Understanding the Implementation of Office Technology
Tora K. Bikson
The Rand Corporation
What leads to the successful introduction of new office technology in an organization? This question was addressed in a survey of 55 work groups using advanced office technology in 26 organizations. Success includes the extent to which the technology is used, the users' satisfaction with it and with the jobs they perform using it, and improvements in organizational performance. Features of the organization itself, features of the technology, and the process by which the technology is introduced into the organization all play a role. For example, work groups in which computerized jobs retain variety, in which workers have exclusive use of a workstation, have electronic mail, and functional software, and in which the implementation used a balanced social and technical approach and encouraged worker participation in the introduction process all had more successful implementations. The chapter concludes with observations about areas where technology, implementation process, and research all need improvement.
The 1980s have witnessed the widespread introduction of computer-based tools into white-collar work, and the forecast is that this rain of new technologies will continue for the remainder of the century. For this reason, we undertook a field research project aimed at exploring how computerized procedures are incorporated in information intensive environments. The study was supported by the National Science Foundation (see Bikson, Gutek, & Mankin, 1985) as part of its general interest in technology transfer--how are innovations successfully transferred from contexts of development to contexts of application?