Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Computer Technology Research Paper

The contemporary era and the issue of computer technology in white collar/office setting

The fewer workers are engaged in material production of prosperous countries, the more people are needed for creating ideas, patents, scientific formulas, documents, letters, computer programs and hundreds of other production of this kind. This rise of bureaucratic, technical and administrative activity was evidently proved in many countries. Specialists, managers and administrators occupy higher positions, and have a stable and profitable work, unlike those, who do routine non-productive job. And in our contemporary era it became especially visible. So, the question is, whether it is right to consider “white collars” a new professional ruling class, and how the booming computer technologies affect the office-setting. It is what I am going to argue about in my research paper.


We can write a custom research paper on Computer Technology for You!

First of all, it is important to mention, that labor conditions have notably simplified, which was accompanied by dequalification – skills, needed to do hard work remained in the past, and lost their meaning, because of new techniques with similar functions. Thus, development of computers made secretary functions – organizational, calculating and writing job – unnecessary. Harry Braverman claimed that requirements for white-collar labor on the whole, lowered so much, that in present days it is almost like physical labor. Groups, engaged in white-collar job, were thrown down into the working class, which enlarges on the account of non-productive occupations (Braverman H., 1974).

Of course, he exaggerated much, because in the course of time, it is necessary to raise qualification with the technological progress. Particularly, it relates to computerized activities. “White collars” are still more independent, than physical laborers.

The growth of “white collar workers” means that job became more abstract and less specific. Modern offices are based on a typical model, divided into fragments, repeated and boring. Even now, in major cases, office reorganization is nothing more than an attempt to make an office factory-like. Just like it is at the factory, office consists of low-qualified workers (people, doing endless routine job) and highly-qualified ones (scientists, engineers, managers and just businessmen).

Today office structure begins to move to the next step, and former hierarchy looses its meaning. Revolution in office setting is the result of unification of several forces. The matter is that the necessity in information increased too rapidly, and all the clerks, typists and secretaries would not cope with it, no matter how zealously they had been working. In addition, the cost of cleric job has catastrophically increased, although attempts are being made to control it. Office expenses have become 40-50% higher, and in many companies the preparation of one business letter costs 14-18 dollars, without taking into account implicit costs. Meanwhile the efficiency of offices became only 4% higher in last decade. In this regard, the development of computer technologies has obvious negative effect.

Taking into account the amount of operations, done by computer, its price became incredibly low. Alvin Toffler in his “Third Wave” wrote that the power of a computer has increased 10,000 times in last fifteen years, while the cost became 100,000 lower. The combination of high prices and stagnation of production on the on hand, and computer progress on the other, is appalling (Toffler, 1980).

What was the main reason for such a turn? First of all these are electronic devices (processor in the first place), which drastically changed the stream of information in the office and the structure of work all along. It is, however, only one of new technological devices, which are ready to enter to the world of “white collars”. It is a “paperless office” of the nearest future. In Washington, for example, a well-known firm “Micronet, Inc” gathered the equipment of 17 different producers in one office, where it was restricted to use paper. Any document, coming to the office, is microfilmed and then saved for computer reproduction. This office includes various kinds of equipment, and the purpose of such office is to get rid of errors in the card-index, quickly obtain data, reproduce and spread information in a moment, etc.

Let us take a simple correspondence. In a traditional office, administrator should call the secretary to send a letter. The first task is to write down administrator’s words, then, the text is checked for mistakes, typed and retyped several times. After it is ready, it must be copied and sent to the post office. Modern devices allow doing this work once at a time.

But this is not the only advantage of an automatized office. Another one lies in ability to keep great amounts of information, including dictionaries to correct writing mistakes. The speed of work increases, while its costs decrease. With the creation of electronic mail, the traditional post office is no longer needed. The major part of mailing takes place between organizations, that’s why a lot of companies choose more convenient and often more reliable electronic mail, which allowes messages to be sent immediately.

The level of occupation not only reflects technological progress. It doesn’t only rise or fall according to automatization. Difficulties on occupation market have drastically grown recently, and computer is not the only reason. It is obvious, that both office and factory have been suffering from revolutionary changes. A turn in the sector of “white collars” and in production will lead to absolutely new kind of production for the society, and it is a huge step forward for the whole humanity, although it may have complex consequences. It affects not only the level of occupation and industrial structure, but also the distribution of political and economic power, the number of working places, international distribution of labor, the role of women in economy, the nature of labor and the gap between producers and customers (Bikson, 1987). It will even influence such a simple fact, as the place of work. A lot of companies tend to reorganize office setting, automatizing it, or using virtual offices and agencies.

Time and money are the most important components of business life. And the revolution in office structure would probably save both. Both owners of home-offices and rulers of big corporations complain of time and money shortage. In order to diminish the influence of these factors, they invent different work schemes with the help of new technologies, which make work more profitable. As far as it is known, America was first to shift workers to different combinations of “work at home – work in the office”, in order to increase profitability. According to statistics, work at home appears to be fifteen percent more efficient during first three month. But till the end of the year it remains nearly the same as work in the office. That’s why it is suggested to combine work in the office and work at home. Home-office has a range of advantages. First of all it doesn’t require place occupancy. People, working at home are able to plan their own schedule, be dressed more casually, and what is more important, save time and money. Originally offices were created for employees to collaborate and communicate with each other and with customers, and get access to company data, while managers had an opportunity to control the working process. But with the technological progress, such office setting is of no need anymore. On the other hand, home workers are deprived of traditional office advantage – communication with colleagues. And it may be also inconvenient to attend meetings and conferences. In future, however, with further development of computer technologies, both of these problems will probably be solved.

As for the organization of working hours, there are five main variants: full time, compressed week, flexible working hours, part-time and telecommuting. The last variant is intended for people, aiming to work more productively. It was originally created for home-laborers. Generally, telecommuting can be called distance presence, or virtual work. This method of hours organization becomes more and more popular, and is also called flextime, work-at-home, remote work or telework. What factors influence modern crush on distance work? First of all, it is the prolonging of a business day to 24 hours, which helps to organize round-the-clock contact with international representatives, though these services are not needed every day.

Secondly, it means the increase of possibilities and cheapening of mobile communication means. Now, a person, equipped with a notebook and a cell phone, is able to do work wherever he is. Final factor is the development of computer technologies. Today, it is not a problem to put a home-computer, modem, video camera, use e-mail, Web, videoconferencing and organize a distance office. In this way people become self-sufficient and “white-collar” occupations move away to the past. In America many companies, having no opportunity to go into expense on agency opening in every notable city, tend to create virtual agencies. In this case, the representatives of the company get on-line orders from local clients and check their fulfillment. The products are delivered by post. One more type of renovated office is known as executive suite, which is suitable for small firms that want to avoid additional costs and staff employment.

Each company has its own patterns of work, which ensure effective fulfillment of working functions. Basically, in America a person, engaged in processing and analysis of information, works 1-3 days a week. In the course of time the possibility of absolute removal of traditional 8 working hours a day and traditional office setting becomes more and more real. It is likely to be substituted by different kinds of flexible working hours.

Time will show how people will move forward in this direction. Computerized office of future approaches humanity at a rapid speed. It is clearly seen, that we move very fast, offices change, along with the job of “white collars”, which, of course, is likely to bring social, psychological and economic consequences. Development of high technologies means not only new machinery, but also revolution in the structure of human interrelations and their roles in an office. At first it will substitute secretary’s function, later it will probably make printing unnecessary, and people will send voice messages. Some computer experts hope, that a secretary, for example, will be promoted to a more highly-paid job, while the administrator will partly do everyday printing work, until printing will be excluded, anyway.
This is a free research paper on Computer Technology topic. Keep in mind that all free research project samples and research paper examples are taken from open sources – they are plagiarized and cannot be used as your own research project. If you need a qualitative custom research project on Computer Technology for college, university, Master's or PhD degree – you are welcome to contact professional research writing company to have your paper written online by academic research writers.

________________Enjoy our custom research paper writing service!__________________