Electronic technology has redefined workplace possibilities. Employees in E-organizations are no longer constrained by time or place in doing their work.But what are the implications of these e-orgs to interpersonal relationships?
There is substantive evidence that people generally are spending more time online today than just a few years ago. For instances, in 1997, the mean time people spent online was 4.4 hours per week. In 1999, it was 7.6 hours. In 2000, it was predicted to be 8.2 hours. There is also preliminary evidence from a recent Stanford University study indicating that the more time people spend online, the less time they spend in real-life relationships with friends and family. About one quarter of regular Web users report that they now are spending less time attending social activities and talking on the phone to their friends and family; and thirteen percent reported reduced face-to- face social interactions. One of the Stanford studyâ€™s co-authors, in fact, expressed concern that the Internet could become the ultimate isolating technology, promoting individual behavior over community involvement.
Itâ€™s far too early in the development of the digital age to conclude that the Internet will undermine a sense of social community. But it clearly creates new ways to interact with work colleagues. Employees will increasingly be working on teams with people theyâ€™ve never met and may never meet. They will develop office friendships with people thousands of miles away and good interpersonal skills. It may increasingly mean not only the ability to interact effectively with people face-to-face, but may include the skills to communicate warmth motion, trust, and leadership through written words on a computer screen.