Information technology has radically changed the way organizational members communicate. For example, it has significantly improved a manager’s ability to monitor individual and team performance it has allowed employees to have more complete information to make faster decisions, and it has provided employees more opportunities to collaborate and share information. In addition, information technology has made it possible for people in organizations to be fully accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, regardless of where they are. Employees don’t have to be at their desks with their computers turned on in order to communicate with others in the organization. Three developments information technology appear to have the most significant effect and current managerial communication: networked computer systems, wireless capabilities and knowledge management systems.
What are the Networked communication capabilities?
In a network computer system, an organization links is computer together through compatible hardware and software, creating an integrated organizational network. Organization members can then communicate with each other and at pinot information whether they’re down the hall across town, or anywhere on the global. Although the mechanics of how network systems work are beyond the scope of this book, we’ll address some of its communication applications including e-mail instant messaging, voice mail, fax, electronic data interchange, intranets and extranets and the talking Internet.
E-mail is the instantaneous transmission of messages on computers that are linked together. Messages wait at a receiver’s computer n are read at the receiver’s convenience. E-mail is fast and cheap and can be used to send the same message to many people at the same time. It’s a quick and convenient way for organization members to share information and communicate. E-mail messages may also contain attached files, which enable the receiver to obtain a hard copy of documents.
Some organization members who find e-mail slow and cumbersome are also using instant messaging (IM). This interactive, real time communication takes place among computer users who are logged on to the computer network at the same time. Instant messaging first became popular among teens and preteens who wanted to communicate with their friends online. Now it’s moving to the workplace. With IIMs, whatever information needs to be communicated can be done so instantaneously without waiting for colleagues to read e-mail messages. However, instant messaging is not without its drawbacks. It requires groups of users to be logged on to the organization’s computer network at the same time, which potentially leaves the network open to security breaches.
A voice mail system digitizes a spoken message, transmits it over the network, and stores the message on a disk for the receiver to retrieve later. This capability allows information to be transmitted event though receiver my not be physically present to take the information. Receivers can choose to save the message for future use, delete it, or route it to other parties.
Facsimile or fax machines allow the transmission of documents containing both next and graphics over ordinary telephone lines. As sending fax machine and digitizes the document, a receiving fax machines reads the scanned information ad reproduces it in hard copy form. Information that is best viewed in printed form can be easily and quickly shared by organization members.
Electronic data interchange (EDI) is a way for organizations to exchange business transaction documents such as invoices or purchase orders, using direct computer to computer networks. Organizations often use EDI with vendors, suppliers and customers because it saves time and money. How? Information on transactions is transmitted from one organization’s computer system to another through an inter-organizational telecommunications network. The printing and handling of paper documents at one organization are eliminated as is the inputting of data at the other organization.
Meetings – one on one team divisional or organizations wide – have always been one way to share information. The limitations of technology used to dictate that meetings take place among people in the same physical location. But that’s no longer the case. Teleconferencing allows a group of people to confer simultaneously using telephone or e-mail group communications software. If meeting participants can see each other over video screens the simultaneous conference is called videoconferencing. Work groups large and small which might be in different locations can use these communication network tools to collaborate and share information.
Doing so is often much less expensive than incurring travel costs for bringing members together from several locations. Vodafone, Phillips, Government of India (State Secretariats), Apollo Hospitals through its telemedicine initiative and Satyam Computers make sure of such communication network facilities to save time and cost of travel.