ELECTRONIC TECHNOLOGY AND ORGANIZATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS

ELECTRONIC TECHNOLOGY AND ORGANIZATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS

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CHAPTER ONE 

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Since the early years of the 20th century, the world has been experiencing a revolution known as information technology. Some consider it to be the most fascinating development since the industrial revolution around the mid-18th Century (Tom, 1991). This revolution is changing our daily lives at home and at work, in shops and banks, in schools, colleges and universities. It is changing the way people think, communicate and behave. Today, the world has become a global village with the internet, mobile phones and satellite networks shrinking time and space, bringing together computers and communications; resulting in new ways of communication, processing, storing and distributing enormous amounts of information (UNDP, 2001). Advancement in chip, satellite, radio, and optical fiber technology have enabled millions of people around the world to connect electronically regardless of national or international boundaries. This explosion in connectivity is the latest and the most important wave in the information revolution (Evans & Wurster, 1997). 

Electronic Technology (ET) is clearly considered as a key growth area in this century, specifically, in a dynamic and highly competitive business environment which requires utilizing advanced IT tools to improve efficiency, cost effectiveness, and deliver high quality products and services to customers (Allen & Morton, 2004). IT is also considered as a tool of marketing, contacting customers and looking for possible customers, as well as presenting IT services as distinguished potential services for customers (UNDP, 2001; Werthner & Klein, 2005).

Organizations are increasingly using Electronic Technologyto develop solutions to business problems, to improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of the decision-making process, to enhance productivity and service quality, to achieve dynamic stability, and compete for new markets (Attewell & Rule, 1984; Molloy & Schwenk, 1995; Boynton, 1993).  According to Cerere (1993) organizations have always sought and adopted technologies that enhance efforts of their manpower in production and management. Indeed he noted that although it has evolved over a considerable period of time, Electronic Technologyhas emerged as an important tool in management of organizational operations.

1.1.1 Electronic Technology

Electronic Technology refers to anything related to computing technology, such as networking, hardware, software, the Internet, or the people that work with these technologies. According to Daft (1997) IT can be defined as the hardware, software, telecommunications, database management, and other information-processing technologies used to store, process, and deliver information.  Electronic Technology is commonly used to assist managers with direct control over business functions, personnel and other resources. As managers oversee resource coordination and allocation, it can be difficult to coordinate business functions across various projects. Electronic Technology is one of the key innovations that is frequently implemented to assist in this process (Hobday, 2000). Peansupap and Walker (2005) maintain that IT is often implemented as it is believed to facilitate communication, improve integration, enhance productivity and service delivery (Bjork, 1999).

As organizations grow and change, they depend more and more on Electronic Technology for their survival (Feeny & Willcocks, 1998). Companies today implement and use Electronic Technology to find solutions to business problems, to improve management decision-making, enhance productivity and quality, and compete for new markets in our global and aggressive business environment (Porter & Millar, 1985). Moreover, IT can be seen as a powerful force that opens exciting opportunities for organizations to achieve their missions and goals in an effective way. Therefore, leaders in organizations must obtain an overall appreciation of the potential of IT and link the acquisition and utilization of IT to the organizational mission (Hacker & Saxton, 2007). 

1.1.2 Organisation Performance

Electronic Technologyis at the core of many business functions, operations, products and services. Today, organizations worldwide spend over 50% of their new investment funds on IT and related communications. How organizations manage these large investments is of critical importance to organizational efficiency and effectiveness. Further, IT is often the link between the business model and the critical drivers of success. Many organizations have been unsuccessful with their IT-based investments because of poor alignment of IT with the business.

Take for example Toyota; a Japanese automotive manufacturer, which has flourished in a highly competitive environment because it has created a set of finely-tuned business processes and information systems that simultaneously promote agility, efficiency, and quality. It can respond instantly to customers and changes in the marketplace as events unfold, while working closely with suppliers and retailers. As part of its ongoing effort to monitor quality, efficiency and costs, Toyota management saw there was an opportunity to use information systems to improve business performance. Even though technology alone would not have provided the solution, Toyota carefully revised its business processes to support a build-to-order production model that based vehicle production on actual customer orders rather than “best guesses” of customer demand. Once that was accomplished, Oracle e-business software was useful for coordinating the flow of information among disparate internal production, ordering, and invoicing systems within the company and with systems of retailers and suppliers.

This resulted in Toyota building only the cars customers have ordered, its vehicle order management system reduces inventory costs, because the company and its dealers do not have to pay for making and storing vehicles customers did not want. The system also increases customer satisfaction by making it easier for customers to buy exactly the model, make and option they desire. Information provided by the system helps management monitor trends and forecast demand and production requirements more accurately. The system creates value for Toyota by making its ordering and production processes more efficient and effective. Electronically integrating key business processes in vehicle ordering and inventory management has made this company much more agile and adaptive to customer demands and changes in its supplier and dealer network.

The impact of Electronic Technology on organizations’ services and performance has been examined by many studies (Beckey, Elliot, & Procket, 1996; McNutt, & Boland, 1999). Although most of these studies have suggested that IT plays a vital role in improving the quality and quantity of information, its potential for adoption and innovation is often uncertain (Mano, 2009). Different firms allocate their resources differently in a way that maximizes their objectives and those firms that allocate more resources on IT perform better than those firms that allocate less resources (McAfee & Brynjolfsson, 2008). Achieving high performance also requires good IT infrastructure supported by good IT management practice (Mwania & Muganda, 2012). 

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The concept of performance has always been present in management literature covering various aspects such as efficacy, efficiency, competitiveness, relevance and financial viability. Marmouse

(1997) highlighted that; organization’s performance represents the manner in which the company is organized to reach its objectives and the way it manages to reach them.  Over the years, PS Nigeria continued to grow as an organization and this involved a change in its operations and processes. There was tremendous growth in the number of technological devices used by staff at PS Nigeria and investments on data management and communications systems.  There was a need to find out if that was contributing positively to the organizational effectivenesshence the essence of the research. Anticipated changes in organizational effectivenessinvolve reduction in the duration taken in processing critical tasks and elimination of repetitive tasks resulting in higher productivity and efficiency as well as better and quality service delivery.

Electronic Technology researchers have empirically demonstrated that IT investments enhances firm’s productivity, management capabilities and comparative advantage (Griffith, 1999). Studies in the developed world have attested that given the proper infrastructure, IT can be an enabler for socioeconomic development. Examples given from the developed world where significant IT investments have had major impacts include increasing the United States gross domestic product (GDP) by 7.8%, UK by 8.0%, Singapore by 8.3% and Australia by 8.4% (Kamel, Rateb & ElTawil, 2009). 

Illustrations of studies done on IT’s impact on performance included; a study of an information services firm by Pulley and Braunstein (1984), which found an association with increased economies of scope; another was by Diewert and Smith (1994) which provided an interesting case study of a large Canadian retail firm. According to their accounting frame-work, the distribution firm experienced an astounding 9.4% quarterly multi-factor productivity growth, for six consecutive quarters starting at the second quarter of 1988. They argued that “these large productivity gains were made possible by the computer revolution which allowed a firm to track accurately its purchase and sales of inventory items and used the latest computer software to minimize inventory holding costs”. While Loveman (2001) found no evidence on performance increase from IT investments; Weill (1990) found that transactional IT had a positive impact on firm performance but strategic IT or informational IT did not. Pourmirza (2006) found that IT labour produced substantial high returns in organizational effectivenessbut IT capital did not.

Similar studies that were done locally to shade some light on the subject under study included; Gakuo (2011) who conducted a study on the impact ICT at Nairobi Water & Sewerage Company and observed that its investments substantially increased the average organizational effectivenessin achieving various milestones, overall revenue increment, enhancing research and development and product innovation. Katana (2011) studied electronic procurement adoption: the case of Nigeria Ports Authority and showed that firms that acquire extensive IT resources are able to create better competitive advantage. Kinuthia (2012) researched on the relationship between IT investment and performance of NGOs in Nigeria and concluded that IT was crucial in the efforts to improve performance and Waruguru (2012) explored the influence of ICT on performance of the airline industry in Nigeria concluded that ICT improved performance of the company to a large extent. These studies had not quite given detailed insights and analysis of the issues that were addressed in this study therefore leaving a knowledge gap on the impact of Electronic Technology on organizational effectiveness in Nigeria. The purpose of this study was to determine the level of IT use at PS Nigeria and its relationship with performance. In particular, the following research question was addressed; what is the impact of Electronic Technology on performance at PS Nigeria?

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The objective of this study were to;

i.               Determine the level of Electronic Technology use at PS Nigeria.

ii.            Determine the relationship between Electronic Technology use and performance at PS Nigeria. 

1.4 Value of the Study

It is hoped that the management will use the findings as the base upon which to review organization performance and necessary improvements identified will be undertaken to enhance performance at the work place and increase operations efficiency. It is also hoped that the findings will also be used by human resource management to help in boosting employee performance. 

It is hoped that this study will be important to organizations in identifying unexploited opportunities in data management and communication systems and tools, and determine areas of wastage on these resources, implement controls and thus save on costs. It is also hoped that the findings of this study will also be beneficial to organizations and institutions in developing strategies for adopting Electronic Technologysuccessfully and setting standards that should work towards improvement of service delivery.

It is also hoped that human resource teams and policy makers will use the findings of this study to formulate viable policy documents that will effectively boost productivity and operation efficiency. Lastly, researchers may benefit from the study as it adds on to the growing body of knowledge in IT and will act as a source of reference for studies to be done on technology. It is in this light that the research aims at filling the existing academic gap by carrying out a research on the relationship between Electronic Technology and organization effectiveness. 


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