Thursday, October 4, 2012

How Technology Has Affected Ethics, Diversity, and Organizational Structures in Business

Technology, specifically the Internet, has become a fixture in the workplace, shifting the methods by which businesses are managed.  In the article How Technology Has Affected Businesses, Leigh Goessl discusses the alterations that have occurred in business, due the integration of technology in everyday business practice.  Goessl specifically focuses on the problems concerning the areas of diversity, ethics, and the structures of organization, which she believes have been particularly affected by the integration of technology into business.  

            Goessl explains that due to the fact that technology allows us to communicate globally, people must learn to tolerate and accept different cultures and normalcies.  This forces individuals to accustom themselves to global diversity, regardless of where they live.  Organizational structures, additionally, allow businesses the opportunity to find previously unattainable territories.  Goessl mentions the evolution of organizational structures, or information systems, in business allow small businesses to compete with bigger business, expanding local markets in the process. 

            The article effectively explicates the complications surrounding diversity and organizational structures, however, I believe Goessl fails to elaborate on the ethical dilemmas that have arisen due to the aforementioned integration of technology in the workplace. Goessl solely mentions the troubles of file deletion, difficulties in maintaining confidentiality and identity theft, however, according to Goessl, “as more and more technology is assimilated into workplaces, new ethical challenges have emerged that both employers and employees must face.”  The three dilemmas Goessl mentions are not sufficient enough to justify her notion that “new ethical challenges have emerged.”  More ethical dilemmas have surfaced due to technology and should be brought light.

            The primary dilemma that Goessl fails to elaborate to her audience of is the fact that due to technology individuals are more likely to perform acts they could not commit in person and are less accountable for the unethical actions they commit.  For instance, in the past bullies were associated with big, strong people harassing smaller individuals.  In today’s day in age, with technology, anyone can now harass another over the Internet, causing irreparable harm to others, merely because they do not have to face the person they’re bullying.  Furthermore, with technology several important documents and statistics can be easily altered or skewed for own personal gain.  A myriad of unethical events and actions can occur with the click of a button with technology, it is up to businesses to acknowledge these difficulties and prioritize the practice of ethical conduct.

Goessl concludes her article by stating, “businesses must learn to adapt and embrace…changes in order to grow and maintain success.”  This is an incredibly accurate statement that should be realized by every business.  The effects of diversity, organizational structures, and ethical conduct due to technology are abundant and must become a focus by all businesses.  Technology may provide us with many positives; however, the obstacles that come with its integration into business may one day ruin the business community as a whole, unless changes occur quickly.      


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  2. Technology is constantly changing and growing. The computing term of Moors Law proves this to be true. Moors Law originated in 1970, states that the processor speeds, or overall processing power for computers will double every two years. Therefore new ways to be more efficient and prosperous through technology are constantly changing from year to year. This can cause difficulties for a company when trying to figure out the best possible technology to invest in and to increase productivity for the company. For example, if I am a car sales person and I invest in computer software that quickly researches the exact model and style of costumer’s desire to help boost sales, while the following year a new software is made to not only research the whole style and make of the car but by a click of a button the car will be delivered in 3 days. How does a company manage the expenses of new advancing technology? Companies have to find ways to be creative and adapt to these technological advances in order to realize any type of gain in the future. What can’t be overlooked when budgeting for new technology is the people and process piece of the equation? Just focusing on hardware and software is not enough.

    In Rey’s article he touches on the importance of a company acknowledging the effects of diversity, organizational structures, and ethical conduct due to technology. The statement Goessl makes “businesses must learn to adapt and embrace…changes in order to grow and maintain success” touches on the importance for a company to be flexible and adaptive towards change. Without the ability to adapt a company is left in the dark and lacks a competitive advantage in comparison to the other technological savvy companies. For example, people are more willing to go to the gas station that collects cash and credit rather than to a cash only oil company because more and more people carry less cash. Even though the company may have a higher credit and technology expense by allowing credit cards they will be increasing sales revenue in the long run. Social and cultural behaviors cannot be overlooked.

    As technology advances continue to flourish, challenges will continue to evolve as well. While businesses are integrating technology into everyday business practices, they have to realize there is more to the puzzle than just adding the latest hardware and software. People and process issues must also be addressed and incorporated into the project plan when implementing new technology. Problems concerning areas of diversity, ethics, and the structures of organization must be addressed. Rey touches on these three concerning areas and I agree that it is something businesses have to be conscious of when integrating technology. For example if a company is using information systems to expand through outsourcing, they have to be conscious of the countries’ cultures and normalcies. Those companies who take the people part of the equation as serious as picking the latest and greatest equipment will emerge the big winners. If new technology is integrated effectively meaning hardware, software, people, and processes only then will businesses be able to realize significant gains from their technology roadmap.

    There are certainly a lot of positives about technology advances such as the internet enabling us to expand our global reach, but as pointed out well by Rey and Goessel we cannot afford to overlook the people part of the equation.