Technology In Business Research Paper

Summary

The technological advances achieved in the past few decades have brought about a revolution in the business world, affecting nearly all aspects of working life. People can reach others throughout the world in a matter of seconds, with cost being increasingly irrelevant. Employees no longer need to be physically with their clients and co-workers; instead they can communicate effectively at home, at a distant office, across the world, and even in their car or on an airplane. With technology's penetration into every business function executives have seen first-hand how it gives them access to well-organized, quality information they can use to make better decisions, and how it fundamentally supports the day-to-day running of their business. Getting a manager to accept the new world of information technology is only part of the equation. The other part, getting employees to sign on to the new technology, requires patience and a deep understanding of human nature. Why? Because many people fear new technology. There's also a fear that new technology will either displace personnel into new and unfamiliar job functions or replace them altogether for the sake of cutting costs.

The advent of the Information Age has spawned new technologies capable of improving nearly every aspect of business. The invention of the telephone, fax machine, and more recent developments in wireless communications and video-conferencing have offered businesses more flexibility and efficiency, and those willing to embrace these new technologies found they were more likely to survive and prosper. The result is today's heavily technical workplace, where "proficiency with complex phone systems, fax machines, and often-networked computers are basic essentials." (Main) Today, business and management continue to be transformed by high technology. In order to keep pace with the increased speed and complexity of business, new means of calculating, sorting and processing information are being invented. This development in technology results in changes to lines of command and authority, and influences the need for reconstructing the organization and attention to job design. The result is a change in the traditional supervisory function and a demand for fewer supervisors. One person may be capable of carrying out a wider range of activities. Computer networks allow people to communicate quickly, share ideas, and transfer information without regard to physical locations.

The tasks that employees perform within an organization are being drastically affected by the increased mechanization and application of technology as a part of the production process. In many settings, tasks previously performed directly by human operators are being automated, changing the human's task to one of supervisory control. Now the expectations of an average employee in such an environment has to change, because they are no longer performing repetitive tasks, but rather must be able to recognize and react to problem situations. One futuristic idea whose time has come is the notion of the virtual workplace. This concept is based on the idea of employees being able to work independently as a result of having access to information. Where we work, when we work, and how we communicate are being revolutionized, as a "seamless web of electronic communications media--e-mail, voice mail, cellular telephones, laptops with modems, hand-held organizers, video conferencing, and interactive pagers"--makes teamwork and mobility a reality. (Panepinto) One article proposes "the virtual workplace provides access to information you need to do your job anytime, anyplace, anywhere . . . employees do not have to be tied to their offices to do their jobs."(Jenner) The idea of not even having a set office space certainly would be a change from the typical routine of showing up at the office from 9 to 5 and working at a desk. Such a plan would obviously be dependent on the job to be accomplished, but it is interesting to think of the supervisory implications. Such employees would have the ultimate amount of independence and would have to be managed accordingly. Tasks would have to be more objective or goal oriented and measures of job performance could no longer depend on face-to-face interaction, but rather would have to be tied strictly on the ability to complete assigned tasks.

Commercial use of the Internet, and connectivity to the Internet by commercial organizations has grown rapidly. Even companies that have been connected for years are undergoing major changes in their usage of, and attitudes toward, the Internet. There has never been an industry, since the dawn of man that has attracted so much attention like the Internet and the World Wide Web. The benefits of business Internet use can be seen from a large-scale perspective (benefits to whole industries), localized perspective (benefits to a specific business), and even an individual perspective (benefits to clients/consumers). The Internet is the least expensive marketing tool available today, as well as the most cost-effective, relatively inexpensive, compared to other forms of advertising. A company can have their Web site built and up and running for a whole year for the same cost as one day's advertising in a local newspaper. In addition, the Internet offers the opportunity with which to create one-to-one relationships with the prospect of building lasting relationships with consumers in a very personal and individualized manner.

While implementation of information systems and technology in general can be a boom to an organization and be part of a transformation that results in radical improvement, it is also essential to at least consider the drawbacks associated with this progress. The behavioral issues revolve around two key points. The first is that people and organizations tend to reject new technology because they are reluctant to change. They are either afraid of changing or afraid that they will be un-able to change. For this reason it is important that changes in technology are accompanied with changes in organizational practices and culture. It is essential to incorporate organizational learning in the acceptance of information technology. The second issue concerns employee involvement in the change and the resulting job satisfaction. This aspect relates back to the idea of "empowerment, which is needed to effectively implement technological change." (Meeker) If it is not viewed as part of an overall transformation, the addition of technological process improvements or information systems, which on the surface take away human responsibility, is likely to lead to job dissatisfaction. In one sense such advancements remove the last bit of skill that employees put into their job. They must essentially

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This article will focus on technology in global markets. Businesses in global markets have gone through e-transformations as a result of the Internet and its related communication technologies. Areas of description and analysis will include the phenomenon of globalization, the pace of technological development, the knowledge-based global economy, and emerging high-tech businesses. In addition, issues of the relationship between developing countries and e-commerce, technology management, global technical standards, and global-distribution networks will be introduced.

Keywords Commerce; E-Transformation; Global Distribution Networks; Global Markets; Globalization; Internet; Knowledge-Based Global Economy; Technology Management

Business

Overview

Technology affects the pace and growth of business in global markets. Technological change drives economic development. Historical examples of technologies that changed business practices include the nineteenth-century railroad and twentieth-century mass production manufacturing technologies. In the 1990s, new information and communication technologies began a business revolution with new products, services, business models, and economic markets. Information and knowledge have become both the means and the product of many businesses around the world. Terms such as the information super highway and the information society became popular descriptors of modern life for Westernized countries. The Internet, and its related communication technologies, is a driving force in shaping and operating businesses and global markets.

In an effort to unpack the deep relationship between technology and global markets, this essay will describe and analyze the following topics and issues:

  • Globalization and the emergence of global economic markets;
  • Global markets and the pace of technological development;
  • Global markets and the knowledge-based global economy;
  • Global markets and emerging high-tech businesses; and
  • Issues of developing countries and e-commerce, technology management, technical standards, and global-distribution networks.

Globalization

Global markets are characterized by an increasing mobility in capital, research and design process, production facilities, customers, and regulators. Global markets, created through socioeconomic changes, political revolutions, and Internet and communications technology, have no national borders. Modern globalization, and resulting shifts from centralized to market economies in much of the world, has created opportunities for increased trade, investment, business partnerships, and access to once closed global markets.

Economic environments around the world have been changing due to the forces of globalization. Globalization is characterized by the permeability of traditional boundaries of nations, culture, and economic markets. The fundamental economic forces and events influencing globalization around the world include the end of communism in much of the world; the change from an economy based on natural resources to one based on knowledge industries; demographic shifts; the growth of a global economy; increased trade liberalization; advances in communication technology; and increased threat of global terrorism (Thurow, 1995).

Globalization creates a turbulent global sociopolitical environment characterized by competing political actors, shifting power relations, and politically driven changes in national economies around the world. Businesses work to find opportunity and profit in the political and economic changes. The political turbulence and upheaval have resulted in a move from centralized economies to a decentralized global economy and have created numerous emerging markets (even despite the Great Recession of 2007 to 2009). These emerging markets are the capital markets in developing countries that have chosen to promote capital flows and foreign investment by liberalizing their financial systems.

Business opportunities, including international investments and joint ventures, in the global economy have been increasingly tied to trade pacts such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Canada, and Mexico; the Mercosur trade pact between Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, and Paraguay; and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) trade zone. In addition, business opportunities have resulted from privatization worldwide. “Countries are privatizing many state-owned industries and allowing foreign investors to purchase pieces of them through joint ventures or local operations to participate in these projects” (Sites, 1995). According to Sites (1995), emerging markets, often occurring in countries experiencing political upheaval, will continue to increase in the expanding global market, and businesses, participating in the new global economy, will continue to seek out new manufacturing and sales opportunities in foreign markets and countries.

Global Markets

Technological development, as an integral part of a corporation's research and design process (R & D), is heavily influenced by changes in corporate business practices and development of global markets. Factors in the emerging global markets that influence technological development include increases in the pace of development, labor productivity, and competition. In addition, technological development in global markets is influenced by changes in corporate governance practices (Ahlstrom, 2004).

Increased pace of development: The development of global markets has spurred the development of high-tech businesses. Global markets emphasize fast growth facilitated through new business procedures and new technologies (such as social media via the Internet and other networking technologies). Increased spending in research and design has yielded a wide range of profitable new products and services. The profits from economic growth provide funds for further technological development and investment. Both public and private sector interests have invested and driven the pace and direction of technological development in global markets. High-tech firms, with fast-paced product development tracks, depend on equity funding by venture capitalists, market investors, stock options, brand-building, and corporate reputation to establish themselves as competitors in the global marketplace.

Increased labor productivity: The rate and pace of labor productivity is used by economists as a measure of the economic health of a country. Labor productivity refers to a business's output divided by the number of employees. Increased labor productivity, resulting from expanded global markets and new technologies, increases profits, spending, product development, and the overall economic health of a country.

Increased competition: Economic growth in the marketplace increases competition between local and foreign firms. Trade agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA) and the single European market in the early 1990s, have created new opportunities and new competitors. The interdependent global economy creates new levels of competition among foreign and multinational corporations. Modern globalization, and resulting shifts from centralized to market economies in much of the world, have created both need and opportunity for economic development in developing countries and regions of the world. Open markets and foreign development aid have created new competitors in business sectors. Corporations around the world have adopted new management practices and have built their brands in an effort to compete in global markets.

Changes in corporate governance practices: Participation in global markets requires corporations to respond to consumer and stakeholder demands, adopt performance and environmental standards, and institute clear corporate governance, accountability, and transparency procedures. The globalization of product and financial markets requires corporations to adopt product and performance standards that have become common to business practices in Western firms.

Global Markets

The relationship between new technologies and emerging global markets has influenced the fundamental organizational structures and principles that define business organizations. A knowledge-based global economy has emerged based on the selling, buying, and trading of information and knowledge. Information as an engine for economic growth, rather than...

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