New Ways of Workplace Development and Innovation by Using Work Technology
This work in writing proposes a research study on technology in terms of its impact on workplace development and workplace innovation.
The work of Meckl (2008) states that innovation system theory "indicates a transition from individual study to systematic research. The innovation system theory combines the dynamic and complexity of innovation. According to this theory, technological innovation interacts with institutional innovation, and the key factors in this system include knowledge, learning, and ability." (p.134) Meckl (2008) states that the entrepreneur is "a core factor in a firm's technological innovation and competitiveness; it is a necessity in technological innovation." Additionally reported in the work of Meckl is that in practice "not only a firm is embedded in the social structure as an organization, but also the entrepreneurs' innovation activities are socially embedded." (Meckl, 2008)
According to Meckl (2008) the technological innovation system in a firm "is considered as a special network structure…which consists of certain nodes. These nodes mainly include social actors that have a close relation with a firm's activities, such as suppliers, dealers, competitors, cooperators, potential rivals, consumers, government, communities, universities, research institutions, and so forth." Flowing between these nodes are "factors like innovation, information, knowledge, learning opportunities, social norms, trust and reputation." (Meckl, 2008) These factors are reported to interact "with the technological innovation activities in both market structure and social structure and eventually lead to the birth of technological innovation." (Meckl, 2008)
It is reported in the work of Benko and Weisberg (2007) that Sun Microsystems' core business is "creating innovative technologies to accelerate workplace innovations and productivity. Sun has made innovation a priority within its own $13 billion global organization." (Benko and Weisberg, 2007) The example provided is one stated to be a recent "collaboration of real estate, information technology, and human resource organizations. These units of the Silicon Valley-based company built an infrastructure to support employee telecommuting, 'hoteling' in temporary offices at Sun properties and virtual teaming. Talent management goals were embedded in the project's business objectives." (Benko and Weisberg, 2007)
Included in the business objectives was the reduction of operating costs, leveraging the network to the greatest extent possible, finding talent nationally and internationally, entering emerging markets as well as engagement more extensively with global customers, and making sure of business continuity when the unexpected happened. (Benko and Weisberg, 2007, paraphrased) It is reported that in 2006
"more than 50% of Sun's thirty-four thousand employees were active participants in this program, known as Open Work. The participant employees worked in Sun's offices part time and others were designated for home based assignment and did not work in the offices of Sun at all. The company saved in excess of $387 million in five years between 2001 and 2006. Employees were able to make more creative choices about where to work and when to work resulting in Sun receiving the Alliance for Work-Life progress award in 2006. Sun's Open Work program has been recognized for its contributions to the environment in the form of Sun being committed to eco-responsibility which assist in the reduction of carbon emissions from employees by taking them off the road." (Benko and Weisberg, 2007)
Technology has greatly enabled the employees of Sun and in addition technology is stated to be also "instigating a profound change on how employees are measured" and stated is that 'Face Time…is no longer a criterion in employee performance -- it's measured by the output or the value that is being contributed." (Benko and Weisberg, 2007)
The work of Igbaria and Tan (1998) states that technology and innovation "change the ways we work and finally reshape entire societies. Our own evolution and the evolution of our tools is an interactive process." (Igbaria and Tan, 1998) It is reported that Michael Schrage stated, "humankind is really coevolving with its artifacts genes that can't cope with that new reality will not survive into future millennia." (Igbaria and Tan, 1998)
Igbaria and Tan state that invention and technological innovation "have been key sources of human progress political progress as well as economic progress. The power of information technology is shaping new communities on an international and even global basis; communities open to a wide variety of uses and interpretations." (1998) It is not asked if but instead it is asked how technology will serve to bring about changes in organizations and in nations throughout the world. (paraphrased) Stated as the most intriguing challenge at the present time is the "way in which individual information users interacting with the new technology can also take part in shaping the changes to come." (Igbaria and Tan, 1998) Virtual employment or employment from one's home is serving to bring about a change in the working environment and even the city environment. It is stated that due to virtual employment there is a "large background for the new ways of planning life that Nordic cities must face, ways of encouraging natural growth, ways of encouraging neighborhoods rather than suburbs." (Igbaria and Tan, 1998) It is not the bigness but rather the smallness that makes Nordic cities "so livable." (Igbaria and Tan, 1998) Therefore, it can be understood that the workplace of today is not necessarily the traditional work site or even work hours as the dimension of virtual employment has first been emergent and presently experiencing rapid growth worldwide.
Statement of Problem
Technological innovation in a firm is required in today's business environment however, it is reported to be little understood exactly how technological innovation arises and how the firm can best motivate the growth of technology focused on innovation and workplace development.
The relationship between IT and open innovation models is stated in the work of Nambisan (2009) to be "complex and circular in nature." It is stated to make it possible to "structure, facilitate and manage open innovation, the continued demand for alternative and more adaptive innovation models has spurred an increased demand for new forms of technology that can make it possible. As new firms continue to open their boundaries they will increasingly adopt IT to enable this way of organizing." (Nambisan, 2009)
Firms will not only adopt new technologies "but they will also demand new technological advances to create efficiencies in a world where boundaries are erasing and competitors are becoming co-operators." (Nambisan, 2009) Nambisan states that in closed innovation models IT is used mainly for automating operations that already exist and in the increase of communication speed. However, the open innovation model is inclusive of "new forms of teams" and the adoption of new technologies for the purpose of realization of competitive advantage for the organization through." (Nambisan, 2009) The offerings of new types of IT includes that of various opportunities which is stated to include "the ability to visualize the entire work process, create product sin a flexible and real-time environment, collaborate virtually and conduct what-if scenarios." (Nambisan, 2009)
It is reported that such advances in networking and communication technologies "make information more widely and readily available, reduce the use of a hierarchy to manage information flows, and coordinate activities more easily and swiftly." (Nambisan, 2009) The result is that "newer technologies decrease the need to move information through a hierarchical process and instead allow collaborators to organize work and determine what can e done with the information obtained." (Nambisan, 2009)
Research questions in the proposed study will include the following:
(1) What technologies are presently being used in the organization?
(2) What are the costs and benefits of these technologies?
(3) What are the strengths and weaknesses of the technologies?
(4) How can the competitive position of the organization by maximizing the use of existing technologies?
(5) How are competitors using technology?
(6) What technical, marketing, and management strategies do competitors get most from technology?
(7) What lessons can be learned from the success of competitors' success or failure with these technologies?
(8) What can your organization learn from your own experiences with new technologies?
(9) What standards of success should each adopted technology be subjected to?
The study proposed in this work in writing is one of a qualitative nature that will involve observation of the use of new technology by employees and to be accompanied by interview data to include interview data gained from managers, supervisors, and employees using the new technology. Holman states that the study of the effects of new technologies and methods of working makes the requirement of the selection of a study group that is adequate. The method suggested by Holman involves the examination of a group of employees in terms of their work characteristics, work behavior, and attitudes through comparison with a control group and through including pre-intervention measures." (2003)
Sample size is also stated to be an issue and it is stated that the planned sample size is "a function of the expected effect size, statistical power of the test, and level of significance used in significance testing. It is stated that previous…
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