We can’t survive without technology. Are we too dependent on it? When the computer network is down in our office, it’s a pretty wasted day because we are paperless. Yet, you won’t find many modern organizations that can operate when their technology malfunctions.
This week we will focus on technology relevancy as part of the three practical applications (i.e. value modeling, technology relevancy, and human factor buy-in) in socio-technical systems.
Organizations must understand that technology needs to be relevant as it relates to benefiting the whole socio-technical system. Technology relates to the combination of skills and equipment that managers use in the design, production, and distribution of goods and services.
Gareth Jones and Jennifer George, authors of Contemporary Management, argue the significance of technology forces on organizations: “Technological forces can have profound implications for managers and organizations. Technological change can make established products obsolete….” The graveyard of many businesses is littered with numerous failed opportunities of senior executives to understand market shifts and technology opportunities.
As an engineer myself, we are taught to use theory in order to build, design, and operate technical systems, whether mechanical, digital, or otherwise. Sometimes this creates a technical superiority over the other components of this socio-technical system.
Organizations should obtain input from employees to ensure that the organization has not only the best technology for its operations but the right technology. This sharing of information can only come with mutual trust of leaders and followers. Gary Yukl, author of Leadership in Organizations, notes, “Empowerment is more feasible when there is a high level of mutual trust…Leaders can affect the psychological employment of followers in many ways, and participative leadership and delegation are only two of the relevant behaviors .”
There have been numerous cases where organizations have purchased new technology to solve a problem or to become more efficient when a simple conversation with impacted employees would have produced better results at a lower cost. Therefore, organizations should invest their time in identifying the relevant technologies for their socio-technical system in a participatory manner.
Discuss the concept of technology relevancy for today’s organizations.
© 2013 by Daryl D. Green
Leadership in Organizations by Gary Yukl