Internet revolution has been one of the greatest milestones as far as communication is concerned. This revolution has brought with it much choice for individuals and organizations as far as their communication needs are concerned. The computer has enabled managers to manipulate, control and measure information than ever before. Information processing has become much easier with the availability of almost all kinds of information from all the fields. The role that the internet plays in management as far as the modern work environment cannot be overemphasized. It has led to radical shifts and adaptations in the ways that management, whether in the public or private domain has and continue to carry out its functions in environments of different diversities. Most organizations have increased their reliance on the internet to carry out much of their activities. Management has been in the forefront of advocating this revolution in the way information is channeled. This essay will assess the role that the internet plays in communication and whether it has been of any substantial benefit in terms increasing the overall performance of the organization as far as meeting targets is concerned and if reliance to this mode has brought any negative consequences..
Management can be conceptualized as getting work done through other people. According to Hill (1999), it is both an “art and a science.” The art is “making people to be more effective and efficient than they would have been when you are not around. The science is in how you do that, and this is concerned with planning, organizing, directing and monitoring. (Hill, 1999) defines management as “working with people and through other people to accomplish the objectives of the organization and its members.” Management generally is all about getting results as set out in an organization’s objectives.
Internet as a tool of management has become more relevant especially in the current highly dynamic global world that is moving towards embracement of more sophisticated management information systems in their operations. Information has become the power and thus organizations’ management is appreciating the need to be a full participant in this revolution. “E-commerce” and “e-government” have now become the key words in management practice all over the world. Today businesses all over the world can trade, exchange, and conduct payment for goods and services in real time through the use of the internet.
Benefits of internet in the present organizational structure are very overwhelming and management in cannot afford to ignore this if they wish to compete favorably with those that have substantively integrated the internet in their day to day functions. Use of the internet puts these businesses at a “competitive advantage” (Powell, 2008) as compared to those that are slow in embracing it. Increased efficiency as far as output is concerned has been witnessed in firms that have leveraged the use of internet solutions in their normal day activities. One outstanding result of internet use by managers is the reduction of costs. Real time and instant communication through use of email services, video conferencing has meant that the costs that were once associated with putting up communication channels have been significantly reduced. Effective communication is important in organizational development and the internet as a tool is very relevant. Use of the internet by management has led to dramatic improvements as far as services and products are concerned. For example in banking, online banking overview provides a number of advantages for both customers and banks. For clients the benefits include access to accounts everywhere, anytime, easier management of finances, transfer of funds and payment of bills.
This has a two fold effect of increasing revenues and also playing a role in assisting the management to cut costs, and also have more time to plan for other opportunities for growth. Need for faster communication through the internet helps the management when carrying out crucial organizational tasks like recruitment, training and sourcing for the organizations to provide specific services. Through the internet, this becomes an easier means of communicating these requirements. Today, outsourcing has become the in-thing as far as business is concerned. Most organizations are now outsourcing some of their needs to other companies around the world. This has been a factor that has enabled many of these companies to reduce costs and time wasted doing non-corer activities as envisioned in the objectives. The overall results are that thee has been increased efficiency and general performance has greatly improved.
Management’s adaptation of technology cannot therefore be said to be just an exercise that is minor as far as the organization’s strategic viewpoint is concerned. Internet use can not be said to be overrated in organizations, because it is at the core of communication process as far as an organization is concerned. Hence it is of great beneficial for management to make maximum use of the internet to carry out its functions.
Benefits accruing from adaptation of internet strategies in modern management systems are generally more and widespread. However, the internet can also be said to be overrated as far as management efficiency is concerned. Many have criticized the internet, terming it as unnecessary diversion to the most pressing management needs of an organization. Increased embracement of internet technologies by management has been beset by challenges that have in most cases limited the effective achievement of organizational goals and objectives. The greatest challenge has been the continued impersonalisation of the workplace. The internet has been accused of increasing the dehumanization of the workplace whereby there has been reduction in the contact between the management and the employers. Communication through use of the computers and the corresponding reduced face to face contact is a source of employee dissatisfaction because there is decreased avenues for socialization and personal and human involvement of the employees. Employees can not therefore have the opportunity to interact with their seniors because most of the time correspondence is through wireless methods like email.
The methodologies of information systems development, e-business and the World Wide Web are invented in the west and are considered the universal rules, but the application of these rules is not. Developers should apply these rules according to a particular country when developing successful information systems and search the appropriateness of the methodologies and adopt them to suit the local culture. Cultural orientation is very important in an organization. Internet technologies most of the time tend to be in conflict with the cultural orientation of some organizations.
Hollensen (1996) argues that the “social surrounding, political orientation play a great deal in shaping a country’s information system.” He says further that the fundamentals underlying a particular information system might be the same throughout the world, but how these are applied to the people of these areas, without being seen as foreign or irrelevant to them. The internet introduces an “intermediary in the interface of business when applied to e-commerce and therefore there is another element added to the traditional face-to-face business process and this just makes the interface more complex as different cultures try and adapt to the same interface presented in the e-business relationship”(Haynes, 2003). Thus cases of conflicts arising from tensions between cultural orientations and the information from the internet will tend to affect the employees performance.
Another confounding issue is the increased misuse of the internet by employees during work time. This has been one of the causes of underperformance among employees because; most employees spent their valuable time surfing popular social networking websites instead of concentrating on achieving the goals and objectives of the organization. According to Smith (1998), he says that, “To regulate secret surfing organizations should set clear rules and guidelines which should be clearly communicated to all employees’. Furthermore, he argues that if an amount of free surf time is allocated, this should be explained and the consequences of breaking the rules clearly stated. Then if an employee disregards the policy the employer is justified in taking disciplinary action. Secret surfing could be done away with by employers through blocking access to all websites that are not similar to the duties of the employees, or by closely monitoring and assessing employees surfing time. However, this ‘big Brother” approach has its own limitations because employees cannot be monitored all the time because it could led to tensions and reduced performance.
Exposure to risk is also a reason that is put forward against use of internet in management. The internet is accessed by many people from different backgrounds and chances of organizations’ information being accessed by hackers and other people with malicious intents increases significantly. The arguments against the use of internet in modern management practice is furthermore supported through the position that management’s work is to facilitate the work of other employees to make sure that objectives outlined are achieved. Thus the argument that the internet should be left to these junior staff while the management should concentrate on ensuring that a conducive environment for these subordinates is provided for them to be able to fully achieve the goals of the organization.
The internet has led to changes in the way organizations have carried out their functions. The role played by it is of immense scale. Management should always come up with procedures that will ensure that they fully utilize the benefits of the internet without comprising the cultural and social orientation of the organization. The internet is an important information highway that should always be exploited by management of organizations so as to remain updated and at par with other organizations that are always trying to leverage themselves in a rapidly changing world environment. Thus internet is very important to any management; and therefore it should always form part of its business communication strategy, despite the limited challenges that come with it.
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