Smart Phones And Employee Productivity Information Technology Essay
|✅ Paper Type: Free Essay||✅ Subject: Information Technology|
|✅ Wordcount: 5485 words||✅ Published: 1st Jan 2015|
The smart-phone everyone spoke about at the recent Mobile World Congress, the biggest annual event of the mobile industry, which took place in Barcelona from the 14th to the 17th of February 2011, was the one on the LG booth. The LG 3D Optimus was the first phone with a screen capable of displaying 3D images with no need to wear special glasses (Technotes blog, Le Figaro, February 14th 2011). This recent technological breakthrough, however, represents an incremental innovation to an industry that didn’t develop that recently. In fact, the first smart-phone, so to say, which was called IBM Simon and represented a fax machine, mobile phone, pager and PDA all in one, was invented by a joint venture between IBM and BellSouth back in1992 and was first showcased at COMDEX, the computer and technology trade show in Las Vegas (USA Today, November 23rd 1992). This one was both costly and heavy, but it was a beginning. It was not before another decade that smart-phones became small and powerful enough to be widely used (PC Magazine). Introduced in 2002, and due to its focus on e-mail, the BlackBerry became the popular, corporate smart-phone, amassing a huge audience over the years. But it was in 2008 that the iPhone 3G S and application platform changed the industry forever and combined with the BlackBerry and Android, smart-phones have taken mobile computing to a whole new level (PC Magazine).
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According to Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT), the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company, “worldwide mobile device sales to end users totaled 1.6 billion units in 2010, a 31.8 percent increase from 2009”. By contrast, Gartner says, “smart-phone sales to end users were up 72.1 percent from 2009 and accounted for 19 percent of total mobile communications device sales in 2010.” This unprecedented growth of smart-phone sales, even though they remain a minority within the total sales of mobile devices, clearly shows that there is a growing trend towards the usage of smart-phones worldwide as a technology.
Surely, this is true of smart-phones altogether, whether they are used on an individual basis, for personal use, or professionally. But an important fact is that more and more companies nowadays use using smart-phones in order to gain a competitive edge. A number of publications outline the advantages firms see in providing their employees with smart-phones. But there is an equally numerous record of articles outlining some of the drawbacks and / or precautionary measures involved with or that should be taken by businesses wishing to successfully implement smart-phone use among their employees.
In its special report on the smart systems from November 2010, The Economist reminded the idea of the two worlds, the real one and its digital reflection, the fomer full of sensors, “picking up everything from movement to smell”, and the latter “an edifice built of software”, taking in all the information and automatically acting on it. As the reputed business magazine puts it: “If a door opens in the real world, so does its virtual equivalent. If the temperature in the room with the open door falls below a certain level, the digital world automatically turns on the heat.” The publication suggests that a similar vision enlightened David Gelernter, a professor of computer science at Yale University, a vision he shared in “Mirror Worlds”, his book published in the early 1990s. “You will look into a computer screen and see reality,” David Gelenter predicted. “Some part of your world-the town you live in, the company you work for, your school system, the city hospital-will hang there in a sharp colour image, abstract but recognisable, moving subtly in a thousand places” (The Economist, Nov 2010).
Even though there is no standard definition, the term smart-phone usually refers to a mobile phone enhanced with computer technology, including e-mail, Internet access, and the ability to create and edit documents (Luttenegger,2010). The definition of a smart-phone from the reputed PC Magazine encyclopedia is the following: “a cellular telephone with built-in applications and Internet access”. The same magazine says that “smart-phones provide digital voice service as well as text messaging, e-mail, Web browsing, still and video cameras, MP3 player and video viewing”. It equally mentions that in addition to their built-in functions, smart-phones can run myriad applications, turning the once single-minded cell-phone into a mobile computer.” The Oxford English language online dictionary itself defines a smart-phone in the following way: “a mobile phone which incorporates a palmtop computer or PDA.” Here comes the question, and justifiably so, of what a palmtop computer as well as a PDA is. The world’s most trusted dictionary refers to the former as “computer small and light enough to be held in one hand” and to the latter as a “palmtop computer that functions as a personal organizer but also provides email and Internet access”. PDA, an abbreviation coined in the 1990s according to the same Oxford dictionary, stands for personal digital assistant.
As we previously understood, there are several types of smart-phones, but if we exclude the Nirvana-Phones (newest version of smart-phones) they could be brought down to three big categories, namely Androids, Blackberries and iPhones. Basically, it is technology that changes and we shall proceed to outlining some major differences between those technologies, without going into too much technical details, which is not the purpose of the present management research paper.
While having these information is important in order to understand the current landscape of the smartphone. However much might be said to define the smart-phone industry and to isolate different segments within it, the main purpose of the present research is not to deal with smart-phones taken separately from business reality, but, on the contrary, to address an issue which is closely linked to smart-phones, but is not smart-phones themselves. This is, simply put, the issue of the professional usage of smart-phones and their implications for both businesses and employees. We shall further define the terms of employee productivity and employee well-being.
Well being and motivation
Human Resources will be the thread of the study, we will focus and observe the human in companies through the use of Smartphone. Before going further let’s have a quick understanding of how human resources evolved nowadays. Then we will define two important concepts that we will follow during the all study: well being and motivation in companies.
For years, the employment relationship was related to a merchantil contract, a simple lease service. After the Second World War that the relationship becomes a relationship of exchange: an agreement whereby a person undertakes to do its work for another person, dependent on which it occurs and in exchange of a remuneration.
In the ’60s, the relationship is paternalistic, employer provides employment to employees, he promised lifetime employment in exchange for his loyalty and commitment. Employees who wish to do careers in the same company can do it, with a salary rising according to seniority.
The 70 and 80’s mark the end of this paternalistic relationship. It’s the end of lifetime employment, career climb and regular wage increases. In an increasingly competitive environment, companies are more focused on performance and results, this is the begining of globalization. Social plans, layoffs and restructuring affect the trust and loyalty of employees towards their employers. The employers no longer have any scruple about firing their employees, even the most caring in their work and committed to their companies for several years. According to the sociologist Morning Carnoy, employees become “an individual minimum outsourced in a flexible network”. Employees discovered the end of protection for their jobs today and they entered in a form of insecure employment.
To keep its most skilled employees, the company must be able to better respond to their employes’s requests. Especially ethical. This implies the respect of a particular set of behavioral norms in the rigor and transparency in the implementation of company policies. But organizational ethics also requires special attention to its employees. Companies must therefore develop a triple methodology: develop stimulating factors to commit the employee to the organization, promote corporate culture oriented ethics, better manage the psychological contract. Then the concept of “well being” in companies find its sense. We Are focusing nowsdays more about the comfort of the employee. According to Wikipedia, well-being is ‘a condition that affects the health, pleasure, self-realization, and harmony with oneself and others. It is a combination of pleasures and an absence of pain, and a maximization of general welfare.’ Work is the place where we spend the majority of our life. For many people, work becomes the central point of the quest for identity, the creation of meaning and personal fulfillment. Thus, we must be aware that employee’s well being is to be a need for each employee.
The second important factor that will have a direct impact on a business is the motivation of the employees. Motivation is the driving force which make us achieving goals, either to obtain what we lust for, either to get away from a threat.
To define clearly the concept of motivation let’s take the theory of Herzberg. Frederick Herzberg defines an intrinsic and an extrinsic form of motivation with some factors which will directly impact the job satisfaction. He distinguished between: motivators which will give a satifaction (recognition, challenging work..) and hygiene factors which will not motivate but can provide demotivation if absent (salary, statut, security..). Herzberg’s theory has found application in occupational fields as information systems.
M. Denis Ouimet, consultant in HR and author of ” Les dynamiques de la personne ” at Éditions de l’homme will give us another definition, net value. He defines four kind of motivation: The motivation through imagination, the motivation through emotion, the motivation through reason and the motivation through action.
An employee driven by imagination will be looking for challenges in a dynamic environment, where the communication and information take a really important aspect. Someone listening to his feelings will be looking for boost and trust. An analytical person, driven by reason will be more looking for security, structure and fairness. To finish, an employee motivated by action will be looking for conquests and negotiations.
Then it is important to take into account the personality of each individual to keep the motivation alive. Each of these motivations has a different degree of importance for each person.
After defining these two important concepts, well being and motivation, let’s come to a primary concept for companies: Productivity.
Productivity comes as a first concern in any business. Generally speaking, productivity measures the efficiency of a process to transform incoming factors into a result. It is linked with the most basic concept of performance. In this sense, as we speak about productivity on the micro level, it is related with the two concepts we defined earlier. Thus motivation and well being can also have an impact on productivity.
Productivity is defined as the ratio between production and all or part of the resources used to achieve it. Production is the amount of goods and services produced. The resources used (production factors) include labor, capital, energy, raw materials, etc.
Another ration can be used. For example, if the work is measured in hours worked, productivity will be equal to the ratio between the amount produced over time (one day a week a year) and the total number of hours worked by employees during this period.
One more ratio will be calculated by dividing the value of goods produced (turnover) by the cost of labor. The first ratio gives the actual productivity, which measures the relationship between two physical quantities. The second provides financial productivity. Combining the two ratios calculated at different times, shows the degradation or increase in the share of employees in the distribution of the product firms.
The objective of the current research paper
Given those preliminary considerations, and namely the importance of employee productivity, well-being and motivation for company growth and ultimately the economy and broader society, with regard to company / professional use of ICT and more specifically smart-phone professional use as a basis for company growth and development, we would like to examine in the current research paper the following statement: “There is a positive link between professional smart-phone use and employee motivation, well-being and productivity in the case of Dubai’s Events Management Industry. “
The fundamental question to which this research paper will attempt to provide an empirical answer is the following:
“Is Professional Smartphone Use a Source of Employee Productivity, Well-being and Motivation in the case of Dubai’s Events Management Industry?”
In order to provide an answer to this question, we shall proceed to a literature review that shall examine the state of existing ideas on Smartphone in general, especially in Dubai, where the study will takes place (1), and, the concepts of Productivity, Well-being and Motivation with relation to smartphones (2).
Towards Understanding the Effects of Smartphone Use on Employee Productivity, Well-being and Motivation
No study having been made to our knowledge to investigate the effects of smart-phone use on employee productivity, well-being and motivation in the case of Dubai’s events management industry, we have proceeded to making one, dividing in two separate times our research efforts. First, we have proceeded by attempting to acknowledge on ICT and, more specifically, smart-phone. We have also concentrated on Dubai, in order to show the managerial importance of the cultural, political, social and technological differences of this part of the world, to more clearly outline the pros and cons as far as professional smart-phone use is concerned. Second, we acknowledge the state of scholarly knowledge on ICT-based and smart-phone-based employee productivity, well-being and motivation. This thesis is specifically targeted on the benefits and drawbacks of smart-phones in the concrete case of Dubai’s events management industry.
Smartphone in Dubai
Given the specifities of the Gulf Region, from a political, economic, social, cultural and technological perspective, it is important to situate the current research paper in the context of the country, which is the object of its study, namely the United Arab Emirates, and more precisely the city of Dubai, particularly known for its technological advancement and progress in recent years. Substantial research has already been written on those specifities, particularly with regard to Smartphone. It is therefore our duty to give an as exhaustive as possible account of what has been previously written on the matter, in order to comfortably proceed at later stage, during our empiric study, with the industry we have chosen to investigate – Dubai’s event management industry.
Having a look at smart-phones’ industry should definitely help to understand what we are talking about and what exactly the aforementioned unprecedented growth in recent years accounts for.
Until the introduction of the iPhone, cellular telephony and the Internet were essentially separate. The Internet was a PC-based service, while mobile telephony was conducted on a telephone. Though there were mobile products that provided communication services such as email, web access and other Internet services were either unavailable or inferior to those available on a PC. The “smartphone” category redefined by Apple meant the convergence of traditional mobile telephony, Internet services, and personal computing. As these sectors merge into a single device, formerly separate industry architectures and their constituent firms are being forced into direct competition.
There is a growing trend of competition between smart-phones and traditional phones, or, as they are called, feature phones. Though this question is really interesting in itself, it is not the object of the present research paper. It might well be discussed further in a separate piece of research. This is mainly because we shall consider in the present research the links between the professional use of smartphones and employee productivity, well-being and motivation.
Let us now have a closer look at the smart-phone industry itself. It basically includes several types of competitors with different technologies, but the major ones are the following: Blackberries, Androids and iPhones. The operating systems, such as Nokia and Palm/HP, come from the mobile phone and personal digital assistant (PDA) industries, while other operating systems such as Apple and Google come from the personal com-puting and Internet worlds.
According to Martin Kenney in “Structuring the Smartphone Industry”, by the end of 2007, Symbian was the OS for approximately 65% of all smartphones, compared to 12% for Windows and 6.5% for the iPhone. Nokia alone held about 53% of the global smartphone market.
As the dominant manufacturer, Nokia was entirely aware of the coming convergence of the Internet and the mobile phone.
Still according to Martin Kenney, in 1998 Nokia decided to join Ericsson and Motorola, and the English firm Psion, these three-largest handset makers to create a new company that would develop a smartphone with specific operating system, Symbian, and with which they would freely license to handset makers. The strategy of Nokia was to create a common standard that would eliminate competitors. According to Martin Kenney, Nokia captured approximately 31% of the smartphone handset market. And in June 2008, Nokia bought control of Symbian and began distributing its operating system as open source soft-ware, before announcing in 2010 that the most advanced Nokia smartphones would no longer run Symbian, but instead a new OS called Meego. Based on Linux and managed in part by the Linux Foundation, Meego is probably the most open of all the current smartphone operating systems.
Apple was the first entrant on the mobile market by introducing the Apple iPhone in 2007. It has been a revolution in the mobile phone industry, a complete innovation. It provided a functional web browser.
Google has a quite different strategy and business model, as it is initially an advertising and Internet services firm. When Google entered the mobile Internet they had to acquire an operating system. They bought the mobile software firm Android in 2007 and created an industry consortium.
Microsoft (Windows Phone)
Aware of the emergence of mobile computer, Microsoft wanted to integrate these new devices into its Windows CE franchise. Microsoft introduced Windows CE operating system, which evolved into Windows Mobile, and finally the Windows Phone OS. However they haven’t managed to develop a similar dominance with what they previously did with PCs. Indeed, their initial target was their PDA licence and they didn’t have their own Smartphone OS.
The Palm WebOS offering for smart phones was introduced in 2009. But rapidly lost market share to Apple and Android. Palm WebOS never had significant market share outside North America.
Gulf States and Dubai
Arab states of the Persian Gulf, located in Middle East, represents the six Arab monarchical states: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman. These countries are part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The estimated population of this Arabian Peninsula in 2010 according to Wikipedia is 77,983,936, and the majority of the population lives in Saudi Arabia.
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This part of the Middle East plays a critical geopolitical role. Indeed these Gulf States produce about one-fifth of the total world oil production. They have more than half of the world’s oil reserves. This has raised their per capita incomes to higher than those of their neighbors. To meet the labor shortages they host large numbers of temporary non-citizen economic migrants from South Asia (mostly Indians) and Southeast Asia. The wealthiest countries in the region, economically, are UAE and Saudi Arabia. The region also has an active construction sector, with many cities reflecting the wealth generated by the oil industry.
The most spoken topic these last few months was probably the political stability in these countries. Indeed virulent protests involving hundreds of deaths have developed in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and also begun in Bahrain and Yemen. In a quest for democracy and as a revenge of the last corrupted political systems, these revolutions in middle East mark a new step in history.
However all six of these Gulf States are hereditary monarchies with limited political representation. Only Bahrain and Kuwait have legislatures with popularly elected members. Speaking about a revolution in UAE is completely of topic. Let me now speak more about UAE where the study will take place.
The United Arab Emirates is a federation of seven states, termed emirates (because they are ruled by emirs), which are Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. The capital and second-largest city is Abu Dhabi, which is also the country’s center of political, industrial and cultural activities. According to Wkipedia, in 2010, the UAE’s population was estimated at 4,975,593. However, 20% of the population are UAE nationals or Emiratis, while the majority of the population are expatriates.
Based on various socioeconomic indicators such as GDP per capita, energy consumption per capita, and the HDI, the United Arab Emirates has rapidly diversified, and developed the economy. At $270 billion in 2008, the GDP of the UAE ranks 38th in the world, according to Wikipedia. Although the UAE is less dependent on natural resources as a source of revenue, petroleum and natural gas exports still play a major role in the economy, especially in Abu Dhabi. More than 85% of the UAE’s economy was based on the exports of natural resources in 2009. However UAE imports also a lot of goods.
Then, as a growing and healthy economy, and with a population of expat of 80%, it is hard to envisage a protest happening in UAE. The locals have a very high level of living and businesses are mainly run by expatriates.
Dubai is one of the seven emirates of the UAE and currently the emirate’s model of business. Dubai’s economy was built on the oil industry. Its main revenues are now from tourism, real estate, and financial services; it is very similar to western countries. With many innovative large scope construction projects and sports events, Dubai has attracted world attention. Especially with ‘Burj Khalifa”, the highest tower of the World, Dubai wants to impress the world with its tallest skyscrapers and largest projects. However, attention has also highlighted labour rights and human rights issues concerning its largely South Asian workforce, especially in construction area. Although Dubai’s economy was built on the back of the oil industry, real estate and construction, trade and financial services are the largest contributors to Dubai’s economy. Dubai’s oil reserves have diminished significantly, revenues from oil and natural gas currently account for less than 6% of the emirate’s revenues.
Tourism is an important part of the Dubai government’s strategy. Tourism is based mainly on shopping. but also on its possession of other ancient and modern attractions. In 2007, according to Wikipedia, Dubai was the 8th most visited city of the world.
Smart phones in Dubai
As Dubai is nowadays a new business city, with 80% of expat working here, the way of life is quite different from other cities of the world. Majority of the population came there only to work, left their own countries and family to focus on their job. So Dubai is a city where things are happening very fast in terms of business. Then, to make things happen quickly in a business, communication is the key element.
II – The Links between ICT and Smartphone Use in the Workplace and Employee Productivity, Well-being and Motivation
Management Research on ICT, particularly after the 1990s, has established a number of links between the development and growing global importance of ICT, on the one hand, and employee productivity, well-being and motivation, on the other. Those numerous empirical research papers, together with textbooks, but also a growing number of in-print or online articles, be they multi-country comparisons or outlining regional differences the workplace
ICT, Smart-phones and Productivity Literature
Before venturing into the complicated macroeconomic landscape of the links between ICT and productivity, we shall first have a closer look at the relative importance of other factors influencing per employee productivity.
“The factors affecting labour productivity or the performance of individual work roles are of broadly the same type as those that affect the performance of manufacturing firms as a whole. They include: (1) physical-organic, location, and technological factors; (2) cultural belief-value and individual attitudinal, motivational and behavioural factors; (3) international influences – e.g. levels of innovativeness and efficiency on the part of the owners and managers of inward investing foreign companies; (4) managerial-organizational and wider economic and political-legal environments; (5) levels of flexibility in internal labour markets and the organization of work activities – e.g. the presence or absence of traditional craft demarcation lines and barriers to occupational entry; and (6) individual rewards and payment systems, and the effectiveness of personnel managers and others in recruiting, training, communicating with, and performance-motivating employees on the basis of pay and other incentives. The emergence of computers has been noted as a significant factor in increasing labor productivity in the late 1990’s, by some, and as an insignificant factor by others, such as R.J. Gordon. Although computers have existed for most of the 20th century, some economic researchers have noted a lag in productivity growth caused by computers that didn’t come until the late 1990’s.”
On a macroeconomic level, a number of researchers have tried to identify connections and relations between ICT and employee productivity. It has been done on a country, regional or on a multi-country level, for both developed and developing countries, and in a variety of different ways. In a nutshell, research on the topic has been substantial.
Sophia Dimelis and Sotiris Papaioannou have established a comparative analysis concenrning ICT and its effects on productivity growth, outlining differences between the developed and the developing world. According to Dimelis et al. (20??), when it comes to the relationship between ICT and growth or productivity, the empirical research up to the early 1990s did not find evidence suggesting a significant impact of ICT on productivity or growth. They further reveal, however, that evidence more recently provided by Daveri (2002) and Colecchia and Schreyer (2002) indicates that the growth contribution from ICT capital rose significantly, during the 1990s, not only in the United States but in several EU and OECD countries alike. Moreover, other empirical evidence confirms that ICT had a significant impact on labor productivity growth in the United States and the EU alike and accounted at least for a share of the acceleration in Total Factor Productivity (TFP) growth, which was witnessed in the United States during the late 1990s (Jorgenson and Stiroh, 2000; Van Ark et al, 2003). Jorgenson and Vu (2005) further advocate that IT investment positively contributed to growth in all regions of the world during the period 1989-2003, more specifically in the industrialized world as well as the developing Asia. In spite of the somewhat less degree of scholarly consensus among the economists when it comes to the impact ICT has on technical progress and TFP growth (Gordon 2000), the findings of Stiroh (2002) reveal ICT is correlated with labor productivity growth. However, they don’t suggest to any correlation with TFP growth as far as US manufacturing industries are concerned. Nevertheless, O’Mahony and Vecchi (2003) provide us with empirical evidence which favors a positive and substantial impact of ICT on TFP in the long run. Those results have been obtained using a sample of both UK and US industries.
There are basically two methods in which the way Information and Communication Technology influence per-employee productivity can be measured: productivity per employee could be studied through the determinants of its growth rate or through those of its level, by means of a more structural approach (Belorgey et al., 2004). The same group of researchers conclude, basing their findings, albeit their proper research, on findings by Gust and Marquez (2002) that ICT have a positive and, which is more, significant impact on both levels of productivity and growth rates of productivity (Belorgey et al., 2004). In spite of the fact that their sample of countries is larger than that of Gust and Marquez, Belorgey et al. come to similar conclusions as the former, using a different mathematical method, the Generalised method of moments (GMM) approach instead of the ordinary least squares approach (OLS) used by Gust and Marquez. In their research, Belorgey et al. also discover that employment rate and productivity boast a significant negative relationship, with productivity declining when employment level rises. This is explained by the fact that employment is usually concentrated on the most productive members of the workforce.
Having said this, and out of these findings, we may emit our first hypothesis:
H1: ICT and, by extension, smart-phones have a significant positive impact on productivity levels and growth
Another aspect of smart-phone advantages is the fact that they can be a means of inter-colleague communication, sometimes enabling people to deliver faster results to clients, or, else, better coordinate between staff members of a company. As we have previously seen, this is particularly true of a place like Dubai, mostly composed of foreign workers who have abandoned family and motherland to concentrate on their work and are entitled to fast results, in a particularly demanding atmosphere.
According to (â€¦), modern workforce, especially when it involves mobile workers that often do their duties via the Internet and mobile communications, the so-called e-workers, has boasted an ever increasing demand for new wireless and mobile technologies. Those enable the herd of the e-workers to easily establish contact among each other, with clients, but also within and between organisations. Constantly on the go, events management professsionals are definitely not an exception to the scenario described above. However, we shall see in detail how they respond to ICT and smartphone technology in the case of Dubai in the next part of this research with our empirical study.
Our purpose at present is to outline some more characteristics of smartphone use in the workplace, namely with regard to the collaboration evoked above. (â€¦â€¦.), referrring to a study made among sixteen companies based in Germany concern
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