Technology has been on a growing trend, and the use of digital communication has been popular in the recent years. Many businesses are today making use of the more advanced technologies, such as the internet and the online social media to carry out communication among the members of the organization and external stakeholders.
Even though development of technology has some negative effects to people, it can create many benefits and help social security. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to carry out research to find out the positive effects and the negative effects of technology in the society.
Positive Effects of Digital Communication
The use of digital media is on the rise and getting access to computers and internet use is relatively high across all age groups (Long 6). Laborers fall among the age groups that are increasingly engaged in digital communication.
Internet access has provided several benefits to workers and different organization. The use of various digital communication technologies such as cell phones and social networking sites among other technologies has become a central force that fuels the daily life of the laborers, especially among the young workers (Long 6).
The productivity of workers depends on the kind of information and communication technology that is used in an organization. Organizations that embrace the modern communication technologies contribute to the overall productivity of the workers.
In a bid to improve the quality of the digital communication, different countries such as the US and UK have embarked on laying down the broadband lines across different region in their countries to aid communication (Kretschmer 5). The ICT has positive effects on the productivity of the workers, which translate into productivity of the firm and the economy.
Today, organizations find it difficult to work without group collaborations and application of ICT in their collaboration space. For instance, social networking has made it possible for people to create personal profiles that enable them to network with other members of the organization as well as with other people outside organization (Goodman and Hirsch 164).
People are able to post private and public messages through the social blogs like LinkedIn; they are also able to participate in discussion forums and engage others in digitally mediated interactions.
One of the studies conducted in a Greece firm concerning the use of ICT found out that use of ICT has led to positive productivity effects on workers and the organization as a whole (Goodman and Hirsch 172). It also found out that effective combination of human capital and technology is necessary for the increased productivity of workers and the organization.
With the advancement in the information technology, there is increased level of threats that prompts various schools and business entities to adopt effective and efficient information security systems.
Such effective and efficient information security systems include the fingerprint technology. This technology makes use of the biometric technology to identify special features of an individual. This technology has proved to be more secure, accurate, and reliable since each individual possesses unique biometrics that is not prone to impersonation (Bennett 8).
Information and communication technology has been raising the bar on competence needed to succeed in communication in the current business environment (Krtschmer 6). The society has become knowledge based; it is only through the digital media that one can get access to some of the skills needed to communicate successfully with other members of an organization.
Some of the key areas that the workers may require digital technology include serving the customers and the clients, participating in a team, and working with diverse groups of people (Guerrieri and Bentivegna 151). Email communication has become common mode of communication at various workplaces. The executives of certain companies are also embracing the use of other social network to pass information across the organization; they have embraced the digital technology to facilitate quick communication (Argenti and Barnes 2).
Labor Supply Decisions
The increased access to internet has affected how people work; workers who have access to internet and other digital communication facilities are able to communicate with fellow workers from different workstations. These groups of people are likely to prefer offering their services to the organization from any location, thus connecting with fellow workers through the internet resources such as emails and online social media.
Some of the best examples are the use of social media such as Facebook, Skype, and My Space among others to communicate with fellow workers in different workstations. Clearly, development in technology has eased work options; one does not need to be physically present at a workplace. One of the studies conducted shows that internet penetration enables a larger workforce to supply more labor hours (Champion, Kosec, and Stanton 11).
Workers may also attend to other duties since they have a flexible work program with the use of modern technology. Workers who work on part time basis prefer to have internet at home to facilitate their work. This is common among workers from the rural and urban areas.
The new technological innovations in the last two decades have greatly influenced the structure of labor. New types of jobs and innovative ways of working including remotely working at home has emerged (Champion, Kosec, and Stanton 12). The research studies that have been conducted in the US have shown that having internet access at home has increased labor supply.
The technology available for working remotely or telecommuting has improved overtime resulting in large number of people embracing the work at home programs.
The number of adults who work with internet at home has greatly increased over the last decade, and this trend is expected to continue with the ever-increasing use of the online social media such as Facebook, My Space, and LinkedIn among other social networks. The studies also show that the use of internet and broadband increases the propensity to work among workers with the internet resources (Champion, Kosec, and Stanton 18).
Research study shows that the ability of Generation Y to access Facebook while at workplace was a great incentive to retaining workers in the organization (Maqbel 30). This is because they are able to connect with family, friends, and coworkers while working. A good example of the company that have successful built internal social network is Best Buy. Its internal social networking has been able to bridge the geographical gaps between the employees successfully by allowing its employees to share ideas from different geographical points (Maqbel 30).
Negative Effects of Digital Communication
As much as digital communication has been of great importance to the society, it has also been accompanied with very many challenges that may derail the functioning and performance of the workers in the organization.
Various technologies are used to obtain citizen’s private information. Three of those technologies are web phishing and spoofing attacks, use of GPS (Global Positioning System) and Cloud computing. Web phishing and scooping involves acquiring a person’s information through web services using different methods. A web phishing activity may involve impersonation where a person provides information to malicious programs on the internet.
Phishing and scooping can also be done through stealing of confidential information by the use of software or hardware installed on computers. The software records details such as the identity numbers, passwords, and other sensitive information without the knowledge of the user. GPS tracking is a technology that uses global satellites to monitor a device fitted with GPS technology.
The use of GPS (also known as GPRS in mobile phones) enables real time tracking of the geographical locations of the device. This technology can be used to track a person’s movement with the aim of obtaining information about his/her activities. Security agencies can use these technologies positively to get hold of criminals (Bennett 12).
The use of technology like computers possesses health risks to the users in terms of exposure to brain cancer from the dangerous emissions from electronic devices, distraction of eyesight. Mobile phones also emit electromagnetic radiations, which are harmful to frequent users; the use of cell phones for long periods makes microwave radiation penetrate into the brain and cause brain complications. When this occurs, the sleeping patterns are affected. It also causes irritation and impatience on perennial users.
Increased Politics in the Organization
The vulnerabilities that result from creating an open communication environment may create a lot of tension within the organization. The digital media have been used as a way of enlightening the workers about their rights. However, the patterns in which they are used may adversely affect the internal development of the organizations (Bennett 13).
This is because networks can be configured rapidly and the flow of information can be altered at any time. For example, internet channels, which are in use such as blogs and organization sites provide the global activities with information that is independent from the mass media.
Worman and Samek (73) posit that outsourcing has resulted in labor rights movements. Separation of work from place and de-linking of labor from the labor contracts are unique to the digital labor environment (Kreschmer par. 3).
In this aspect, modern communication technology is viewed as a weapon for increasing revenues rather than increasing the welfare of the society and better working conditions. The collaborative digital environment of social networking which encourages various actions such as tagging and sharing of ideas contribute to the idea of free labor.
Employee Turnover and Organizational Commitment
The digital communications such as social networking may influence the employees’ turnover intentions. Individuals with large social networks tend to have better opportunities of finding new jobs (Maqbel 30). The size of the network is very important for employees who intend to look for jobs, or unsatisfied with their jobs. Employees may be able to concentrate on their jobs and will always look for new opportunities to exploit. This is likely to affect the productivity of the employees in performing their jobs.
Referrals through the social networking sites affect the employees’ attachment to the firm (Castilla 1249). Such an evaluation will affect the employees’ commitment to the job and the organization and, subsequently, affects his/her overal performance. The exit of the person who had referred a particular employee through digital communication is likely to reduce the quality of work setting to such an unsatisfactory level that will eventually affect the performance and may result in the employee quitting his job (Castilla 1251).
The referrer’s termination is likely to increase the referral’s chances of quitting the current job without necessary affecting his performance. There are also chances that one employee that refers other employees after leaving the organization may convey the information of the new opportunities available through the digital communication channels such as emails and online social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and My Space among others (Castilla 1257).
Technological development has gain popularity in the modern society; it has been of great benefits to both organizations and the employees. Even though some issues have been raised concerning its benefits to labor, the benefits or positive impacts outweigh its disadvantages or negative impacts. Research shows that digital communication facilities such as the internet and social media are for the benefits of the modern workers. They facilitate communication among the workers and the managers.
The employees are also able to form social network works that are beneficial for the social support. The younger workers are the major beneficiaries of the social networks that help them to connect with the family members, friends, and fellow workers. With the discussed points, effects of technological development have received support and opposition of equal measure.
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