Managing New Office Technology: An Organizational Strategy

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Simon and Schuster, 1983 - Business & Economics - 196 pages
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"The first book to combine in one account the technical and social aspects of office organization."
Eric Trist

The new electronic office technology has been much praised for the increased speed, precision, and memory capacities it offers office management. But do these improvements mean increased productivity? Not by themselves, says Calvin Pava. Equally important to the high performance of office work will be its organization -- not only of clerical support personnel and equipment, but of management and staff professionals.

This book is the first to define the organizational challenge posed to management by new office technology. Calvin Pava breaks the myth that these are simple issues for technical solution alone. Based on research conducted at the Harvard Business School, "Managing New Office Technology" takes a method of organization design with a proven track record in industrial settings, and shows how this organizational self-analysis and self-directed change can be applied successfully to offices. Using "sociotechnical design" -- a method that takes into account both the technology and structure of work -- Pava shows how changes in an office's organization can lead to more satisfying and productive results. The goal -- and the proven achievement -- of "sociotechnical design" is to organize people, work, and their tools so their efforts are efficiently complementary.

At the core of "Managing New Office Technology" are three detailed case studies that show the principles of "sociotechnical design" at work. These examples of the planning, designing, and implementing of organizational change in an order processing customer service department, a computer systemsfirm, and a payroll department, show step by step how to apply the procedure across a broad range of different activities.

Unlike other books on the subject, which deal principally with clerical work and show little interest in bridging the gap between theory and application, "Managing New Office Technology" extends to address "the work of management and staff professionals," and shows "how reorganizing is done." Moreover, recognizing that outside interests have a stake in the effects of technological development in offices, Pava provides a framework for addressing the concerns of such groups as displaced professionals, minorities, middle managers, clerical support staff, old workers, young workers, and organized labor. A glossary of terms and an afterword by Eric Trist, originator of the sociotechnical approach, round out this long-awaited work.

For managers concerned about astute deployment of new office technology and for those who are also anxious about the larger implications for society of the growth of automation in offices, Calvin Pava's "Managing New Office Technology" will be required reading.


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Sociotechnical Design Its Contribution
Sociotechnical Design for the Office
Routine Office Work
Nonroutine Office Work
Mixed Routine and Nonroutine Office Work 222
Stakeholders of the Future 245

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Page 182 - EMERY, FE, AND THORSRUD, E. (1964). Form and Content in Industrial Democracy. Oslo: Oslo University Press. (1976). Democracy at Work: The Report of the Norwegian Industrial Democracy Program. Leiden: Nijhoff. EMERY, FE, AND TRIST, EL (1960). "Socio-technical Systems.
Page 187 - Job Design Criteria Twenty Years Later." In Design of Jobs, edited by LE Davis and JC Taylor. Santa Monica: Goodyear. THOMPSON, GF (1966). "Managerial Work Roles and Relationships,

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About the author (1983)

Currently an Assistant Professor at the Harvard Business School, Calvin Para holds a Ph.D. in Systems Science from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and is a former Assistant Professor of Telecommunications at New York University. He is also an independent consultant in organization design and planning with a diverse clientele that includes both users and vendors of advanced information systems.

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