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Essays on impact of information technology

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Author:
Bhansali, Sumit Milap
Citable URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/40861
Other Contributors:
Sloan School of Management.
Advisor:
Erik Brynjolfsson.
Department:
Sloan School of Management.
Publisher:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Date Issued:
2007
Abstract:

The five essays in this dissertation look at how specific information technologies (such as Electronic Document Management (EDM), Semantic Web and RuleML) and IT in general can be used to automate and standardize data and processes, enable faster and more accurate information flow, and improve individual as well as firm performance. The first essay is an analytical review-type study in which we provide a comprehensive survey of research literature about different complementary organizational assets that when coupled with IT can lead to higher firm performance. In the second essay, we study the causal effects of digitizing work on information workers’ time- use and performance at a large insurance firm. We make causal inferences and obtain unbiased estimates by exploiting a quasi-experiment: the phased introduction of Electronic Document Management (EDM) across multiple offices at different dates. In addition to large changes in time-use and performance, we find that digitization leads to a decline in the substitutable routine labor input and an increase in complementary non-routine cognitive labor input at the information worker level. We also uncover a new micro-level mechanism, “IT-enabled slack”, that explains how exactly IT can lead to payoff in terms of information worker productivity. In the third essay, we examine the IT productivity relationship using a large primary source firm-level dataset about IT investments that spans the 2003-2005 period. Given results from previous studies, we present evidence of an inverted U-shaped returns curve, with returns now close to what they were in pre-Internet era. The fourth essay explores what high-performing firms specifically do to gain the greatest benefits from their IT investments.(cont.) Through a set of matched interviews with multiple respondents at 138 firms, we find that data/process standardization and systems integration, level of application integration and several IT-specific cultural elements are positively correlated with IT impact on customer satisfaction. The fifth essay shows the first detailed realistic e-business application scenario that exploits capabilities of the SweetRules V2.1 toolset for e-contracting using the SweetDeal approach. SweetRules is a powerful integrated set of tools for semantic web rules and ontologies. SweetDeal is a rule-based approach to representation of business contracts.
Description:

Thesis (Ph. D.)–Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management, 2007.; This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.; Includes bibliographical references.
URI:

http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/40861
Keywords:
Sloan School of Management.

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  Home » Subject » Essay » Effects of Technology

Effects of Technology

“TECHNOLOGY” – this word is derived from Greek word “technology”,–techno–> an art,skill or craft and –loggia–>the study of something or branch of knowledge of a discipline.

Famous Poet Thoreau once said ‘improved means to an unimproved end’.

There is no escape from technology.In most cases this is not a problem though.

Many people respect and admire technology because it is there to benefit them.Without the technological advances we have had over the years, the world would not be what it is today.

With the advancement in technology,human life is more comfortable like never before.There is almost no place that you can go where technology hasn’t been used.Technology affects our daily lives in everything that we do; it saves time(time is money-more so these days),creates a world of endless learning and makes travelling to halfway around the world effortless.

Technology has effected in almost every single respect one can think of, be it communication,entertainment,studies,industrialisation,food industry,social efforts,business,education,comfort,luxury,efficiency etc. are to name a few in good ways one thinks.

What people don’t understand is that technology can actually be a bad thing.

Technology has helped increase the speed of communication and decrease its cost.However,at the same time it has caused people to become more impersonal with each other.In earlier times the major form of communication was for people to visit each other and go to public meeting places.One of the next major advances was the telephone.Due to the telephone people no longer went to the public meeting places as often as they used to.As time goes on,new advances still allow people to contact and communicate with each other more easily.These advances such as facsimile,beepers and email,although seemingly making life easier,each help to decrease the earlier forms of communication.In some businesses email is the main way of communication because its quick,they have record of the conversation.

Technology is building bridges between people on opposite sides of the globe, but it is also building ever stronger walls between neighbours.

Some people are surrounding themselves with modern technology while paying little attention to the needs of others. Others use technology to better understand their fellow man to overcome physical distance,establishing relationships of solidarity and sympathy around the globe.

We could discover the effect of technology to our daily food.Fast food for instance,food can be known as the best companion for those students or working adult who are fighting for time.But the food which is processed through machines will bring a negative effect to our daily life.For example, obesity which causes mainly from the fast food or high calories consumptions in those processes food.

Whether driving a car, planting a bomb, sending a spam E-mail or signing a contract, technology extends our realm of influence. An unfortunate dynamic of modern technology is that it often works through competition;many technologies benefit early adopters at the expense of non-adopters.Ancient man must have been satisfied when he learnt how to kill mammoths by driving them over precipices.This seemed to offer great benefits – until everyone else adopted the technology, driving the mammoths to extinction.

In society today, people are looking for more and more ways to be entertained, and all it is doing is causing problems.People are doing less and less thinking and more and more watching, listening, and playing, all because of technology.

Forms of entertainment like the Internet, television and even video games seem harmless to people, but they are really not.When the Internet was first introduced, people never thought it would be as big as it is today.The Internet is an easy to use technology that can do just about anything.But what people don’t understand is that the Internet is not all good.Much of the information posted on sites on the Internet is merely opinions,not factual information.When people look at this information, it looks and seems like trustful information, but most of the time, it is not.

Although the Internet is a relatively new technology,television has been around for about fifty years.There are many problems with television though, mainly with the content of the shows. Many of the shows on television portray violence, drugs, sexual activity, and profanity. People who watch these shows see what the actors and actresses are doing and then feel it is all right for them to do the same things.

Instead of “Ready, Aim, Fire,” people tend to, “Fire, Aim, Ready.” In other words, people tend to implement the latest technology before they understand precisely what it is or what business need it serves.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the 20Th century and the 21st is how technology has changed the pace of our lives.We now expect to communicate with anyone on the planet in seconds,not days.We expect information at our fingertips; to be up and walking shortly after a surgery or an operation.Basically,we take a lot for granted.But this freaky pace has also altered how we conduct business and live our lives.To illustrate,we want to solve problems immediately and have no patience for long term solutions.Consequently,we tend to attack symptoms as opposed to addressing true problems and apply Band-Aids to pacify the moment as opposed to tourniquets which are actually needed.We are easily satisfied with solving small problems as opposed to conquering major challenges.We tend to live for today, as opposed to planning for tomorrow. This mindset is not what it should be.

What if someone pulled the plug on our technology?Would engineers still know how to draft products?Would we still know how to ship a product or process an order?Would our financial transactions come to a halt?Would business come to a standstill?

The answer, unfortunately, is Yes.This highlights the over dependency we have developed on our technology and is cause for alarm.We are being driven by technology as opposed to the other way around.By unplugging our technology, we are unplugging the human-being.

Because of the domination of technology, people have allowed their socialisation skills to slip. Small things, such as common courtesy, appearance, and our ability to network with others, have all deteriorated in the workplace. We may be effective in communicating electronically, but we are becoming complete failures in communicating socially.If we cannot communicate effectively in this capacity,no amount of technology will be able to alter the perceptions of our co-workers, our managers, our customers, our vendors, or our friends and family.

As the use of technology increases, social skills decreases.

Life has great effect of technology.There is not any specific effect on life,it depends on how the technology is being used.If we use the technology in destructive way then it is the most harmful way for human life.And if we use for welfare of people then it can prove as boon to man kind.According to me technology is endless field of creations and inventions.

Virinder Gupta

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