Scholars Say Unquestioning Reliance On Technology Equals Poor Management Technique

Compiled By Jill Jusko Two Purdue University professors say organizations' unquestioning reliance on technology potentially leads to managerial miscues and distorted worker-productivity statistics. Management should subject computers, cell phones, pagers and other electronic devices, and Web use to a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether the technology actually contributes to a company's bottom line, says Alexander W. Crispo, associate professor or organizational leadership and supervision at the university's technology school. "Good management thinking uses technology as a tool. Technology should not be viewed as the means to all ends," Crispo says. "Technoism" is the term Crispo and Beverly J. Davis, assistant professor of organizational leadership and supervision, have coined to describe "the unquestioned reliance on technology in businesses and organizations," according to Davis. "It's not technophobia, or fear of technology. The concept of technoism includes people being afraid to challenge technology for technology's sake for fear of being labeled old-fashioned or a Luddite." Davis and Crispo question whether technology fully deserves the credit for productivity increases ascribed to it. Says Crispo, "You might become more productive with new technology, but you may actually be getting the wrong things done faster." Responding to e-mails that formerly would never have reached your desktop is one example they cite. Davis also says that electronic connections may seemingly promote increased productivity when in fact they may instead promote increased working hours. More assessment is needed in this area, they say. "No matter how far advanced technologically we become, the people side of management is still more important," Crispo says. Purdue University is located in West Lafayette, Ind.

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