Evaluate the Utilization of Technology to Support and Build Capacity
OLB 7002, Assignment 4
DuBose, Justin Z.
Dr. Michael J. Kranzusch
3 September 2017
Significance of Technology on Organizational Capacity
The influence of technology on a global scale in recent decades is undeniable. This influence extends to sectors of government, corporations, not-for-profit organizations, and every other segment of society which seeks to organize people and resources around a cause or business venture. The economy of Australia, for example, sustained staggering growth during the 1980’s and 1990’s and, in examining the contributing factors to this growth, it was concluded that the information technology revolution was “the major contributor to the productivity performance” for the country (Shahiduzzaman, 2014). The growth in productivity that resulted from this information technology revolution was made possible due to the fact that this technology increased the organizational capacity of the Australian government. Without increasing their capacity for growth, growth itself would never occur in productivity.
The advent and widespread use of the term “e-leadership” reinforces the significance of technology on organizational capacity. For example, an e-leadership survey conducted in 2011 concluded that leaders must develop "strong social networking skills, a global multi-cultural mindset, greater sensitivity toward followers' state of mind, and a 24x7 orientation" (Savolainen, 2014). For the modern leader and organization, e-leadership is a concept which must not and cannot be ignored, and this concept is a reality due to technology and its increasing role in the workplace.
Current Technological Issues
Our present technological standing at Columbus Christian Academy is in dire need of improvement. Though we have made strides in recent years in improving our technology, we are still significantly lacking in many areas. These shortcomings have a direct and negative impact on the ability of our organization to produce to its full capacity. While we have built and dedicated a technology center, the chrome book technology employed in that technology center is not being utilized to its full capacity. The computers themselves are due for an upgrade, as are the operating systems which students and faculty use on a regular basis. This impacts capacity and productivity, namely in the ability of our students to access, practice, and master the knowledge associated with technology which students in other schools and districts are accessing regularly. It has been poignantly observed that “the world is not only more globalized but also more knowledge intensive” (Technology Vision, 2016). Our current technological situation is preventing our school from seeing the full capacity and productivity reached both organizationally and in individual students as well.
Our technological shortcomings, while most pronounced and noticeable in the area of computers and operating systems utilized by students and faculty, are certainly not limited to those areas. No staff and faculty training has been conducted in the operation and implementation of existing technology. This lack of training has resulted in not only a shortcoming in organizational capacity, but an ignorance and negligence of technological advances by our faculty. As most of our faculty and staff have been employed for ten years or more, their professional skills with students and teaching are employed and maximized, but their skills are grossly underdeveloped in the area of technology. As with the issue of computers and operating systems in our technology center, the absence of staff and faculty training is preventing our school from seeing the full capacity and productivity reached both organizationally and in individual employees.
Recommendations to Utilize Technology to Improve Organizational Capacity
Information Technology can be utilized by organizations for three general purposes: cost reduction, revenue increases, or reducing costs and increasing revenues (Mithas, 2016). However, in our previous discussions of implementing new technology, we have only discussed the singular purpose of cost reduction. When we have discussed new technology in terms of computers and operating systems, the focus has always been on reducing the costs of curriculum, faculty, or even overhead costs of multiple classrooms. However, the employment and utilization of technology can also, as Mathis noted, be used to increase revenues while also reducing costs. In addressing that difference, Robert Carter, CIO of FedEx, contrasted the approach of FedEx to UPS by noting that, “We tend to focus slightly less on operational technology. We focus a little more on revenue-generating, customer-satisfaction-generating, strategic-advantage technology. The key focus of my job is driving technology that increases the top line.” (Colvin, 2006)
Like FedEx, I recommend that we shift our focus in utilizing and implementing technology strictly from a cost-saving measure to more of a revenue-generating measure: from a bottom line approach to a top line approach. While this will require initial investment in the form of new and upgraded technology, the result, if integrated deliberately and properly, will likely be increased revenues over time. As referenced earlier, the staggering and sustained growth of the Australian economy in the 1980’s and 1990’s was proven to be directly tied to their own revolution in information technology. There is reason to believe that this would be true for Columbus Christian Academy as well.
Currently, the computers in our technology center have a very limited capacity which, consequently, limits the capacity of the students using them. Furthermore, they also fail to adequately prepare our students for modern technology use outside of our classrooms. Our computers need to be equipped with technology that will be utilized in the modern workforce and in universities which they will attend after graduation. Therefore, I recommend that we allocate $50,000 in the annual budget for technology upgrades for the next school year. This will allow us to purchase 40 Intel Core i7 computers which come equipped with 8GB of memory of 1TB of hard drive space at a cost of $1,000 per computer. These computers, or others with similar capacity, far exceed our current technological capacity in graphic capabilities, hard drive space, and, most importantly, will prepare our students for the technological world which awaits them after high school. The remaining funds of $10,000 will be used to hire someone for thoroughly and properly training the students, staff, and faculty on the operation of these computers. This ensures that the potential capacity of the employment of this new technology is not squandered. If this technology can be utilized in this way, it can be marketed and advertised as an element of the overall educational experience at Columbus Christian Academy which would far exceed any competitor in the public or private realm in our area. This would serve as a “top line” investment which will, over time, increase revenue for the school by attracting new students and families.
This new technology can also serve as a “bottom line” investment as well in the area of staff and faculty training. Despite our recent improvements in information technology, our present faculty is grossly ill-equipped to integrate technology into their professional routine and environment. While this training is imperative, it should not be approached or attempted without first addressing the potential dangers of the integration of new technology into an established workforce.
The major problem related to implementation deals with the anticipated resistance from those faculty members who have not yet been forced to utilize technology over the course of their career. Studies have shown that the implementation of new technology, while providing cost and revenue benefits, can “challenge incumbents by destroying the value of their accumulated knowledge and skills in the old technologies” (Benner, 2007). The result of such actions is often that we would be “creating a performance gap between new entrants and old established firms” (Chun, 2015). Effectively, studies show that established employees would immediately struggle with new technologies with which newer employees would already be accustomed. The impact of this, as Benner notes, is the destruction of accumulated knowledge over the course of a career. Understandably, this change could temporarily, though drastically, impact the social and professional culture of the workforce. While this resistance should not prevent the implementation of new technologies, it should be discussed and understood thoroughly prior to implementation.
Our faculty and staff, if equipped with and trained on new technology, could provide numerous cost-saving measures to the organization, each of which increase its capacity for productivity. For example, faculty currently spend hours recording and averaging grades which are then handed to front office staff who spend hours inputting, printing, and distributing those grades. Collectively, these hours not only increase the costs of organizational operation, but also limit its production capacity, increasing the opportunity costs which do not show up on financial statements. If our faculty were equipped and trained with the proper technology, this entire process could be streamlined using technology which would save time and cost for the staff and involve fewer personnel in the process. The front office staff, for example, would have no need to be involved in the process of report cards if the grades could be uploaded digitally and accessed directly by the students and parents. This is one example of how equipping and training our faculty and staff could serve as a cost-saving measure while simultaneously increasing organizational capacity.
Columbus Christian Academy is in need of an information technology revolution akin to what took place in Australia in the 1980’s and 1990’s. This revolution would serve both to increase revenues and reduce costs, each of which positively contribute to organizational capacity. Presently, we are operating well below our full capacity in both individual and corporate measures. These steps, while requiring initial investment and adjustment, would serve to allow our school to grow and flourish in ways presently untapped.
Benner, M. (2007). “The incumbent discount: stock market categories and response to radical technological change”. Academy of Management Review, 32, 703-720. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
Chun, H., Kim, J., & Lee, J. (2015). “How does information technology improve aggregate productivity? A new channel of productivity dispersion and reallocation”. Research Policy, June 2015, 999-1016. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
Colvin, G. 2006. “The FedEx Edge,” Fortune, March 20 (available at http://money.cnn.com/2006/03/17/magazines/fortune/csuite_ fedex_fortune_040306/index.htm). Accessed September 3, 2017.
Mithas, S., & Rust, R. T. (2016). “HOW INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY STRATEGY AND INVESTMENTS INFLUENCE FIRM PERFORMANCE: CONJECTURE AND EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE”. MIS Quarterly, 40(1), 223-246. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
Savolainen, T. (2014). “Trust Building in e-Leadership: A Case Study of Leaders' Challenges and Skills in Technology-Mediated Interaction”. Journal of Global Business Issues, 8(2), 45-56. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
Shahiduzzaman, M. & Khorshed, A. (2014). “Information technology and its changing roles to economic growth and productivity in Australia”. Telecommunications Policy, 38(2), 125-135. Retrieved September 3, 2017.
Technology vision: Putting science to use. (2016). Communications Today, Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.proxy1.ncu.edu/docview/1773605002?accountid=28180. Accessed September 3, 2017.
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