Role of Information Technology in
Managing Organizational Change and Organizational Interdependence

Summary

Ramstrom (1974) notes that the future organizations would be facing a shortage and a redundancy of information. To solve the problems of "information-glut" arising from the evermore affordable information and communication technologies that provide for evermore high-capacity, fast, long-distance transmission, organizations would need to introduce methods for "selective dispersion of information" to their various parts. Work tasks would be grouped in organizational units created around a common program for information processing. Improvements in telecommunications will make it easier to control [which will be primarily a matter of information exchange] organizational units dispersed over different parts of the world. Advances in telecommunications [such as videophone], coupled with diminishing costs, would result in increased distance-communication. Indirect communication would be preferred for well-structured information for routinized, "preprogrammed" decision processes.

The design of the organizational structure should take into account and take advantage of the information and information- processing supports which could be designed, and in the not- distant future will be inexpensive. The technology itself is neutral, but it can greatly increase humanity's woe or welfare, depending on how well it is used. What is missing is the full recognition of the strong interactions between this technology and organization design, and the consequent need to take a systems approach to the joint design of organizations and their information support systems (Holt, 1992).

Unlike the systems theory view of organizational constructs, the most common approach taken by empirical researchers has been in terms of goal achievement or the degree to which an organization attains its goals. This poses a problem of identifying or postulating the goals, manifest and latent, of an organization. Some researchers seek to avoid the goal approach and argue in favor of the "resource" approach. While there is much merit in emphasizing the crucial importance of resources - or in ,systemic terms, of input processes and input goals - it ignores the other three systemic processes. On the other hand, the economist's bias of measuring outputs in relation to inputs overlooks the other systemic processes that eventually effect the organization's overall survival or growth. Clearly, the systems approach has its advantages. Moreover, the problems encountered in defining an organization's goals can be avoided by indirectly deriving the goals - by positing the three generic goals of input, transformation, and output (Evan, 1993).

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