Professional Issues in ComputingComputers, Work and Society
[A] Computer and Work[B] Computer (IT) and Society
[A] Computer and Work(1) The changing nature of work(2) The impact on employment(3) The work environment(4) Employee monitoring(5) Health issues
(1) The changing nature of workComputer and Work Meaning of Computer: - Machine consists of a CPU, memory and I/O devices. Meaning of Information Technology (IT): - Includes computers, computer equipment and telecommunication networks.
Meaning of Work (oxford dictionary): - Use of bodily or mental powers with the purpose of doing or making something, esp. Contrasted with play or recreation.IT & Changing Pattern of Work:Information technologies are having a profound impact on work. It affects the working environment; employment; existing jobs; and workers.
(1) The changing nature of workWhy People Works:1. Economic ReasonsPeople work in exchange for the pay and benefits they receive, so that they can support the expenditure of themselves and their families.2. Social ReasonsWork allows individuals to interact with others and develop new friendships. The workers can support and encourage each other in order to share the frustrations and joys of daily living./3. Social Status ReasonsThe higher position people occupy within the organisation, the higher status in the community the people will generally enjoy.
4. Self-esteem ReasonsWork provides a sense of identity for individuals and tells them who they are. Through the work, people can make contributions to the society and benefit each other.
(1) The changing nature of workEliminating many jobs; creating others,Increase productivity; reduce work hours,More leisure; fewer jobs; more unemployment,How to handle:- dislocation of jobs;- masses of people out of work;retraining;Telework / telecommuting;Change in the size of business;Gives rise to self-employed;Virtual / dispersed office location;Provides mobility / autonomy;Increase power to monitor the work, communication & movement of employee.
(2) The impact on employment2.1 Job destruction and creation replaces jobs; great demand for computer experts.-IT destroys jobs and create unemployment, e.g. ATM machines decrease the number of bank teller required;IT creates new jobs, e.g. People who build automated teller machines, maintain them and write software for them.
2.2 Income and productivity.-Average hourly wages have declined, increased in total compensation; -More part-time and temporary jobs;Productivity increase, but working hours may not drop. Employers prefer to ask employee to work overtime rather than hire additional staff.2.3 Impacts on Existing JobsJob replacementIT replaces some jobs done by men, e.g. Internet/ computer enquiry system replaces the telephone operators.Job enrichmentIT can make the jobs more interesting, meaningful and challenging, e.g., Accountants learn to use spreadsheets and have more time for thinking, planning and analysis.2.4 Impact different from other technology - eliminate wider variety of job; rapid pace of change induce greater stress.2.5 Changing jobs eventually all jobs require the use of computer; difficult to handle the transition period of rapid change.
(3) The work environmentTeleworking save traveling time; reduce demand on transport / support services; rise to self-employ.Management and hierarchies flat org. structure; autonomy; empowerment.3.1 TeleworkingWith home computers, modem, fax machines and wireless communications, people can work without going to their employers (or their own) business offices.The employee can:-Setting up a computer-equipped office at home Travel around with a laptop computer and wireless communication equipment (mobile office)Sharp increase in working outside the normal office because of the rapidly dropping costs of communications and information transfer
3.1 Benefits of TeleworkingReduce overhead -In some cases, increase productivity, e.g. Save high office rental price.Reduce rush-hour traffic congestion and associated pollution and energy use.Reduce expenses for commuting and for work clothes.Save time.5. Provide working opportunity for disabled people.6. Allows work to continue under typhoon and rainstorm.7. Provide flexible working hour - Especially for parents to spend more time with their children.8. Provide flexible work location - People can live in rural areas; better social life.
3.1 Problems of TeleworkingLack immediate supervision -People are less productive. Employees need direction about what work and how much work they are expected to do at home.No social interactions at work.Lack of visibility in the office -Bad for promotion and bonuses.Overhead shift to employee -Giving up home space for office and maintaining equipment by their own.
3.2 Management & hierarchiesChanging business structureDownsizing: IT makes the trend towards smaller business and more independent consultants and contractors.Growth of larger multinational corporations: computers can contribute to the merging between giant companies, e.g. Communications and entertainment companies.Flattening hierarchies & empowerment of workersThe availability of IT is leading many businesses to give workers more information and more decision-making authority. The need for middle manager is decreasing and their jobs are changing (hybrid managers). Managers have both IT and managerial skills.
(4) Employee monitoringIT now allows employers to cross the line from monitoring the work to monitoring the workerPresent ways for monitoringUses of log sheets and time clocksSurveillance cameras Bosses patrolled the aisles
(4.) New Ways to Monitor Employee 1. Monitoring keystrokesEvery keystroke of data entry and data processing clerks can be counted automaticallySome make the records of employees performance public in the workplace to encourage competition among workersTerminals beep if the employee pauses in his or her work 2. Physical surveillanceElectronic identification badges allow monitoring of the movements of employees.Locating devices equipped in company cars can keep track on the travel of the car owner. 3. Monitoring customer service callsA computer program for supervisors listen in on calls periodically to train new workers and to check on the performance of existing workers.4. Employee e-mail, voice mail and filesEmployers can read the e-mail of employee, listen to voice-mail message, and read the computer file.
(5) Health issuesSeveral problems associated with manufacture and use of computers.Two that received lots of attention are:1. Radiation from computer terminals;2. Wrist problem (RSI, repetitive strain injury).RSI causes pain in wrist, hand, and arm(sometimes neck and shoulders). It is associated with frequent, repetitive, forceful motion;May also causes nerves, muscles, tendons, joints damage.Possible remedy:Radiation Use low radiation remittance devise such as LCD instead of CRT monitor.Repetitive Strain Injury Make use ergonomic solutions on devise design to reduce fatigue; employee has to keep correct working posture.
[B] Computer (IT) and Society(1) Revolution in HK Society(2) Information Explosion(4) How Will We Live Together(5) Economic & Cultural Impacts(6) Social & Global Relations(7) IT & Human Behaviour(8) Some Observations(9) IT & Future Society(10) A variety of social issues(11) Criticism on computers
(1) Revolution in HK SocietyAgriculturalBefore world war II, most people in Hong Kong were mainly farmers and fishermen.IndustrialBetween 60s and 80s, most of the Hong Kong people work in a factory. Over 50% of the business in Hong Kong was in manufacturing;The creation of mechanical engine brought the industrial revolution. However, introduction of new IT reduces the number of workers required, e.g. Introduction of automation/robotic.InformationalFrom late 80s, the majority of Hong Kong people work in servicing areas;New IT creates new jobs in support areas for IT, e.g. Those develop software and maintain equipment.
(2) Information ExplosionIT are extending our vision of the world, permitting us to see and understand new areas of physical and social life.Information is growing sharply, making it difficult for people to stay informed (information explosion).IT also allow us to store, access, display and communicate new information easily.IT are both a cause, and a solution to, the problem of information explosion.
(4) How Will We Live Together Information technologies change our society by affecting our economy, culture, social relations, and global relations
(5) Economic & Cultural ImpactsEconomyIT impacts the economic sphere by changing what we can produce and how we produce itE.g. Overnight delivery by express companyCulturalTechnology can also change our values of what is appropriate behaviour and what is inappropriate behaviourE.g. Instant response from servicing organisations
(6) Social & Global RelationsSocial relationsThe relationship between groups in a society are affected by IT. Some groups are able to use the new technologies to their advantage, less fortunate groups may be unable to do soGlobal relationsTechnologies put us in instant touch with other cultures around the globe. These technologies helped spread democratic values and culture to countries that previously were behind the iron curtain
(7) IT & Human Behaviour7.1 CommunicationIT shortens the time required and changes the way to transmit informationIn the past, people post letters and fax a document by fax machineNowadays, people will use the below methods to communicate with one anotherPager/ mobile phoneE-mail/ interne