Article Analysis


Article Analysis




Article Analysis

In the article, “Addressing Resistance to Workflow Automation”, Charlene A. Dykman and Charles K. Davis highlight the benefits of incorporating an integrated information system in the office, while limiting the use of manual systems. They discuss the challenges faced by one accounting firm, BestAccountants, PC, which tried to implement paperless system. They also highlight the measures that the company took to overcome the challenges they experienced at the time and the benefits the company realized once it was able to eliminate many of the obstacles it was facing. In addition, they note the potential benefits that are yet to be realized when the workers become more competent in using the system and when the company manages to purchase all the software and hardware applications required for the system to function more effectively.

The authors begin by giving a background of the accounting profession. They note its dependence on paper and manual systems and the obstacles that accounting companies would face if they were to try to implement the paperless system. They note that contrary to popular representation, the term paperless system is misleading, as incorporating technology within the company does not eliminate the use of papers. However, companies that do implement information systems are likely to realize several benefits such as increase in productivity and efficiency, reduction in the costs of printing, copying, and storage, ease in accessing documents, and reduction of risk through the provision of backup systems.

Some of the challenges they identify include financial costs incurred, increased restrictions to documents in an effort to maintain privacy, and ensuring that the employee support the system. In their discussion, some of the challenges they identify may not be so relevant as to hinder the implementation of an information system. For instance, they note that one of the main challenges that the company faces is the decision of what to do with the previous documents they had in their possession before they decided to integrate the system. Such decisions are not major to the extent that the company should delay their implementation of the system. They can be overcome easily if the company takes the time to categorize the documents based on their importance and to provide permanent storage for such documents since they could be required for future use.

In their discussion, the authors highlight some of the factors that may lead to employee resistance and opposition in adopting the new system. They observe that the workers will be less receptive of any new changes introduced during a busy seasons. Change is indeed a difficult thing to do and it is up to the executive to decide how it will best approach the issue. For any change to be successful, employees have to be engaged from the beginning to the end. They have to have the assurance that their jobs are secure. However, most importantly, they should feel confident in using the system after undergoing adequate and efficient training. Once the employees learn how to use the new system, they will be in a position to measure the costs or determine the benefits realized and this will be instrumental in determining whether they will embrace the change.

The authors give a detailed description of the previous system used in the company. They highlight the challenges and the manual nature of the system, and they note how this necessitated the use of a new system. Most of the employees spent more time doing paper work by taping, stapling, and copying the documents. The system was problematic and cumbersome and it had many errors. However, because of the lack of good training, most of the workers were more comfortable with the old system and it took them a long time to get used to, and to accept the new information system.

The authors note that some of the opposition came from the top. Some of the managers were overlooked during training. There is a tendency for the executive to assume that the managers will go along with the changes they implement. They tend to think that the workers will be more resistant to the changes and that the managers will embrace the transformation fully. As the authors note, this can be a costly mistake because the managers will continue to oppose the changes if they do not understand them. Managers are concerned about their work and position within the company. They do not want to face a situation whereby their position within the company is compromised because of the changes. It is important for the executive to have the full support of the management before they introduce the system to the company. The managers relate to the employees more frequently and they will be able to talk them to accept the new changes.

There is a need for the management to ensure that the employees continue receiving the support they need even after the formal training period is over, as this will make the transition smoother. This will ensure that the workers have someone they can consult whenever they are not sure of something. Some of the problems realized after introducing an information system tend to occur later after people have started using the system. Therefore, the trainer should be available some time after implementation has taken place.



Dykman, A. C., & Davis, K. C. (2012). Addressing resistance to workflow automation. Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics, 9(3), 115-122

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