Buy tern paper: The role of IT

“Is Oticon a good model for effectively integrating information technology into the office? What is the role of IT in organizations? Do you know of any other organization that has been transformed by IT? How? Would you enjoy working in such environment?”.
Currently the role of IT in organizations cannot be overestimated: nearly everyone has to deal with computers, networks and other IT infrastructure, regardless of work responsibilities. The focus has shifted from paperwork and essential meetings in person to electronic communications, remote offices and virtual meetings. The pace of life and character of changes requires all organizations to be flexible, quickly respond to the challenges of the environment and avoid a rigid bureaucratic structure. The cost of being inflexible, focusing or superior performance or “building monuments to success” (Lagace, 2003) can be quite high.
An example of company which once built such monuments to success is Oticon, a Danish maker of hearing-aid devices. This company managed to be one of the best innovators in the 1980s; however, since it did not invest a lot in R&D since that time and relied mainly on its existing successful decisions and quality (Lagace, 2003). This overreliance together with traditional hierarchical structure resulted in very low performance in the end of 1980s. The new CEO, Lars Kolind, managed to turn the organization virtually “upside down” and implemented a totally different working culture and organizational structure. The company became a two-layered community, with top management and the rest of other employees, where every employee could start own project and become its team leader. For flexibility, the employees had a mobile office system: each worker had own mobile cart with most necessary office facilities, and could freely move to any necessary place. Kolind also implemented the idea of paperless office, where all mail was scanned and entered into the system, while paper mail was shredded after reading and shown in a special chute in the company’s cafeteria (Hitt & Ireland & Hoskisson, 2009). The pieces of paper in the chute symbolize freedom of thinking and flexibility being the main values of Oticon. The results of Kolind’s approach soon became evident: in the recession of the early 1990s, Oticon showed a ten-fold increase of profits (Hitt & Ireland & Hoskisson, 2009).
It is possible to state that all companies were affected by technology to a certain extent (Griscom, 2009). One more example of company changed by information technologies is Blockbuster, a movie rental company. In 2004, the company has opened its Blockbuster online division in the attempt to address online competitors, and introduced such services as Blockbuster by Mail and return/exchange of videos (Hitt & Ireland & Hoskisson, 2009). The company was significantly reshaped to address the changing customers’ needs. As a result, Blockbuster managed to develop new competitive advantages of its brick-and-mortar business over online competitors, and flexibly responded to new business environment.
In general, office design currently should necessarily include planning with regard to wireless and wired security, provide access for Wi-Fi devices in all workplaces, provide enough access to electricity (wall outlets), phone services and wired LAN. If optical connections are used in the office, office design should be done with regard to fiber backbones. To avoid overwiring, network and information infrastructure should be planned beforehand, and double drops are recommended for installation. Placements for server room and wireless closet are to be included in the design, and proper cooling in places with high concentration of equipment should be anticipated.
However, the main idea of the new office design is not the integration of technology. I agree with Mary Wallace that technology drives new office design, but the design is first of all influenced by the company’s philosophy and values, and implemented technology is rather the consequence of organizational culture and structure. “Before moving furniture and walls around, a company must assess its corporate philosophy and either confirm it, rework it, or adopt a new one” (Wallace, 2000). Indeed, if Kolind would not bring a different philosophy and working culture to Oticon, the implementation of paperless office and team flexibility would not have such dramatic effect, or could even fail. Thus, I would enjoy working in such an intense and flexible environment, provided that it reflects the spirit of the organization and its values.

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