All Theses, Dissertations, and Capstone Projects

Year of Award

1987

Degree

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

College

College of Business & Professional Studies

Degree Program

Business

Department

Business Administration

Keywords

Automation, Software, Technology, Employees, Users, Training, Change Management

Abstract

Automation has had a tremendous impact on the workplace in recent years. Development and availability of computer hardware and software have increased at a pace unimagined in the wildest of speculations 25 years ago. Automation's impact on the workplace is expected to parallel or exceed the transformation experienced during the industrial revolution over a century ago.

Evidence indicates, however, that the benefits of increased workplace productivity expected to accompany automation have not been realized. As this lack of return on investment becomes more widely acknowledged, the computer industry, concurrently, r is experiencing a downturn. This slowing of growth is cause for serious concern in what is still a fledgling, highly competitive business. As technology wizards scramble to maintain or increase their share of a decreasing market by offering the consumer ever more bountiful and innovative hardware and software, they nay, unwittingly, be compounding the problem.

Investigations of problems associated with the introduction of automation to the workplace consistently highlight the need for attention to human factors. These factors include resistance to change, inability to understand the technology, feeling victimized by the high-tech experts selling the products, fear of job loss, and a lack of proper planning.

It appears, however, that little specific action as been taken to date to deal with this aspect of automation, even though human factors could offer a key to automation's effectiveness in improving workplace productivity.

Techniques are available which can be of benefit if applied to the non-technical problem areas of automation. Such techniques are ordinarily associated with participative management, principles of adult learning, and the theory of socio-technical systems.

This thesis offers insight into the value of the human contribution to automation's effective transformation of the v.0rkplace, and explores opportunities for such contributions to be enhanced.

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

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