COMPUTER NETWORK AND CHANGE OF OPERATION
Recently, the number of offices that have introduced computer network systems has increased. The main purpose of introducing local area network(LAN) is to increase levels of productivity and creativity. This may be achieved through more efficient sharing, collection and dissemination of information. A computer network is merely a means, however, and it does not necessarily guarantee that creativity will be enhanced. To motivate employees to exercise their creativity, supervisors must fully understand how a computer network will affect or change work operations and adapt their own activities accordingly.
The effect that a computer network has on work operations and how supervisors should react are outlined below.
1 Information Is Easily and Speedily Accessible by Every Level of Employee.
Before the introduction of computer network systems, information concerning important policies was conveyed downwards from the Director General to the Division Director, the Director to the Unit Chief and the Chief to rest of the members of staff. Details about everyday operations were relayed in reverse. Information flew along hierarchical ranks "from top to bottom" or "from bottom to top".
Within this process, supervisors could control the flow of information in their organization. It was entirely up to them whether or not to convey information in either direction. When passing information on, they could integrate their own comments. All too often, supervisors tried to maintain a level of superiority over their staff by controlling the flow of information.
Computer networks may change all this. The information flow here is from individual to individual beyond any boundary of rank. Officials at the top are able to convey their ideas to every member of staff and receive direct feedback in response. Each employee may send comments directly to top officials without being obstructed by their supervisor. Employees may also exchange information and opinions with others across ranks and organizations through the electric mail system.
When employees communicate through computer networks, they tend to be less inhibited about saying directly what they actually think. Employees need a lot of courage to contradict the views of top executives or majority opinion at a meeting. On computer networks, where people can't actually see each other face to face, employees are less hesitant to express their opinions. In addition to this, writing is very different than verbal expression. It is likely to be more logical and straightforward with little preamble or drifting.
(The Role of Supervisors)
・Supervisors must recognize that their role is to analyze and add value to information, not to control the information flow itself.
・In exchanging information and opinions through a computer network, logic may be conveyed efficiently but sentiment, on the other hand, is difficult to gauge. Employees must be made aware that face-to-face communication is equally important.
・Supervisors must understand that this exchange of information and opinions across ranks and beyond organizations will, in itself, produce fresh ideas. They are expected to support this free communication and provide employees with maximum authority to exchange opinions with people outside the organization.