IT Revolutionizing Business: Impact of High-Speed Internet & ICTs

Published: 2022-12-27
IT Revolutionizing Business: Impact of High-Speed Internet & ICTs
Type of paper:  Case study
Categories:  Culture Communication Technology
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1729 words
15 min read

The proliferation of Information Technology (IT) has revolutionized the present-day businesses. The existence of high-speed internet, and sophisticated computers, in particular, has dramatically changed how people view the world. Currently, a large number of countries and cultures can access the World Wide Web, high-speed internet and different forms of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs). People have integrated IT into their lives and therefore suggests that it is an integral component of their daily practices. It has enhanced the exchange of information, establishment of social relationships and interpersonal communication, to mention a few. It is worth noting in this perspective that the modes of information technology bind to culture and people's way of life. Therefore, IT has significant impacts on societal and organizational culture. Culture shapes the acceptance of IT at a society level and from a corporate point of view. Information technology has facilitated the exchange of cultures as people from different parts of the world interact through its applications.

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Information technology has made life easier besides shaping how people view the world. As such, it is argued that the applications of IT are nearly inevitable in the modern world. It has enhanced communication, business, telecommunication, transport, healthcare, defense and so on. Consequently, different societies have experienced the emergence of new social behaviors, norms, and cultural values surrounding IT (Salehan, Kim & Lee, 2018). The previous researchers, however, have studied "culture" as a critical construct that enables managers to control their organizations effectively. Several studies in the literature explore the topic to understand the essence of the relationship between technology and culture. Such studies are in consensus that every culture whether national or organizational is different. Accordingly, not all forms of information technologies are equally acceptable from cultural perspectives (Al-Gahtani, Hubona & Wang, 2007; Baker, Al-Gahtani & Hubona, 2010). It suggests that the better people understand cultures, the better they can utilize new information technologies to improve the workplace and their underlying applications in modern society.

Status of Research on the Impacts of IT on Culture

A significant proportion of research in the literature explores the connection between organizational culture and information technology. This aspect suggests that many studies have not explicitly explored the societal culture and its relation to technology. The reason behind this situation is that many researchers view societal culture as "persistent, stable, and difficult to change." (Leidner & Kayworth, 2006, p 370). These studies support an argument that there are little chances for possible cultural changes associated with information technology. However, the research that study this phenomenon treat the construct of culture either as a moderating or independent variable.

While recent researchers have addressed this gap, many of their studies focus on the cultures of the Middle East and Arabian countries such as Saudi Arabia. The point, in this case, is that countries in the Middle East are conservative with their cultures. Accordingly, their societies and businesses cannot reflect the influence of IT on their cultures. Such studies, however, support an argument that the existing values and norms significantly determine a cross-cultural implementation of information technology. Straub (2001) found that the social behavior of technology users in cultures that design and develop IT (donors) are clear and valid, in contrast to their counterparts in the recipient cultures. The study further indicates that information technology is symbolic and its effects are subject to cultural interpretations.

The previous research has pointed out deficiencies in the study of how IT is shaping culture. While researchers acknowledge that the study of such impacts is essential, it has faced criticism for lacking specific theories. In other words, previous studies do not link the effects of information technology on cultures with particular theories. The latter is required for three primary reasons. First, a theory is necessary to provide general predictions that can be tested. Secondly, research on IT needs projects that theoretically explore the relationship instead of presenting detailed results. Thirdly, a theory is necessary to improve communication between researchers who intend to study the topic. The point, in this perspective, is that theory provides a standard language that researchers can employ to describe complex subjects. Another criticism is that such studies narrow their scope of the research to computers, technology, and design methods without adequately investigating the people factors that use IT (Nord et al., 2007). This aspect explains why recent studies have incorporated the theories of organizational behavior in the study of the effects of IT on cultures.

Effects of IT on Culture

At a corporate level, information technology has shaped the elements of organizational culture. Some of these aspects are the values of the organization, practices, mission, organizational climate, and strategic objectives. With a rapid spread of IT, it is no doubt that both profit and not-for-profit making organizations are nurturing technology-oriented corporate cultures. For instance, managers are encouraging cultures on the use of information technology to implement every-day activities. The objective, in this case, is to enable the employees to explore their potentials in the use of IT for the benefit of the organization.

The Kroger Company is a typical organization that information technology has shaped its culture. Kroger, in this case, is a chain of retail business in the United States. The company focus on the applications of information technology ranging from inventory management, the supply chain, and proving its customers with personalized food inspiration. The objective of the company is to create value for the customers and the shareholders through better use of IT. Also, Kroger is determined to improve the lives of its customers through the application of technologies to come up with innovative approaches to business (Kroger, 2019). Kroger is using IT to transform the workplace by linking different groups of stakeholders. From this perspective, it is evident that the proliferation of information technology has impacted on organizational culture by shaping the way managers and employee view the essence of the IT. Information technology, therefore, is an integral part of the workplace that is shaping the culture of the organization in implementing its strategic goals and objectives.

Information technology has influenced the manager style, a critical component of organizational culture. The literature describes the manager style as a specific way of performing tasks in the organization (Sehanovic & Etinger, 2013). Information technology, in this case, has direct impacts on manager style as part of the organizational culture. The effects of IT on the culture of an organization are reflected in different ways - for instance, the development of cooperative leadership and the disappearance of traditional methods of controlling the workforce. Currently, the applications of IT provides the managers with detailed information that is critical in managing the employees in the workplace. For example, it offers attendance records of the employees to replace the traditional technique where the managers physically controlled them. This explanation, therefore, supports an argument that information technology has changed the cultures of the workplace at an organizational level.

In the case of the Kroger Company, it is argued that IT has positive impacts on the culture of the organization. The implementation of information technology infrastructure, in particular, has changed the organization's social and psychological environment. The aspects that have changed are the underlying assumptions, ways of interacting with the customers, norms, and beliefs. The traditional culture emphasized on the way the organization ought to handle its suppliers and other stakeholders when they are within the organization. The proliferation of information technology changed the landscape of this interaction. Currently, the managers, focus on nurturing a culture that encourages the employees to interact with information technology as a strategy to enhance creativity and innovation at the workplace.

Besides the impacts of technology on organizational culture, there is evidence in the literature that it also affects societal culture. Some of the cultural changes in society are attributed to the effects of information technology. Maghrabi and Palvia (2012) researched on how rapid spread of technologies has affected cultures of Saudi Arabia. The researcher, in this case, collected qualitative data by interviewing IT users who had an adequate understanding of cultures before and after the spread of information technology in the past two decades. The study involved six interviewees of which 6 were women whereas 4 were men. Also, the respondents had adequate knowledge in information technology with qualifications in higher education. The research design, therefore, enhanced the reliability and the validity of the study in exploring how IT has changed the landscape of different cultures.

Information technology has altered cultural norms, values, and social behaviors in society. The research indicates that IT has the potential to change social practices, values, and rules among users. The most apparent effects are that it has empowered the women to create change in their societies. In the Middle East, for instance, the cultures of the conservative nations are gradually changing owing to the rapid spread of different applications of information technology. The role of women is changing as people use advanced technologies. IT has exposed the residents to the rest of the world. As people access the internet, they start embracing other cultures that include dressing code, eating habits and beliefs. Consequently, the culture of the region is gradually changing as people use IT to access information from other parts of the world.

Information technology has eroded cultures and norms on the establishment of social relationships in society. Maghrabi and Palvia (2012) noted that the countries in the Middle East initially had societal rules that did not allow locals to create social relationships with strangers. With the proliferation of information technology, the region has experienced changes in its culture, especially attitude towards strangers. IT has improved the openness of the society, the nature of rules and the norms that governed social relationships. Accordingly, the applications of information technology have enhanced social relationships by connecting people globally. With the existence of sophisticated technologies, people currently view the world as a social entity. This aspect has improved the exchange of ideas, information, and other social elements.

IT has impacted on the exchange of cultures between people from different regions of the world. The existence of computers and smartphone technologies, for instance, has opened the globe where people interact and create social relationships (Zakaria, Stanton & SarkarBarney, 2003). In this case, it is argued that information technology has revolutionized communication across the world. It has brought together people from the Western nations and the conservatives from the East. This aspect has led to the exchange of cultures globally. The conservative societies in the East, for instance, have started...

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