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They also lamented the fact that where they lived, there were no more veterans of that war left. They felt alone and isolated, but this chat room was a forum where they fit in again. They were able to share similar interests and experiences. Perhaps overcoming a sense of isolation is one of the greatest features of online communities and virtual worlds. Someone might feel like an outcast in her own community or family but might find someone online with similar hobbies, pursuits, and interests. Consider someone who enjoys photography as a serious leisure pursuit.

This person would be able to share that passion with people all over the world by using the Internet and its powerful tools e-mail, video chat, discussion boards, online video, family Web sites. However, simply sharing common interests and pursuits with people through technology does not necessarily have a positive impact on social skills and social development.

Gaming is an instance where you may encounter potentially serious social setbacks. I lead a group of Boy Scouts who share a love of a certain online virtual world game. This game seems to be all they talk about. When given other opportunities for deep, respectful, meaningful conversation, these boys are sometimes rather inept. Although linking their online gaming to poor social skills might be spurious, studies show negative social impacts of some video games.

One study tested whether high exposure to video games increased aggression over time. It was found that playing violent video games is a significant risk factor for later physical aggression in both Japan and the United States—for boys and girls Anderson et al. However, linking video games to poor social skills and behaviors often misses the bigger picture. People might participate in other activities take football, for example in which the social problems that arise from the activity may be the same or even worse than those of gaming.

Evidently it is not enough to simply blame the medium. In fact, in many instances, gaming may aid in relationship building. Since my family received a Wii as a gift, we have spent countless hours of enjoyment playing together. Naturally, overindulgence in this one activity would have deleterious results, but the limited time we do spend playing together seems to strengthen our family.

Television is another technology that has mixed reviews with regard to social skills and social lives. Some researchers suggest that spending a limited amount of time watching wholesome programs can strengthen families and friendships. Others believe that television contributes to the downfall of social values in this country. It does seem that many people spend less time with others in their community than they do with the people they watch daily on television. Television tends to be a passive medium, which requires little skill and thought on our part although some programming bucks this trend.

Therefore, television provides little opportunity for meaningful interaction while watching. Watchers simply sit there and ingest what is presented to them without having to respond or react to another person. For example, exposure to television shows with sexual content may increase the chance of teen pregnancy see figure 8. Furthermore, when some people see violence, sex, and all manner of lasciviousness on television, they may be prone to mimic the behavior and think that it is acceptable.

It is apparent that technology has the potential to harm or enhance your social skills and social life. The key is to analyze how technology affects you socially. Do technologies help you build positive, meaningful relationships, or do technologies hinder this process? Are you better able to communicate, listen, and share because of the technologies in your life? Do you use technologies to improve your relationships and build new ones?

Are you letting a few choice people know who you are and what you contribute to this world, or are you merely distracting yourself with shallow pursuits? Does technology increase or decrease your concern for others, your compassion for others, and your desire to serve them? Such are the critical questions regarding technology and social development. Learn more about Dimensions of Leisure for Life. Get the latest news, special offers, and updates on authors and products. About Our Products. Career Opportunities. Connect with Us. Please Sign In or Create an Account. Active Aging.

Social Studies in Sport and Physical Activity. Athletic Training, Therapy, and Rehabilitation. Adopting a Textbook. Continuing Education Center. Technology can have positive and negative impact on social interactions This is an excerpt from Dimensions of Leisure for Life by Human Kinetics. Gaming and Social Development Gaming is an instance where you may encounter potentially serious social setbacks. Television and Social Development Television is another technology that has mixed reviews with regard to social skills and social lives.

Print this page. Coaching and Officiating. Fitness and Health. Health Care in Exercise and Sport. Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation. Health Care for Special Conditions. Massage Therapy. Health Education. History of Sport. Motor Behavior. Philosophy of Sport. Physical Activity and Health. Physiology of Sport and Exercise. Psychology of Sport and Exercise. Research Methods, Measurement, and Evaluation. Sociology of Sport. Nutrition and Healthy Eating.

Physical Education. Recreation and Leisure. Sport Management and Sport Business. Sports and Activities. Strength Training and Conditioning. My e-Products. Video on Demand. Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology. International Journal of Golf Science. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity. Journal of Applied Biomechanics. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology.

Journal of Physical Activity and Health. Journal of Motor Learning and Development. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology. Interview questions were finalised after three pilot interviews, which allowed the researcher to gather valuable information on the expected data from each question, as well as the opportunity to refine the questions Hill et al. Four standard questions were posed in every interview, followed by probing and follow-up questions:. Prior to the interviews, the researcher contacted the participants to schedule an appointment at their convenience.

The participants were informed beforehand that the content of the interview will be kept confidential and will only be used for purposes of research. Moreover, before the interview commenced, the participants were made aware of the research objective and was provided a brief background on the research to help them grasp the context. The participants were also informed of the process which the interview will follow and were given the opportunity to ask questions, if any.

All participants were required to sign an informed consent form together with completing a biographical questionnaire. Finally, the participants were informed that they had the right to withdraw from the interview or the research at any time.


With the consent of the participants, the interviews were tape-recorded and stored on a secured server to which only the researcher had access. To ensure confidentiality, the recordings, notes, and completed forms were stored in a safe place. A list of the participants was created in which each participant was allocated a number. Throughout the research, the corresponding number of a particular participant was used to store the relevant forms, recordings, and data. Mays mention that although there is no easy solution to limit the likelihood of errors in qualitative research, there are methods to improve the validity of the data and mentions various approaches.

In line with the approach of respondent validity Barbour, , the researcher contacted a random sample of participants to verify the findings. For the purpose of clear exposition of methods used, the research furthermore clearly outlines the process and procedures followed as part of data collection and analysis. Focusing on reflexivity and relativism Mays, , the researcher avoided any bias, particularly from his own perception of the phenomenon. Throughout the data analysis, the researcher discussed and explored with the co-coder possible contradicting elements to the explanation of ICT.

In addition, the researcher provided credibility by adopting appropriate research methods and using random sampling and debriefing sessions with his superiors Shenton, Furthermore, to ensure transferability and dependability Shenton, , detailed descriptions and in-depth methodological descriptions of the phenomenon in question were provided. To ensure conformability, the researcher was aware of his own beliefs and assumptions and recognised the shortcomings within the current study Shenton, The verbatim transcribed interviews along with the field notes were analysed through thematic analysis.

The six phases of thematic analysis of Braun and Clarke are discussed. They include familiarising yourself with the data, generating initial codes, searching for themes, reviewing themes, defining and naming themes, and producing the report. Phase 1: Familiarising yourself with the data: The researchers began the analysis by firstly reading through the transcribed interviews whilst listening to the recordings to ensure that they were fully familiar with the data Maree, Phase 2: Generating initial codes: The first author developed initial codes, while the second author acted as co-coder during this process.

Phase 3: Searching for themes: After codes were identified, the first author and co-coder began to categorise corresponding topics into themes. For this study, five themes emerged. Phase 4: Reviewing themes: The first author and co-coder used the notes and categorised items from the first interview to guide the process whilst coding the second interview. This process continued throughout the coding of all 25 interviews and is known as the constant comparative method Wagner et al. Phase 5: Defining and naming themes: The first author and co-coder then extracted all the notes, including the original text for the notes, and stored each topic in a separate file to use for analysis.

This allowed the researcher a holistic view of a specific topic from all 25 interviews. Phase 6: Producing the report: The topics were refined further by the authors whilst working through the combined notes on a specific topic. The authors investigated each topic that was extracted along with its original text, after which the topics were categorised into themes.

Based on the rich data received from the interviews, four main themes were extracted which were further subdivided into smaller sub-themes. The four main themes were reported through illustrative material such as figures and tables. The use of illustrative material such as figures was employed to ensure that the reader kept track of the flow of data as the researcher intended Wagner et al. It was evident from the analysis that most participants experience the increase in their productivity and efficiency as positive.

This does not only apply to their work but also outside their work context. Participants would often mention that their ICT devices allow them to work faster and to multi-task, but still maintain a high quality standard of work:. As far as quality is concerned I do not have any doubts that it had a tremendous impact. Participants further mentioned that their use of ICT increased their availability to both their organisation and clients, and provided them with easy access to work documents and the system.

This is mentioned in this response:. I am never away from my work basically. Participants also indicated that ICT allowed them to save time by eliminating travel to meet clients as they could provide their services through ICT systems such as e-mail and Skype. One participant, a medical sales representative for the Africa and Middle East, mentioned that without his ICT he would not be able to cater to so many countries as his job required:.

Other participants added that ICT allowed them to establish and maintain virtual offices, especially between towns, which enabled managers to stay constantly in contact with employees at both offices, as well as with clients from various towns. Participants further indicated that, outside of the work context, ICT allowed them to easily reach and stay in touch with family members. Most of the participants also indicated that their ICT allows them to stay in contact with family members living abroad.

Interestingly, although the positive experiences almost outweighed the negative ones, participants do sometimes experience the use of ICT as negative. Subsequently Theme 2, the negative experience of ICT both at work and outside the work context are discussed and summarised in Table 2. In this sample, participants experienced increased pressure due to ICT usage as negative within their work domain.

Various participants explained this as follows: ICT allows them to be more efficient, productive, and available, as mentioned in Theme 1; therefore, it also increases their work demands. The reason is clear: they are enabled to perform more work tasks in less time, thus being more productive. Participants mentioned further that employees would often use their ICT at work as a convenient excuse , in order to avoid confrontational conversations.

On the contrary, one participant did, however, explain that when dealing with confrontational situations over e-mail, using ICT allowed him to reconsider what he wanted to say before he sent the mail. The following illustrates the negative aspect of ICT:. From the analyses it also seemed that ICT compromised the chain of command or hierarchy at work.

Various participants explained that ICT made it easy to communicate with any of their co-workers when requesting assistance with a task, even though that person did not report to them directly. According to participants, from the perspective of a manager, such easier general communication makes it difficult to prioritise certain tasks for their subordinates, seeing that they constantly receive tasks from other managers or co-workers.

Furthermore, participants stated that ICT usage creates a distraction. Although most participants indicated this as a negative experience outside the work context, some did mention that ICT also creates distraction at work. One participant specifically highlighted the distraction of his device linked to his work emails. When using the device in his personal environment for personal reasons, the notification of a work e-mail distracts him and he ends up checking the e-mail that came through on his device. This caused him to lose track of time and the ITC interfered with his work-life interaction.

One participant also mentioned interference by their ICT, not necessarily because it distracts them but in general they would often find themselves spending more time as intended on their devices:. Participants also pointed out that the use of ICT devices to communicate led to decreased face-to-face communication, seeing that it is currently much easier and more convenient to communicate with someone using instant messaging applications such as SameTime and Skype, even if the discussants are in the same office building.

Interestingly, one participant mentioned that he purposively avoids using instant messaging applications to communicate with people within his proximity. He rather actively tries to have face-to-face conversations with people, seeing that he experienced the loss of such direct communication as negative. Very much related to the above mentioned negative experiences regarding the use of ICT, participants also mentioned the dependability which comes with ICT usage as summarised in Table 3. From the analyses, it was evident that the role of ICT was also evident in terms of dependability and the negative effect thereof.

One of the most interesting findings was that ICT changed the norm of availability. In the past, people were not expected to be reachable continually by both their family and their employer. The following response illustrates this situation well with the participant expressing her concern when she has difficulty reaching her husband on his mobile phone:. The usage of ICT also brought the aspects of addiction and dependability to the front, where employees become so dependent and addicted to their ICT that it may become almost problematic with negative effects, as illustrated below:.

I think to a big degree it is more for social networks, people on Facebook and Twitter and BBM and those type of things, so it is very traumatic for a person to be without his phone. This theme is summarised in Table 4.

Table 4 expounds the increased expectations caused by using ICT devices. Participants deemed it a positive side of ICT that it provides access and creates availability for interaction. Nevertheless, a number of participants mentioned that this also created an expectation, as mentioned previously, that they must respond to communications immediately:. He wants an answer because he knows you have received it.

It has increased the pace of life enormously — the working life. The participants also alluded to the fact that advancements in technology also brought about an expectation of higher productivity. Finally, the participants pointed out that ICT created the expectation that people should always be available to their family, friends, and employer. It was mentioned previously that ICT created the expectations of reaching family and friends more easily. However, some participants experienced the opposite: In the same way they expect family and friends to be reachable, they are also expected to be more reachable and available themselves to their family, friends, and their employer.

One participant mentioned a specific occurrence where a co-worker expected her to be available for work over a weekend, which created conflict within their relationship as well as with her family. Table 5 elaborates on Theme 4 further. Most participants indicated that they experience the role of ICT on their relationships as positive, due to the following gains: it allows them to establish and maintain relationships, enables communication, creates more productive relationships, and increases their frequency of communication.

On the negative side, the analysis indicated that ICT usage decreases the need for interaction, takes away time from relationships, and inhibits the intimacy of conversations. The most mentioned role of ICT on relationships is the ability to maintain personal relationships , especially across geographical boundaries:.

One participant specifically mentioned that, when he attended his high school reunion, he found he had no topics to discuss with old friends. He was already aware of developments in their lives through the mentioned social-media sites. An interesting sub-theme identified was the trend of a decrease in personal conversations and the intimacy of conversations.

Although ICT increased the frequency of communication and allowed for quicker and more direct to-the-point communication, the downside was that the need to interact and the intimacy of conversation decreased. Almost suggesting that as the quantity of communication increased, the quality of conversations decreased. It is interesting to note that one participant did not view this decrease as negative. She explained that younger generations are used to communicate with ICT, which has almost become the norm.

She continued by pointing out: with ICT one is able at least to have a conversation with someone, even though one has to make use of ICT devices, whereas without ICT such a conversation might not have taken place. The general objective of this study was to determine the impact ICT has on the work and personal lives of employees.

Although some of the findings are supported by previous research, the present research still contributed unique findings to literature on the role of ICT. One unique finding from this research was the overall positive experiences of ICT outweighing the negative experiences. The participants experienced the role of ICT to be more positive than negative. Although previous research studies on this topic Casey, ; Kakabadse et al. The most mentioned positive experience of ICT, both at work and outside the work context, was the increased productivity and efficiency which ICT devices provided employees which support the findings of Cardona, Kretschmer and Strobel Participants also mentioned that ICT increases their availability to their employer, clients, and their family members.

This condition, however, results in employers and clients expecting employees to be more productive. Tarafdar et al. The various options for communication with others also save time. Some participants explained that because they are able to communicate and share information with others through ICT, it eliminates travel time. Apart from saving time, ICT also saves costs for employees. This was particularly relevant for employees when using ICT outside their work domain. Participants mentioned that ICT provides cheaper alternatives to communicate through applications such as WhatsApp, which is less costly than a traditional text message.

Besides providing a cheaper option for communication, ICT also allows employees to stay in touch with family members across geographical boundaries. Employees mentioned that they are able to communicate with distant family members, and still be part of their lives, through applications such as Skype. Ljung and Wahlforss mention that Skype does not limit individuals to telephone-like conversations but enables interaction in a more face-to-face manner.

Regarding the negative role of ICT, the most dominant experience was the increased pressure brought about by these devices. One unique finding of the present research is the negative experience of ICT compromising the chain of command in organisations. Employees, particularly those in managerial positions, mentioned that ICT makes it difficult for them to manage their subordinates and departments. They continued to explain that ICT allows employees within the organisation to allocate tasks more easily to their subordinates without their knowledge. As one participant to the present research mentioned, it is human nature to want to check these notifications.

Employees would initially just want to check the notification but would end up answering multiple mails, a task that could take up to an hour. Employees mentioned a total dependency on ICT, especially for work, to such an extent where they became addicted to their ICT devices. In many instances, this dependency is to such a degree that employees rely heavily on ICT devices to complete simple day-to-day activities and work assignments.

Some employees indicated that they rarely leave their homes without their devices. This is particularly relevant for their mobile phones. The degree to which individuals become addicted to their phones is clearly illustrated by Walsh et al. The availability and access provided by ICT devices also changed the norm of accessibility.

Individuals are nowadays expected to be available throughout to both their employer and family, seeing that ICT allows them this scope of accessibility. Not only did the norm of accessibility change, but ICT also created renewed expectations of employees to be more productive. Employees mentioned that although a positive experience of ICT is increased efficiency, the adoption of ITC overstretches expectations of increasing productivity.

Along with the expectation to be available throughout, they are also required to respond to messages in a shorter timespan than in the past. The syndrome of such overstretched expectations of increased productivity and continuous accessibility is known as technostress Tarafdar et al. Findings suggest that although ICT increases the frequency of communication between individuals, it decreased the quality of conversations.

ICT helps employees to establish and maintain new relationships, particularly across geographical boundaries. Employees also mentioned that ICT helped them to build more productive relationships. By using ICT, employees found that they were more efficient in their communication and were able to provide information to their co-workers quicker and easier.

Although previous literature indicates an increase in work productivity by using ICT Kamaruzzaman et al. Employees mentioned that ICT allowed them to communicate easily and quickly with others, saving them time. It is evident that an organisation should be aware of the impact of ICT on their employees and should strive to implement policies and procedures to assist their employees in managing the impact of ICT. As the present research highlighted the issue of increased expectations brought about by ICT, organisations should be aware of the expectancy from managers to reach their subordinates outside normal working hours which can become problematic.

Employees may view such contact as infringement on their privacy as it provides managers with power outside the work environment. Managers should be realistic in their expectations of their employees. The present research is, however, not without certain limitations. Using interviews meant the researchers relied on self-reported data as source of information. Although self-report data is a research method commonly used in behavioural research, researchers should be aware of its limitations i.

In addition, this research only investigated the employees themselves and did not extend the unit of analysis to include the households of the employees esp.

To optimise human-technology-interaction with cognitive ergonomics

Additional information could have been gathered, especially concerning the type of ICT devices the participants utilised. Future research could specifically investigate the relationship between the degree of ICT adoption — both by the employee and the organisation. A possible suggestion would be a comparative study between organisations with high degree of ICT use and those whose employees show less ICT use. A comparative research can also be done on the differences between employees using one device against those using multiple devices.

The focus can be on differences in 1 their WLI, 2 the decrease in face-to-face communication, and 3 their dependency on ICT. The trend the current research identified according to which ICT increases the frequency of communication but decreases the quality of conversations could also be investigated in more detail. This could be done by focusing research particularly on the influence ICT usage exerts on communication between employees and their co-workers, as well as with family members.

Organisations can implement a code of conduct or provide guidelines to try and eliminate intrusive and excessive use of ICT, specifically after working hours. Also, organisations should consider implementing a hierarchical policy with regard to ICT to ensure the correct communication channels are followed for instructions and tasks regarding employees.

As mentioned by the participants, particularly the managers, ICT compromised the hierarchy of an organisation and made it difficult to manage their subordinates. It was evident from the data that the role of ICT was predominantly experienced as positive, although some negative influences were also experienced. Participants also indicated a degree of dependency on ICT to complete everyday work and family tasks. The research highlighted that employees should make a conscious decision in managing their ICT to decrease the negative influence thereof on their domains.

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