Information Technology and Human Communication Problem in the Workplace





Information Technology and Human Communication Problem in the Workplace


The sole purpose of the report was to address the problems related to information technology and human communications in the workplace. Human interaction at the workplace was observed to go hand-in-hand with information technology systems. The use of technology for communication purposes was viewed as a very important way of personnel management in the workplace. A lot of focus in the past was laid on the human–computer interface at the work place and therefore it was important to focus on the much-neglected effects of information technology systems on the human interaction at the workplace. The problem observed to originate from this intertwined information technology and human communication was addressed in the report. Recommendations of how a solution to these problems can be found was presented

Problem description

Human communication is a vital tool in any place of work. For success amongst the employees, any employer should take all measures necessary to enhance communication. The development of information technology in the workplace has opened up new ways of communication. Through analysis of the figures of speech used in communication, it is easy to denote the variances between human and technological communication. The problems relating to human communication are mostly within the circle of human relations. Wherever there is a communications problem, one is bound to find a human relation problem too. They are in most cases attributed to the interaction of people as they go with their time-to-time adjustments towards others in their various activities of living. The biggest problem in the joint information technology and human communication is the ethical disputes.

Facts about the problem

The significance of ethics in any workplace becomes dependent on the information systems. The impact of unethical behaviors can cause great damage to the organization and to those that rely on the organization. The readily available access to information systems might tempt the workers in an organization to engage in unethical behavior. The availability of technology can give an organization access to a person’s data without his or her consent. In the same sense, technology has enabled many people to pirate copyrighted works of others. Companies too are likely to fall into this pitfall when their systems are hacked and accessed without their knowledge thereby exposing their information to the outside world.

Development in any society is almost impossible without the aspect of good communication. Communication and development are closely inter-related hence no development can occur without communication. New age application of technology has changed the society and the organizational structure in which employees in any given workplace do their jobs. The change that the information technology brings about lays in the technology itself and has simplified most technological needs to just the click of a button (Mills 9).  Modern communication tools have affected in a great way the management in work places. In the same way, the improvement in the development of the workplace by the information technology systems makes communication swift and simplified. As the society develops, the use of technology in handling information in a more sophisticated place because new and older technologies can be used together (Nakpodia and Okiemute 39).

Nakpodia and Okiemute (39) state that communication is not an inborn skill and ability and therefore it is necessary to develop it. One of the most notable changes of human communication and information technology is the acceptance of the telephone in the workplace. Mills (14) argues that the telephone was not readily accepted when it got introduced, she continues to say that it faced opposition from the stakeholders who were too impatient with the slow development of the technology was so new to the people. Information technology is however, different now in present age and is readily accepted by all. As the organizations seek for effective communication and application of information technology systems, ethical problems are bound to arise.

Effective communication is hence valuable in any work place. Good communication skills are vital and they go beyond plain conversations. Effective workplace communication helps with diversity and reduces barriers. This in turn causes productivity levels to shoot up and decrease errors thereby making operations run smoothly. Other benefits of good communication in a workplace are team-building efforts amongst the employees and the improvement of employee morale because of good communication from the management. In the absence of effective communication, an organization is unlikely to thrive.

Causes of the Problem

Use of information technology systems in the workplace especially in areas of communications often creates a conflict. Technology is created by humans for the humans. Technology nevertheless has unexpected and unintended effects on the humans and can offer purposes contrary to what it was originally created for. Information technology systems cannot exist without humans and it is safe to argue that in the current age, humans cannot exist without technology. The relationship between the two goes in way too deep. Conflicts between the two arise when the human communication and interactions are mostly overtaken by the use of information technology systems. Humans in any given workplace are the superior in the workforce chain since they control most of the activities and view the use of technology as just a subordinate with whom they can substitute their work.

Gripenberg (1) states that it is impossible to imagine a world without e-mails, computer games, mobile phones and ATMs among others. The use of personal computers is no longer limited to only the places of work but can still be used in schools, at home or in public places.

In actual sense, it would be impossible to work in an office that has no internet especially in the current day. In the past, information technology systems had limited appliance and contact on the society. Currently this has since changed and has become a part of nearly every business, workplace or personal activities. Information technology can no longer be ignored and viewed as not important in our day-to-day life. As the demand for information technology increases, the rates of unethical engagements in communication also go high. The conflicts between human communication and information technology are therefore important to address in order to better the chances of better results.

In the past use of information technology systems was only limited to certain industries who were viewed as a segregation of the society whose work involved the application of information technology. The trend however changed as information technology became an industry on its own. This change transformed the world from a manual age to a digitally controlled age. Almost every person on the earth today is exposed to a form of information technology with the developed countries in the lead at this. The more there is exposure to these information technology systems, the more the likeliness of unethical changes in the world. The unethical challenges related to over exposure of information technology include easy access of private sensitive or insensitive information, reversing the engineering of certain programs and hacking. Cyber bullying and harassment of individuals by others are also part of the challenges.

In the current age, it is impossible to determine who is more dependent on the other when comparing humans and information technology systems in the workplace. Gripenberg (24) believes that people and technology are intertwined. In fact, he is of the opinion that technology can be perceived as a form of life in a mock world where technology in its many different forms is responsible for shaping our world. Taken as an intertwined human-ICT relationship, it needs certain approaches that can hold some of the complications and duality involved in this relationship.

Possible Solutions

Using questionnaires on a selected group of respondents, the report presents a number of possible solutions that could be used to address the ethical dilemmas. Problem solving is the manner in which the discrepancies between the actual and desired outcomes are eliminated (Gripenberg 29). The respondents felt that whenever an organization is faced with the task of determining how to deal with an ethical issue, it is very important to understand that the decisions made might crop up consequences. It is therefore important to take responsibility of the results of the situation. For instance, a simple decision to cut the costs on a certain product or service could bring negative impacts to the organization, cost a lot more and even harm the organization’s status. In cases where organizations fail to take up the responsibilities for their actions, it equates to a demoralizing impact on the organization’s future. It is in relevance to how the adage monopoly plus discretion minus accountability equals to corruption goes. When the organizations fail to take their actions critically, it leads to corrupt behaviors from the employees.


Justification for the Recommended Solution

The solution decided upon addresses the ethical problem from all angles. Given below are the principles that justify the solution. When solving ethical problems within an organization, it is important to consider what is likely to harm its reputation. Lawsuits alone are not what to consider as harm to the organization since any other physical damages are also likely to do the same. The reputations of many organizations in the past together with their executives have been damaged because of scandals involving them. When it gets to such a scenario, it leaves the question of who is willing to invest in a company or a firm that is surrounded by unending scandals. This leads to lose of trust from the people. It is therefore essential to know that the organization’s image is part of the loss that the firm can take when found accountable and liable for the unethical decisions they made.

One of the golden rules of ensuring that organizations make better decisions when resolving any unethical issues is doing what they would expect other firms caught in their position to do for them. This simply means that an organization handles the problem in the same prospects it would want another firm to. The organization would definitely not want to put itself into harm from making a decision and therefore cannot put another firm in a position likely to cause damages. Another principle to consider when solving these issues is that if the action cannot be taken repeatedly, them it should no be taken at all. An organization might have made a decision once and gotten away with it but it might cause other problems when taken repetitively. To be on the safe side, it is better to keep away from making such a decision in the present if it is likely to cause problems in the future.

Taking the action that produces the least damage or least potential cost is another principle for organizations to consider when solving their ethical problems. The method also known as the risk aversion involves inspecting all probable decisions and choosing the one with least risks. It is meant to minimize damages to the organization or the employees involved. Another principle for consideration is the ‘no free lunch rule’. The organization should know that nothing is given free and it is always paid for in one way or the other. Therefore, the best thing for an organization is to have in mind that any decision it makes should be without a negative impact or else it will affect somebody. It is very important to avoid this since the person affected negatively by such a decision could be a consumer of the organization’s products and could lead to further damages if he or she badmouths it.

Implementation of the solution

When faced with ethical situations, is essential for the organization to address them in the best ways possible to avoid impending legal battles that would harm it. The intellectual property created by organizations falls under the protection of trade secrets. Organizations dealing with handling of customer information should understand how important it is to protect the privacy of their customers and employees. This can be made possible with the usage of the intellectual property rights. With application of the information technology systems available, software systems have been developed to aid organizations observe the flow of data and make intellectual property protection. The software systems available for this include the Next-Generation Secure Computing Base (NGSCB) and the Enterprise Privacy Authorization Language (EPAL) made by Microsoft and IBM respectively.

These Software applications have made it possible for organizations to monitor and regulate how their employees use the documents and information related to their customers. It helps in ensuring that they behave ethically and keep away from tempting practices that might lead to unethical behavior. Unethical disputes might however come from these software systems. Some software providers may take advantage of the fact that thy hold all the information and abuse their privileges by taking illegal measures.

The best ways to implement these solutions is with software systems such as EPAL and NGSCB as pointed out above. These software programs are an efficient way to protect privacy for customers as well as individuals in the corporation. When the privacy of the customers and employees is protected, no ethical issues are likely to crop up. Organizations can also adopt the principles of the golden rule or the ‘no free lunch rule’ to analyze their decisions to avoid unethical behavior. When organizations are acquainted with ethical behavior in among their employees, they can prevent scandals and legal difficulties that would inflict damages on their reputation.

Conclusively, ethical issues are not hard to define in any organization dealing with the use of information technology. The most important thing for the organization is to determine the best methods of addressing the problems. Any work place that deals with handling of client’s private information should have control all ethical problems that may have risen from human communication or information technology systems. Human communication has to work collaboratively with information technology systems in order to achieve the best communication practices. The code of ethics regulating this is to be observed in order to avoid any problems that would cause damages to the organization.

When the ethical problems occur, the organization should handle and resolve it in a manner that inflicts no harm to its reputation. Lawsuits should be avoided as much as possible since these tend to tarnish the organization’s image and tend to make the customers loose trust in them.


My experience during the developing of this final project

I learnt many things while doing this project from the initial stages to its full completion. Through an extensive research of the from many sources, I got to understand the work place set up in an organization and the way the human communication process is conducted. I learnt that human communication is intertwined with the information technology system and that they depend on each other for any organization to run successfully. The conflicts between the two of them are non-lasting since the two complete each other for the smoother running of an organization.

The problem that I identified which faces the human communication and information technology is the ethical problem. This as I learnt is in most cases caused by the revelation of   private data or documents by employees in an organization. I learnt that there are certain ways in which this can be dealt with following the principles of problem solving. The organization that is faced with the ethical issues has to choose the best principle to apply in order to resolve the problem without causing any more damages to the organization. I also learnt that there are certain software systems that have been developed to counter this ethical problem. These software programs enable the organizations to monitor how the employees deal with the customer’s private information.

I was actually surprised to find out that the software programs that are entrusted with protecting the customer private information are susceptible to making the ethical problems themselves. I was shocked when I realized that the companies that make the programs could manipulate them to protect themselves in case they commit an ethical problem. I believe that I did the report to the best of my capabilities. In case I was given another chance to do the report again, I would probably do an intense research to top what I have already done.

Works cited

Gripenberg, Pernilla. ICT and the Shaping of Society: Exploring Human –ICT Relationships in      Everyday Life. Helsingfors: Edita Prima Ltd, 2005. Print.

Mills, Vanessa. The Effects of Information Technology on Intra-Human Communication in the       Workplace. (n.d). Print.

Nakpodia, E.D and Anho Roselline Okiemute. The Problems of Information and Communication            Technology on Personnel Development in Nigerian Tertiary Institutions. Journal of        Mobile Communications. 5.3. (2011) Print


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