IT and jobs
| • IT and the quality of jobs|
| • The design of jobs with IT|
| • Industrial relations and IT|
| • Management skills and IT|
We saw in Chapter 2 that it is too easily assumed that the adoption of IT must lead to job losses - the reality is shown to be much more complex. In this chapter we focus upon how the quality rather than the quantity of jobs is affected by IT. The nature of jobs with an IT content is shown to depend as much upon management attitudes to technology and human relations as upon any inherent tendency to ‘deskilling’ or ‘empowerment’.
Some specific human relation issues illustrate the scope for managerial choice in managing IT, including the implementation of teleworking within organizations, relations with the workforce, issues relating to gender and race. Finally we consider in more detail the impact which IT has on the jobs of managers themselves.
IT and the quality of jobs
In addition to the question of whether IT is removing jobs, we also have to consider what kind of jobs will be created or transformed by this new technology. (For a good summary see Burgess, 1986, 1-20.)
Pessimists may suggest that IT is like previous mass production technology in deskilling the average worker. Jobs are analysed into a series of algorithms by relatively skilled systems analysts. The role of programmers may be seen as likely to be rendered redundant by CASE tools (computer-aided software engineering), plus code generators and by fourth-generation languages (let alone fifth-generation computing). After which