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Monthly Archives: April 2013

 

The lessons learned and developed over this course began with an overview of Thomas Friedman’s analysis of globalization in the 21st century.  The discussion of Friedman’s ideas of a flattening world encouraged me to think deeper in to how technological advancements, governments, businesses and even people work closer even though they are spread apart all over the world.  This lesson also introduced a contrasting view by Florida (2005) who suggests that the world is not flat it is just leveled (p. 48).  He suggests that where areas of population spike demonstrates where more people have access to newer technologies as opposed to flat areas where people may have been left behind due to lack of opportunities in newer technology.  These perspectives helped me to relate this to my own job and how we use technology to communicate to other parts of the world.  This has made the business of education more effective, flexible, and communicative. 

 

The second part of this class enabled me to research and learn about a new online tool.  I chose PBworks because it is a tool that I was able to implement in my work.  As an educator, PBworks enables users to collaborate online, share files, and manage projects.  This was an especially interesting tool to learn about because PBworks also offers a platform for knowledge management systems (KMS).  This can be useful in learning environments because it holds information that students or employees can access if they have questions about processes, online learning, subject matter, human resources, educational financing, etc.

 

The triple convergence discussion helped me to understand the idea of globalization 3.0.  The idea of Freidman’s concept of The Triple Convergence and the relation it has to knowledge management has enabled users to develop horizontal collaboration systems.  These systems help users to share, provide, represent, and distribute information across many platforms. The use of social networks is a great example of this and is used in many universities across the United States.

 

One of the most interesting lessons of this class discussed how the nature of work is changing due to the web.  Although the web has changed the way we learn in educational settings with the use of online teaching formats with a more student-centered approach, educational institutions must also stay abreast of this changing environment.  Learning and discussing the implications of how the web changes within education has helped me to reflect a bit deeper within the scope of my role and propose better solutions.  One example of how the web has changed the nature of education is a new initiative called Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment (SMILE) “turns a traditional classroom into a highly interactive learning environment by engaging students in critical reasoning and problem solving while enabling them to generate, share, and evaluate multimedia-rich inquiries” (Stanford, 2012).

 

In this class, we were able to discuss the pros and cons of the free Internet. Here I learned that although the Internet provides many capabilities to networked workers, there are still many challenges that face businesses. Internet security threat, reliability, and privacy issues name a few.

 

Another lesson that was learned in this class was how employees misuse the Internet.  Many employees utilize the Internet for personal reasons and it is up to the organization to develop policies and procedures so that these employees are aware of the organizational guidelines. As stated in my previous blog post, According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) (2012), states that of the HR professionals that participated in the survey state that 40% state they have a formal social media policy in their organizations. (Society for Human Resource Management, 2012).   This will be helpful to initiate in my current organization. 

 

Finally, adapting to emerging technologies is critical to any organization.  Leaders must stay current with new technological trends.  In order to do so organizations should continue to purchase the new software so that they are always up to date.  There are also implications to these new emerging technologies, one of the biggest to note is the fact that the technology is changing faster than we can keep up with it.

 

Overall, this was a wonderful course and as noted previously, each of these subjects can help me in my current field.  Leaders should understand how and when technology and the web change, know how to choose the best technology that fits the purpose of the goal, remain ethical when using technology, and purchase and use the most recent technology so that you aren’t left behind.  In a nut shell, these are all ways to continue to maintain a thoughtful perspective on technology in leadership. 

 

Florida, R. (2005).  The world in numbers: The world is spiky globalization has changed the economic field, but hasn’t leveled it.  The Atlantic Monthly

 

Freidman, T. (2007). The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century.  New York, New York:  Picador

 

 

 

Stanford University (2012). Office of Innovation &Technology. SMILE: Stanford Mobile Inquiry-Based Learning Environment. Retrieved: http://gse-it.stanford.edu/research/project/smile

Society for Human Resource Management, SHRM Research Spotlight: Social Media in Business Strategy and Operations. Shedding Light on the Business of HR. 2012 Retrieved: http://www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Documents/Part_4_Social_Media_Flier.pdf

 

 

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Kevin Kelly, founding executive editor of Wired magazine, describes six verbs that are shaping the future of the Internet: screening, interacting, sharing, flowing, accessing, and generating.  Kelly’s assessment of emerging technology provides us a window into what our world will look like in the future and how we must stay current and adapt as this technology changes.  Technological trends are not only providing a more productive solution for business or increasing the speed in which individuals can meet ever day goals, they are expanding the use of how we utilize data, increasing the rates in which share and interact socially, physically, and mentally, and most importantly transforming our human culture.  Kelly uses the example of how people are using data in every day life by sharing information.  He notes, we share real-time data about our healthy habits, location, activities, health statistics, and weight. When speaking about sharing and how it relates to the future of the Internet, Kelly (2011) states, “part of the adventure now is to imagine things that are not being shared now and how they can be shared”. This is the mindset of the future.

As technology continues to establish new grounds at an increasing pace, staying current and adapting to these exponential changes are critical. Organizations can implement many best practices to their repertoire in order to remain fluid in the knowledge and practice of technology.  According to an article posted on Six Sigma Online (2012), in order “to survive in the modern business world, business executives should try to purchase and use the latest software and hardware they can find and afford” (Six Sigma Online, 2012).  The continuous use of the modern technology in daily practice can help to keep employees educated and improve the ways in which organizations attempt to adopt these emerging technologies.  As leaders we should be involved in continuing education efforts and at the same time train our employees on these same emerging technologies.  First, however, we must articulate the value of these new advances and design processes in order to evaluate and implement them.

With the convergence of applications, data, screens, and social media brings many new implications within a networked environment.  In the modern world, we broadcast our lives to others freely and openly without considering any consequences.  By doing so, opens ourselves up to a host of privacy issues. Although there are ways to maintain anonymity, more and more users are becoming comfortable with sharing information about oneself without hesitation.

Another implication to emerging technology is that technology is changing faster than individuals can adapt.  We see this mostly in organizations where there is a lack of financial investment in training employees for these changes, purchasing updated software and products, and the unwillingness to take risk and adopt new ideas.  The organizations that are up to date in their technological practices have found ways to deliver and infuse the new technology to their employees.  However, these same organizations find it difficult to diffuse new innovations, so the time it takes to shift one gear the second gear is already in motion.

References:

Kelly, K. (2011). Web 2.0 Expo. Retrieved :http://www.web2expo.com/webexsf2011/public/schedule/detail/19292

Six Sigma (2012). Stay Current with Modern Technology. Retrieved: http://www.sixsigmaonline.org/six-sigma-training-certification-information/stay-current-with-modern-technology.html

Employees who misuse the Internet during work hours have become an increasing concern for many organizations. According to a survey conducted by salary.com, 64% of the survey participants said they visit non-work related websites every day during their working hours (salary.com, 2012). Misusing the Internet during working hours brings a host of ethical and productivity issues, and because of this, many organizations attempt to minimize unethical behavior that is a result of inappropriate use of the Internet in the workplace.  The following blog post will discuss social media as one of the biggest areas of misuse of the web in the workplace and will provide a brief discussion what organizations can do to help this situation.

Many organizations have different ideas of what is considered inappropriate use of the Internet. Some of the major types of behaviors that organizations consider to be unethical and unacceptable Internet use include the following; (1) checking news headlines, (2) the use of personal email, (3) banking online, (4) playing games, and (5) checking the stock market to be some of the most common uses.  However, many organizations require that employees use resources and websites on the Internet to help the organization market their products. Some organizations even encourage the use of social media to engage in networking, staying abreast of work-related topics, continuing education, and to participate in online conferences. Contrary to this, many organizations also discourage employees that engage in this type of behavior in fear of loss of production and security breaches.  Whatever the case may be, organizations should ensure that proper policies are in place so that employees are less likely to inappropriately use the Internet. 

Social media has become a major part of communication in business and many organizations have opted to set standards for policy making of the use of social media at work.  Social media plays a critical part in the way organizations market their products, interact with customers outside of the organization, manage teams, and hire employees.  Some organizations have gone as far as implementing a formal social media policy.  According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) (2012), states that of the HR professionals that participated in the survey state that 40% state they have a formal social media policy in their organizations. (Society for Human Resource Management, 2012).   These statistics show that there is a growing response to the need for such policies and organizations are recognizing the ethical and productivity implications that are involved in cyberloafing. 

 

Creating policies and procedures for the proper use of Internet use is critical to employers that wish to enforce ethical behavior.  In a recent article in Forbes, the author states that “establishing and enforcing policies should improve productivity but can also increase the security of company information, the security of company technical assets (computers), and will potentially reduce the liability associated with issues related to sexual harassment or employee job performance” (Forbes, 2012).  However, in many cases, enforcing policies within organizations for Internet use can only stop some the unethical practices.   Many employees bring their own devices such as iPhones, IPads, Nooks, and many other small portable devices to the workplace. Many organizations are encouraging this new FAD of bringing in your own device, which is known as BYOD (Henshell, 2013).  This can pose many other ethical issues that organizations should consider when managing, implementing, and enforcing such policies.  According to Henshell and author for the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy (2013), the BYOD initiative “is despised by IT departments because it presents security and support problems” (Henshell, 2013). 

Organizations that encourage the use of these devices should implement standards to determine ethical considerations.  First, they should define what is considered ethical.  Is it considered unethical for employees to make a personal phone call from their person device while at work?  Or is it unethical to check Facebook or Twitter updates from their own device during working hours? We know that visiting offensive sites are unacceptable, but where do we draw the line? Employers should divide these categories or levels of misuse and organize them in way that they can implement effective policies.  Henshell (2013), suggests “inoffensive non-work-related usage of technology devices can be divided into two categories: personal business and play, also called ‘cyberloafing’” (Henshell, 2013).  The main point here, is that it will vary based on the organization. 

Forbes (2013). Employees Really Do Waste Time at Work. Retrieved: http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2012/07/17/employees-really-do-waste-time-at-work/

Henshell, J. (2013). Center for Digital Ethics & Policiy. Cyberloafing, BYOD, and the ethics of using technology devices at work. Retrieved: http://digitalethics.org/essays/cyberloafing-byod-ethics-technology-at-work/

Salary.com (2012).  Wasting Time at Work 2012. Retrieved:

http://www.salary.com/wasting-time-at-work-2012/slide/2/

Society for Human Resource Management, SHRM Research Spotlight: Social Media in Business Strategy and Operations. Shedding Light on the Business of HR. 2012 Retrieved: http://www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Documents/Part_4_Social_Media_Flier.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interactivity, convenience, speed, organization, and efficiency describe only some of the opportunities that networked workers bring to an organization.  The ability to virtually communicate with anyone around the world can foster strong working relationships, promote the ability for businesses to conduct negotiations and agreements, and enable organizations to promote their products easily and efficiently.

Although the Internet has advanced the capabilities of networked workers within an organization, there are also many challenges that are associated with workers that use the Internet to conduct business.  Communication is a fundamental practice with any business type. When dealing with business communications across the globe, networked workers may find there are many cultural differences that may affect their interactions with other networked workers.   Many business dealings require workers from different areas of the world to discuss complex product specifications and in many circumstances these communications must be mutually understood.  When they are not, complications in negotiations and agreements may be problematic.  For example,

Additionally, the rise in available resources on the Internet has enabled workers to expand their knowledge about a particular subject.  If fact, many organizations use the Internet to research topics to help them become more effective.  A study conducted for nonprofit organizations concludes that “utilizing available Internet tools is quickly becoming necessary for an NPO’s survival” (Miller, 2010 p.47).  However, networked workers must be cautious of the reliability of information that is available to them.  The endless use of blogging and social networking is overloaded with both reliable and unreliable sources of information and workers must choose the source of information wisely.    

More specifically, in the business of education, more public and private universities have adopted non-traditional methods to learning that include distant-learning programs.  Online learning allows students to attend classes, interact in discussions, and take online assessments from anywhere in the world.  Although this is convenient for the learner, it poses many concerns with some online educators.  Because online assessment is much easier to access and educators can not watch students work or take tests, this presents many concerns for educators. Some may claim that because of these factors, students are much more likely to cheat. 

Perhaps one of the most profound challenges that are associated to networked workers is an Internet security threat.  Many organizations attempt to use secure networks by using anit-virus, firewalls, and anti-spyware.  However, many organizations still face security risks that target and breach many high-profile data of large corporations.  According to the 2010/2011 Computer Crime and Security Survey, 41.6% of the respondents within organizations say they have experienced a security incident (CSI Computer Crime and Security Survey, 2011/12).  Although this number shows that most respondents do not experience security threats, this is still an issue within organizations. 

Overall, the Internet has many benefits when used by networked workers within organizations. The resources on the Internet have enabled users to connect globally, increase productivity, and provide an efficient way to conduct business.  Although, there are many benefits, risks do exist.  Organizations and networked workers should be educated on these risks and act appropriately. 

References:

Computer Security Institute. Computer Crime and Security Survey. (2011/2012). Retrieved: https://cours.etsmtl.ca/log619/documents/divers/CSIsurvey2010.pdf

Miller, D., (2010), Nonprofit Organizations and the Emerging Potential of Social Media and Internet Resources. Volume 6, Issue Article 4.