Small Computers in Organizations: Issues and Arguments - or - How to Fight With Computer-Enhanced Bureaucracy

Fick, G.P. (1980). Small Computers in Organizations: Issues and Arguments - or - How to Fight With Computer-Enhanced Bureaucracy. IIASA Working Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: WP-80-146

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The continuous development of micro-electronics is changing the computer world. Small computers are becoming more powerful. The impacts are mainly to be found through the changing economy of computer use.

The new situation gives us the opportunity of widening the perspective in the analysis of costs. We can take into account a widened set of criteria such as the impact on organizational behavior, user psychology and broadened participation. The situation is therefore a challenge to scientists in many disciplines because these and other aspects formerly treated as secondary may now be entered into the economic analysis and could in fact be decisive for the final choice.

We will first highlight the development in some disciplines of technology and management sciences to point-out the most important changes related to our field. Then we will speculate more carefully about changes In organizational behavior.

Some of the most important organizational characteristics influenced by the choice of small or big computers can be summarized by the concept of "bureaucracy." We will discuss specialization, standardization, formalization and centralization separately. Flexibility is involved in all four of these parts. In fact, flexibility is what is lost if we get too much of the other four qualities.

Behind the actual decisions one will often find different perceptions of the relationships between technology and the managerial situation. We will dwell on a discussion of different approaches because it shows that the changes we find in our particular field of technology are not caused by simple intra-technical considerations. Rather, they result from very complex and non-transparent combinations of technological, economic, political and ideological factors.

It is essential that the full spectrum of issues be fully known to all parties involved in the evolution of a management system. Then the advent of small computers may give new life to management itself.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Working Paper)
Research Programs: Management and Technology Area (MMT)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 01:47
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:09

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