Academic journal article Journal of Business Strategies

Impact of Internet Aided Self-Managed Teams on Quality of Work-Life and Performance

Academic journal article Journal of Business Strategies

Impact of Internet Aided Self-Managed Teams on Quality of Work-Life and Performance

Article excerpt

Abstract

The impact of participation in an Internet aided self-managed (IASM) teams program on employee quality of work life attitudes, and on performance was studied among employees in a manufacturing firm for a 36-month period. The attitudinal results indicate that IASM teams improved participants' quality of work life. The performance results document a positive and substantial impact on employee productivity, efficiency, quality, and overall performance. However, implementation of IASM teams is a complex task that requires time and commitment of resources to reap potential rewards. In addition, the research findings suggest that using this program gives employees the authority to act and make decisions on their own, making their jobs more demanding and challenging at the same time.

Introduction

The development of the Internet and the information technology industries has forever changed the way that companies do business and create value. In light of the recent growth in "electronic commerce" (i.e., Internet or Web-based systems and the information technology (IT) industries), many private forecasts made just a year ago have been revised upward. In early 1998, forecasters were suggesting that business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce might rise to $300 billion by 2002 (Holtz, 1996, Kezsbom, 2000). Most forecasters now consider that estimate to be too low. For example, Forrester Research (Forrester, 1998) estimates that business-to-business e-commerce will rise to $1.3 trillion by 2003. Cyber Dialogue (Thompson-Jones, 1999) estimates that the value of off-line orders influenced by the Internet was approximately $51 billion. There were estimated 400 million people worldwide using the Internet in 2001. Projections called for 600 to 700 million internet users globally by 2003 (Thompson and Strickland, 2003). In addition, many organizations are using self-managed terms programs in conjunction with the internet as a tool to communicate effectively and to improve performance (Kezsbom, 2000; Alwang, 1998; Mays, 1999). Almost ten years ago, the idea of a team working together from remote locations was nonexistent. Today, technology, globalization, and the need for fast responses to marketplace demands have dramatically changed the way business is conducted. Approximately 137 million workers worldwide will be involved in some form of remote electronic work by 2003 (Solomon, 2001).

In allowing employees to participate in problem-solving--giving them the authority to act and make decisions on their own--they develop a renewed interest in their organization's performance and therefore in improving their own performance. Management delegates authority to self-managing teams who execute the work faster and with fewer delays than were possible in the traditional organizational structure. Using the Internet as a tool to communicate effectively with each other and with teams in different locations (Kezsbom, 2000; Townsend, DeMarie and Hendrickson, 1996; Alexander, 2001), allows the decentralization of decision making and authority while simultaneously support centralized control (Harvey, 1999; Turban, Rainer and Porter, 2000). it is not an end in itself, but the means of achieving greater performance and improved employee quality of work life perceptions.

With the increasing us of IASM teams in work organizations and the convergence of many high-technology fields, broad longitudinal teams in work organization and the convergency of many high-technology fields, broad longitudinal investigation is needed to provide insights into the understanding of its impact on the business environment. Therefore, this article discusses a longitudinal and experimental field study that compares changes in perceptions of quality of work life and performance for participants in an Internet aided self-managed teams program.

Literature Review

Internet technology provides automation, allows business to be conducted in different locations provides flexibility in manufacturing, and permits quicker delivery to customers. …

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