“Reduce in the total number of employees, reengineering of business processes, …may result in flatter organizational hierarchies.” (Turban, Mclean and Wetherbe, Chapter 16, Table 16.1 & 16.2) It is predicted that computer intelligence and automation will be capable of replacing almost all labors of the human body within the next fifty years. (totes.com August 28th, 2004) Technology reduces jobs and save cost for the organizations.
Headlines such as “SONY to cut 20,000 jobs to reduce costs” (ComputerWeekly.com August 29th, 2004), “HSBC cuts 3,500 management jobs to reduce costs” (ce.cn August 29th, 2004), and “Telstra Puts Profits before Jobs” (Meryment & Heywood, August 29th, 2004) can be read on the newspapers and magazines all the time. As a result, information technology and system indirectly creates frenzy. Individuals at workplace might be unmotivated because the great potential to lose their jobs.
In old days, when NTT DoCoMo has a new promotion to its customers, it normally hires a crew of staff into its call center unit, and informs customers through phone calls or mails. In this day and age, different approach is taken. NTT DoCoMo as a leading telecommunication company may just inquire its computer technicians to employ the use of SMS service through mobile to automatically send the promotion information to all its customers. The organization may then save time, cost, and labour in this particular case.
Turban, Mclean and Wetherbe noted four major possible impacts of individuals at work. They are the job dissatisfaction, dehumanization and psychological impacts, information anxiety, and impacts on health and safety. (Turban, Mclean and Wetherbe, August 27 2004) It is proposed that the implementations of IT might result job dissatisfaction because jobs may become more routine and dissatisfying.
This might lead to the second impact, dehumanization and psychological impacts. For instance, during the working hours, many employees face the computer screens all the time. Psychologically, they might feel a loss of identity because of the heavily computerization. In the health perspective, computer vision syndrome might occur “when the viewing requirements of the task being performed exceed the visual capabilities of the person performing the task” (Quible 2001)
Nowadays, corporations have computer software to monitor e-mails, phone conversations, and web-surfing of their employees. Among other things, video surveillance, GPS tracking of company cars, and even the use of infrared badges to determine employee location are methods that have come into play in the workplace. (AMA.com) In psychological aspect, the increasingly intrusive hiring practices to continuous information gathering may also increase the level of uncomfortable feelings or insecurity of individuals at workplace. Or worse to worse, the security guard who has access to the computer spying software program in NTT DoCoMo is currently suffering from severe depression. Due to the permission to spy all employees of the company, he or she now has a easier channel to create harms to others.
According to Turban, Mclean and Wetherbe’s theory, both good and bad social implications of IT has shown its impacts on society. Key areas such as opportunities for people with disabilities, quality of life improvements, improvements in health care and crime fighting and so on will be discussed in further details underneath. The integration of artificial intelligence technologies, such as voice-operate keyboard creates new employment opportunities for people with disabilities. (Turban, Mclean and Wetherbe, Chapter 16) They are now able to work from home for NTT DoCoMo.
With i-mode service NTT DoCoMo has provided to its subscriber, “cellular phone users get easy access to more than 82,000 Internet sites, as well as specialized services such as e-mail, online shopping and banking, ticket reservations, and restaurant advice.” (NTT DoCoMo, 28th August 2004) It improves the quality of life with a reasonable price offer.
The external environment of business consists of many factors that might generate pressures on organizations. Turban, Mclean and Wetherbe in their book Information Technology for Management focuses on three business pressures -market pressures, technology pressures and societal pressures. (Turban, Mclean and Wetherbe, 2004 Chapter 1)
By the facilitation of advanced telecommunication networks especially by the Internet, the globalization has become a phenomenon everywhere in business practice. Global competition, changing workforce, powerful consumers are the pressures organizations must face if they seriously consider the expansion of their industrial market. To stand on NTT DoCoMo’s position, “Japan’s cellular phone market has grown faster than any other market of its kind in the world.
By July 2004, Japan had 83 million subscribers – more than half its entire population” with NTT DoCoMo. (NTT DoCoMo, August 28th 2004). This figure does not guarantee the current subscribers will stay forever with NTT DoCoMo. Possible global competition rival such as AT&T might recognize the great potential on Japan’s cellular market one day. Moreover, consumers nowadays are more knowledgeable about the availability and quality of products and services. On the Web, people can easily compare prices and services between different service providers.