahoney, 2000). They have a very unique position in the organization and a very unique understanding of technology and what it can do (Gupta, Holladay, & Mahoney, 2000). This comes from both internal and external forces and because of this it works to show not only what the individuals in their particular organization need about how the problems that they have can be solved through the use of better management information systems and other technological means (Gupta, Holladay, & Mahoney, 2000).
The strong connection that middle managers have with other individuals outside the organization is very important because it shows a strong awareness of various different types of new technologies and helps to show how these middle managers might actually become aware not only of the technological advances that are discussed but also how well they have actually worked to solve problems or whether some other type of technological advance would be a better choice (Broadbent, Weill, & St. Clair, 1999). Another thing that this indicates, however, is that creating a supply of new technology and pushing it towards individuals in an effort to show them why they need it is somewhat inadequate to drive the diffusion of technology into many organizations (Broadbent, Weill, & St. Clair, 1999).
Many of the new technologies that are created and implemented today are often promoted by the suppliers and are only through channels that actually reach fellow technologists such as managers that specifically deal with management information systems (Broadbent, Weill, & St. Clair, 1999). These individuals learn about the new technology but quite often they do not know about the problems and challenges that are faced by middle management and other end users (Broadbent, Weill, & St. Clair, 1999). Not only are they not aware of the challenges and problems that are being faced and should be handled but they do not know how to present the various capabilities of these new technological products to the individuals that will be using them (Broadbent, Weill, & St. Clair, 1999).
They look instead at the technical features of the products and often describe them in technologically advanced terms or they talk about generic functions instead of specifics (Broadbent, Weill, & St. Clair, 1999). By doing this, they tend to confuse many of the individuals that they are seeking to help and therefore either the new technology does not get implemented correctly or does not get utilized because individuals are uncomfortable with it (Broadbent, Weill, & St. Clair, 1999). If an organization is fortunate enough to have a management information systems manager that actually understands the challenges and problems that many of the end users are facing then this manager should be able to translate the technicalities and generalities of the specific piece of new technology so that the end users can recognize how it will help them solve the problems that they have (Broadbent, Weill, & St. Clair, 1999).
When this is done the end users can work with the management information systems manager to indicate whether this technology is actually significant to them in whether it will do the job that it is designed to do for what they need (Broadbent, Weill, & St. Clair, 1999). Unfortunately, research findings strongly suggest that this type of management information systems manager is few and far between and therefore many organizations in the public sector do not get the technology that they need or are not aware of how to use it if they do receive it (Broadbent, Weill, & St. Clair, 1999).
Other studies tend to look at the diffusion of technology from a slightly different perspective and there are three different factors that most people commonly think of when discussing how computer use in organizations is affected (Broadbent, Weill, & St. Clair, 1999). These include the training that is provided, the user friendliness of the software, and the background that various users have with computers (Broadbent, Weill, & St. Clair, 1999). One study examined over 3000 public sector employees within 46 different cities in the United States and found that training, while a very important and significant asset, appears to be very underutilized (Broadbent, Weill, & St. Clair, 1999).
Sometimes software has various limitations and issues that make it somewhat difficult to use properly (Broadbent, Weill, & St. Clair, 1999). Good training will help the end user to overcome any of these problems because they will know how to work around them (Broadbent, Weill, & St. Clair, 1999). Training employees to use the technology properly also helps to overcome many other limited experiences and nervousness that a great deal of employees have when it comes to using computers (Broadbent, Weill, & St. Clair, 1999). The study found that someone looking at the computer literacy of many of these users and the training that they have received indicated that both of these issues are far more important than the length of time that a particular employee has been using computers (Broadbent, Weill, & St. Clair, 1999).
The training of computer users when new software is purchased and installed should be encouraged and emphasized and these various employees should be further encouraged to utilize the new software at every opportunity so that they become more comfortable with it (Broadbent, Weill, & St. Clair, 1999). This is especially true when the software is somewhat difficult to use at least in some aspects and therefore acts as a rather strong barrier to a complete adoption of a particular type of software for a specific task (Broadbent, Weill, & St. Clair, 1999).
When looking at this from a converse perspective, however, adding software that is extremely user-friendly can also help to compensate for any type of lack of experience or training that an individual might have when using computers (Broadbent, Weill, & St. Clair, 1999). It appears that the findings of various other studies indicate that there are both internal and external factors that affect the technology that is brought into organizations and how rapidly the diffusion of that technology takes place (Broadbent, Weill, & St. Clair, 1999).
However, that same study also agreed with other studies that had indicated that many internal factors played a very strong role in how information technology was received within state governments (Broadbent, Weill, & St. Clair, 1999). It also indicated that the application of this information technology within various organizations could be significantly shaped and adjusted by the initiatives that managers took to help those under their controlled to better understand the technology and feel more comfortable with it (Broadbent, Weill, & St. Clair, 1999). Another important…[continue]
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