My research paper for Information Technology at Northwood University
The Return on Information Technology
Tom Clifford , Northwood University
November 10, 1995
Table of Contents
The Return on Information Technology
Measuring IT Benefits
How can IT investment pay off?
Information Technology and Organization Design
Observations & Conclusions
Information Technology (IT) is pervasive in our society. Billions of dollars have
been invested in its use since the 1950s. However, the return on investment in IT has
been much debated throughout the 1980s and early 90s. Despite great advances in
computer use and processing power, the benefits of IT spending have not been
statistically demonstrated. Perhaps the statistics do not measure the right things,
such as product/service quality or customer satisfaction, even though measurable
factors such as sales increases and payroll decreases may indicate 'progress'.
Perhaps more importantly, business process restructuring and electronic information
interchange have only recently been implemented in many firms so the jury is still out
on the long-term effects of these changes. Yet evidence does indicate that
gains from IT alone are limited and that business structure and social factors will play a
large part in the influence IT will have on business.
This research paper focuses on the results of studies from the 1980s and '90s
on investment in information technology(IT), the problems related to producing gains from
IT, and strategies employed in the 1990s to realize greater gains from IT.
The Return on Information Technology
Computer use by the business world until the early and mid-1980s was largely
limited to accounting data processing, acting as an electronic ledger. In the 1960s
mainframes had an occasional terminal attached to allow access to a limited few.
The 1970s saw mainframes being supplanted by mini-computers, allowing access to
more people within an organization. However, input, manipulation, and output of data
was still centrally controlled and considered a 'black art'.
With the explosion of micro-computer use in the 1980s by businesses, data
manipulation tools and their use became ubiquitous, and the computer industry boomed.
Many companies have bought into the theory that having a computer on everyone's desk,
connected by networks and having electronic-mail, word-processing and spreadsheet
programs will increase productivity, creativity and thereby, revenues and profits.
Investments in computers and telecommunications now amount to about half
of most large firms' annual capital expenditures. (Keen, 1991, p. 1). Spending on IT
capital is generally regarded as having great potential for enhancing the productivity and
competitiveness of American firms. Although spending has surged in the past decade
(in the 1980s from $55 billion to $190 billion (Keen, 1991, p. 1)), there is surprising little
formal evidence linking it to higher productivity. Bowen (1986, p. 268) quoted Stephen
S. Roach, a senior economist at the investment banking house of Morgan Stanley, as
stating that white-collar productivity stood just about where it was in the late 1960s.
Franke (1987) states that when Watt's coal-fired steam engine was introduced in
1775, it was not until the 1820s, about a half-century later, that substantial increases of
output, productivity, and income resulted. He later states that in the financial industry,
labor productivity rose more slowly after the expansion of computer use in 1958, and
that capital productivity began a steady decline at that point.
Kling (1995) quotes John King: In "Where is the Payoff from Computing?" John
King states that organizations may have not substantially improved their overall productivity
because of their ways of computerizing. And he acknowledges the importance of social
processes as turning computerization towards diverse ends. And he adds an important
analysis of the ways that accounting and reporting organizational activities can confound
our understanding of organizational productivity. But King's special advance lies
in his historical argument about the organizational learning that is required for important
innovations effectively diffuse throughout industrial societies and for numerous managers
and professionals to figure out how to use them effectively. King's argument builds on
the research of historically oriented scholars such as economist Paul David.
David examined the replacement of steam driven factory equipment by electric motors in
the early 20th century. While electric motors offered many advantages over steam, he
found that it took over 20 years for the productivity gains of electric motors to show up in
national level productivity data. (Kling, 1995, pp. 20-21)
Rob Klings paper illustrates that the long-term view is more important than short-term
results. Yet most managers are under great pressure to produce results in the short
term. This can lead to the practice of using technology to merely automate and
reduce head count in an organization.
Measuring IT Benefits.
Economists define productivity as the output generated divided by a given input.
This sounds simple enough, but with computers, the product or service output is not so
easy to define. For instance, if two sales presentations are prepared, both with a
personal computer and publishing software, and different choices of fonts, graphics, etc.,
are made, and both help to land the account that they are shown to, how is the effectiveness
of one versus the other supposed to be made?
For many companies, often the choice is to automate so that more can be
produced without having to add additional staff. The payoff from automation is indeed both
fast and high. But very little, if any, of it shows up in the measurements that most
U.S. manufacturing plants, especially smaller ones, use. Our conventional accounting
figures measure the costs of doing. The main benefit of automation lies, however, in
eliminating--or at least in minimizing--the costs of not doing. (Drucker, 1986, p. 271)
Drucker goes on to state that the major benefits of automation are that quality standards
are built into the system up front, and that in an automated system, downtime can be
minimized by building in the ability to change models, dies, tools and speeds easily and
quickly. He says the focus needs to be changed to the total costs of the manufacturing
process, not merely the per-piece cost.
Keen (1989) says
be sure to get an operational definition and measure of
'productivity.'...without it being defined at the start,
there is no basis for defining the features and functions of
the system...and no one will be reliably able to demonstrate
its resulting business value.
Be systematic in tracking benefits and impacts. (p. 94)
Keen later outlines a scenario linking field representatives
to a home office:
It is worth the firm's investing about 60 percent of the
user's salary if the personal computer, which is the
decentralized part of the combination, adds just one hour of
effective work a day - reducing paperwork, managing one's
calendar, or maintaining customer data, for example. This
figure is based on a Honeywell study in 1982 that asked what
expenditure would be justified if the equipment helped an
employee produce 10 percent more work. It assumed that
salaries rise at 10 percent a year, overhead is 35 percent,
the equipment is written off over five years, and the cost
of capital is 12 percent. The study concludes that the
justified investment for a manager whose salary is $35,000
would be $19,600. That buys a lot of computing power. The
cost of communications and data plus the central computing
resource that handles the access requests from the field
machine are much higher. A $5,000 stand-alone personal
computer (fully configured, with plenty of software,
storage, and a high-quality printer) needs an extra
investment of around $15,000 to turn it into a multiservice
workstation. Communications adds about 30 percent to the
basic cost; the rest is central storage, processing, and
staff support. (Keen, 1989, p. 95)
Keen (1991) discusses the economics of IT at length. He emphasizes 3
factors; managing costs, managing benefits, and managing risk exposure (p. 142).
Citing that management should know IT expenses, many do not know how much
capital is tied up in IT. He outlines a procedure to construct an IT balance sheet,
including software development costs, data resource costs (data resources being
infinitely reusable assets), and equipment (p. 144). Costs are not simple, either.
Software development today results in costs tomorrow for operations and
maintenance of those systems, and that infrastructure dominate application costs
(p. 149). In addition, infrastructures are all cost; benefits come indirectly from the
business applications they make practical (p. 152).
He later states that "There is simply no reliable way to measure the value-added
benefits of IT." (p. 160); and IT, like the railroads, is primarily an enabling technology.
Much of its impact will be manifested in creative uses of technologies rather than in the
technologies themselves. These impacts may be hard to link directly to IT. (p. 160)
He also makes a strong statement for the long-term view:
The business case for investing in IT is straightforward:
does it provide a higher rate of return than putting the
money into some other area of the business? Business logic,
not financial evidence, will determine whether the
infrastructures that create the firm's technical platform
are essential capital investments....U.S. neglect of other
long-term investments in manufacturing and R&D is a warning
signal; neglect of longer-term IT investments is already the
norm, rather than the exception. (Keen, 1991, p. 161)
Keen outlines criteria for managing IT benefits:
First, IT spending does not create benefits, any more than
R&D spending does. Throwing money at technology makes about
as much sense as throwing money at R&D. As with R&D,
benefits often lag, and are sometimes not directly linked to
the immediate and highly visible costs that give rise to
Second, the same investment in the same technology can have
very different outcomes. It is the management process
rather than the technology that determines the benefits. In
a given industry every firm will have access to the same
Third, many of the value-added benefits of IT do not show up
in the accounting system. IT benefits, like education
benefits, do not translate tidily into cost savings,
especially when the investment is made in order to enhance
service, effectiveness, customer image, and that mysterious
element 'productivity.' (Keen, 1991, p. 163)
By this we can conclude that although many parts of IT spending can be measured
and cost/benefit can be approximated, true business value is not truly quantifiable.
Also, like most capital expenditures (e.g., building, R&D, education) benefits may not be
realized until several years later.
More recently, Brynjolfsson & Hitt (1995) have examined prior research and
pointed out flaws that may have skewed results, including the fact that industry level
data has been insufficient to reveal individual successes and many improvements in
products or services may not be reflected in government deflators.
One way to mitigate this is to use firm-level data, but this is notoriously painstaking
to collect, so most studies use narrow samples. This makes it difficult to generalize results.
Brynjolfsson & Hitt have reviewed much of the literature and conclude that "the
shortfall of evidence is not necessarily evidence of a shortfall." (Brynjolfsson & Hitt, 1995, p. 3).
Their findings include a gross ROI of computer capital of approximately 58% per year,
holding other inputs constant. Allowing for depreciation, the figures would be about 44%
for manufacturing and 67% for the full sample. But since PCs could have an average
service life as short as 3 years, the net rate of return would be reduced by 33%, yielding
net ROI of 25% for manufacturing and 48% for the full sample. (Brynjolfsson & Hitt, 1995,
p. 12) Their study goes on to conclude that ROI in the 1970s and early 1980s may not have
been large enough to detect using conventional estimation procedures, even if the ROI of
IT capital were twice that of non-IT capital. Further, the changes in business processes
needed to realize IT benefits may have taken some time to implement. Therefore it is
possible actual returns from investments have increased over time.
How can IT investment pay off?
In terms of office productivity, many companies merely treat computers as expensive
typewriters. "The least effective organizations use the personal computer as a better
typewriter," says Paul Saffo, an analyst at the Institute for the Future in Menlo Park, CA.
(Harris, et. al., 1987, p. 369)
The failure of computers to improve white-collar productivity may be accounted for
by what Bowen (1986, p. 268) calls the "down-escalator factor". In some cases computers
may have been pushing white-collar productivity up while other influences have been pushing
it down. These not-productive factors include government paperwork and the complexity of
the tax code. Liability awards cause companies to cope with more litigation and monitoring
to try to avoid more of it. The expansion of employee rights in firing or retirement has added
work for legal staffs and personnel departments. Another factor may be what Harvard
economist Harvey Leibenstein calls X-inefficiency - inefficiency that results from an
organization's failure to make the best use of resources. This can result from
managers and workers not working as smart or as hard as they can (Bowen, 1986, p. 268).
Bowen goes on to state that computers may sit unused or under-used. Also computers
are used in ways that partly wipe out their efficiencies. By way of example, E-mail, as many of
us have experienced, can produce a lot of junk-mail.
Bowen also states that computers may not help productivity so much as what is done
before they are put in: Ideally, you should change the way work is done before you put in
new equipment. Nancy Bancroft, manager of office systems consulting at Digital Equipment
Corp., advises prospective customers to scrutinize their procedures before they decide what
to buy, "If people are doing the wrong things when you automate," she says, "you get them
to do the wrong things faster." Advises Paul Strassmann, former vice president of the
information products group at Xerox and now a consultant: "Automate only after you
simplify." (Bowen, 1986, p. 269).
Another company that has achieved good productivity gains
partly by changing procedures is PPG Industries, a
manufacturer of glass, paint and chemicals. The accounts
payable department, for example, used to pay dozens, even
hundreds, of invoices to some PPG suppliers every month.
Now it consolidates and pays one invoice a month to each
supplier. In credit accounts receivable, the standard
procedure for checking customer credit has undergone much
simplification. Says Thomas a. Headlee, director of
management information systems: "We recognize that
automating what you're doing isn't enough. There are some
savings in the game in that regard, but the larger savings
come from automating what you're doing and then doing it
better." (Bowen, 1986, p. 270)
Bowen also illustrates the active role management must take when he quotes
William J. Stapleton, Vice president and head of data processing at Allied Stores:
"To get vivid results," he says, "you need a leader, a manager who pulls the process
along instead of waiting to be pushed." (Bowen, 1986, p. 271).
IT can be used to benefit business in ways as simple as lowering head counts
or doing much more work with the same number of people. However, wider and more
far-reaching business goals can be reached: boosting revenues and profits by improving
quality. Keen (1991, p. 11) states that a company's "top line"--that is, the profit structures
with margins cut to the bone, companies must use IT to develop new revenue sources.
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) has helped many a "top line" by reducing errors and
increasing speed of information flow. The savings could be realized in greater speed
to market: In The Information Edge, by N. Dean Meyer, he states that the result of IT
investment can be up to 1000 percent, citing the efforts of an unidentified company
trying to get a new product to market. The company put together a team with members
in Connecticut, Florida, and Texas. They estimated that it would take 12 months to finish
the job. Later, though, they decided to save time by using electronic mail to send documents
back and forth, and they ended up finishing in only ten months. "Even ignoring the
competitive advantage of getting the product out early, the company got two months of
additional profits, in this case $110,000, vs. $10,000 for the cost of the electronic mail,"
Meyer notes. "Return on investment: 1,000 percent." (Harris et. al, 1987, p. 368)
IT can also be used to gain a competitive advantage in the market place where none
existed before. Keen (1988) describes three methods used to gain competitive advantage:
1. Look for an edge in existing markets.
Put a terminal in the customer's office to provide a direct link to the firm's service and product
base; differentiate a standard product through service and information (ATMs and airline
reservation systems that also handle hotel and car rentals); improve customer access to the
firm by eliminating delays and intermediate steps.
2. Run the business better.
Manage distributed inventories by increasing central coordination without intruding on
decentralized operations and reduce information "float"; link distributed field
offices to the head office; improve internal communications; improve executive information.
3. Find sources of market innovation.
Make preemptive strikes; create new services by piggybacking and network interconnection.
(Keen, 1988, pp. 45-46)
American Airlines SABRE reservation system and Merrill Lynch's Cash Management
Account(CMA) were early examples of company's using technology to gain market share
through information and telecommunications. Both companies gained market share worth
billions of dollars, but not before spending millions to put the technology in place. Imagine
going to top management with an idea like these and trying to cost-justify it. You couldn't.
They probably could not either, but they took chances based on their vision of the future.
It also cannot be ignored that there are many instances where IT is a necessity:
e.g., VISA could not perform its task of tracking millions of credit card accounts without
computers; airlines labor costs would be stratospheric and the inevitable errors and
delays would result in a totally unacceptable level of service. Many installations such
as chemical factories and nuclear plants require computers to monitor the thousands of
variables that go into the workings of each day. Mistakes by poorly trained, poorly
motivated workers can cause enormous damage, as demonstrated by the nuclear
accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Says Lyman D. Ketchum, a pioneering
consultant on teamwork: "We're moving increasingly into dangerous, unforgiving
technologies that can't be operated safely with uncommitted people.". (Hoerr
et. al., 1986, p. 358)
The introduction of automation to work began long before computers came on
the scene. Taylor applied it to the manufacturing sector and William Henry Leffingwell
applied Taylorism to office management. The introduction of the computer allowed
much of office clerical work to be automated, but it was only at the most mundane levels:
Measurement efforts overwhelmed the lowest paid and most
routinized clerical jobs, while it tended to bypass higher-
paid jobs entirely--jobs that continued to absorb, however
weakly, both interpersonal and intellective aspects of the
managerial function. As Business Week put it, "The trouble
is that, with higher pay, routine lessens, and there is more
decision-making of increasing complexity...". (Zuboff, 1988,
Desktop computing has been applied to both clerical and professional/managerial
work groups. The applications of technology to various work groups makes an overall
analysis difficult. Kling & Iocono (1989) view desktop computerization as a complex
strategic intervention. They report the findings of other researchers who state that the
more discretion workers have in their jobs, the characteristics of the users will have the
greatest effect on computer impacts; where users have little discretion, the software
packages will have the greater impact (Kling & Iocono, 1989, p. 340).
Thus any study of computerization impact must also include social factors.
When new equipment is brought in, decisions are made about who will use it, under
what conditions and with what expectations. Secretaries are expected to use computers
differently than executives; workers visible to outsiders may be expected to use them
differently than workers hidden from view. In some work groups, fully-loaded PCs are
seen as status-symbols; when new equipment comes in, older equipment may be
passed down to lower-status workers while the best equipment is reserved for the
higher levels. It is also true that when computerization enters an organization, there
are likely to be changes in the character of jobs, policies, practices, and the use of
resources. (Kling & Iocono, 1989, p. 342).
Depending upon this mix of computing technologies and work organization, the
effort can be very beneficial to most participants or can lead to poor working conditions.
Systems that are designed with users' participation up front seem to have a
better track record of success than those where social factors are ignored.
Keen (1991) says that management needs to develop an asset, instead of a
budget view of IT costs. IT budgets for each of the past three decades have grown
an average of 15 percent per year; far greater than the rate of business growth
(Keen, 1991, p. 141).
Many companies have adopted a quasi-profit center approach, the equivalent of
outsourcing to your own company. They have also shifted the responsibility for IT
application planning and profitability to the business units instead of a centralized MIS
department. This puts the focus on who is really responsible for It benefits in an
In an article for Information Week, a IT trade weekly, Brynjolfsson & Hitt described
their research as focusing on "hard" numbers such as revenue, labor costs, and capital
costs. The results surprised them.
...you might expect that a hard-nosed, bottom-line
orientation toward cost-cutting would do better than
investing in "soft" benefits such as customer service.
After all, customer loyalty may be a valuable long-term
asset, but it doesn't show up on this year's balance sheet.
But remarkably, the customer-oriented companies had the best
productivity performance, outpacing the rest of the sample
by as statistically significant margin. (Brynjolfsson &
Hitt, 1995 Sept. 18, pp. 39-40)
They also described a change in what is done with information at Wal-Mart. Instead of
overwhelming headquarters with data from all the stores, individual store managers
retain responsibility for pricing on several hundred key items so they can match local
competitors and respond to local trends. Their survey results also showed that top
companies delegated more decision-making to line workers and said computerization
was associated with skill-upgrading of their work force.
Information Technology and Organizational design.
The late 1980s and early 1990s saw a great deal of organizational shifts.
Downsizing, layoffs, reorganizations were reported in the news, it seemed, week
by week. It would seem top managers had realized technology could take them only
...a major study of 2,000 US firms that had implemented new
office systems revealed that at least 40 percent of these
systems failed to achieve the intended results.
Interestingly, less than 10 percent of the failures were
attributed to technical failure. The majority of the
reasons given were human and organizational. As Levinson
puts it: "While the 1960s were the era of hardware failures,
and the 1970s of software deficiencies, the issues for
system failure in the 1980s have become organizational and
managerial." (Long, 1987, p. 327)
Reorganization of work, business process reorganization, are terms we have heard
for a number of years. Computers and networks of computers have evolved from
back-room, finance functions to become a ubiquitous part of the business infrastructure.
Their use affects all departments of organizations and forges links to outside agents.
Zuboff (1988) researched three wood pulp processing plants in the 1980s and
described the effects of workers using an automated computer interface to run the pulp
mills. Many machines and processes were automated. And what had formerly been
left up to the skills and 'feel' of workers was reduced to sensors on machines and the
feeding of numbers into a computer system that took 'snapshots' of the plants
operations at regular intervals.
The IT investment allowed the managers to control the plants from a few
central control rooms, with fewer interventions necessary from workers. More
`closed-loop' decisions were made by the computer system during plant operation.
This caused many odd feelings among the workers at first, not trusting the computer
screens where before they could listen or look at the machines and processes to see
if things were running right. However, this also gave the workers more access to
information in once place than management had previously had access to, resulting
in employees discussing more about actions in the managerial province.
Zuboff discusses at length the differences of jobs that are acting-on and lend
themselves to automation versus jobs that are acting-with and do not lend themselves
to automation. Management functions involve acting-with skills. As workers become
more involved with the organizations knowledge base they increasingly require
communicative and coordinative responsibilities along with the demands of continuous
production. Thus the underlying productive and administrative processes are revealed
to more workers where before they were largely hidden. Zuboff coins the word
informate to describe this process.
The problem with this is that managers have traditionally seen their role as
surrogates for the owners of the means of production. As such, they were responsible
for running the business and considered much of the information generated by business
as their province.
The new emphasis on teamwork seems to be a reflection of this blurring of the
lines between management and workers. With most previously mundane functions
automated, the remaining workers were required to learn more about what was going
on so they could work with the information systems. This took them into the
managerial realm. The trouble is, most corporate cultures still reward individual effort.
Zuboff studied Global Bank Brazil and found the old paradigms to hold:
[the banks'] personnel systems and corporate culture
rewarded highly individualistic and competitive behavior.
Managers at each organizational level were ranked against
one another (10 percent excellent, 20 percent above average,
60 percent average, and 10 percent below), and compensation
was directly linked to one's performance category. As a
result, it was difficult to create a positive approach to
teamwork. Ambitious managers believed that their individual
knowledge had to remain private in a world where excellence
was a strictly enforced zero-sum game. (Zuboff, 1988, p. 203)
Zuboff describes this process, then asks how the new wide-spread intellective skill
development will mesh with the traditional claims of authority that infuse role boundaries.
It means exploring the relationship between managerial authority and the autonomous
informating power of the technology. Can the technology transform authority? Or will
authority impose restrictions on the informating process? (Zuboff, 1988, p. 218)
There is some indications that IT will result in fewer managers being needed
throughout organizations. The aforementioned downsizing by many major companies
through the 1980s included the ranks of middle managers. Peter Drucker purports
that most US companies have 20 to 30 percent more managers than they need
(Bowen, 1986, p. 271).
The managers that remain may see their traditional roles change:
There is considerable evidence that the roles of supervisors
and managers could change dramatically as a result of new
office technology. For example, it has been suggested that
there will be a need for fewer supervisors, and that those
who remain will see their roles changed from routine
surveillance to focus more on training, helping to implement
new systems and procedures, boundary roles, and promoting
innovation. (Long, 1986, p. 330).
At Global Bank Brazil, bank officers believed their roles provided them with protection
and that openness would strip them of that protection. The head of human resources
stated: It's like making managers naked - taking their clothes off. You feel you're now
on your own and have to take the initiative to do your own thing. Managers are normally
protected by walls of people and paper. You can pretend you're doing something
relevant, but the only things that are really relevant are analyzing and deciding. It's a
strange feeling for line managers; they'll resist. It's not a mere resistance to innovation
and technology; it's something more complex. The feeling of being alone; I'm relying
on myself to do things. I can't blame the "bloody staffers" that didn't deliver on time
or blame it on the mistakes they made. It means more responsibility for senior
managers. (Zuboff, 1988, p. 212)
Historically, though, changes due to technology have not been quick in coming.
Observations & Conclusions.
Returns on investment on IT capital are, apparently, starting to show up in the
statistics, as shown by Brynjolfsson & Hitt. Their findings as well as the results of
studies done by Kling, Zuboff and others indicate that organizational and social
changes are necessary to realize a significant benefit from the technology.
The most successful organizations of the 1990s seem to be the ones that are
the most 'intrapreneurial'; they promote innovation and entrepreneurship within their
ranks as a method of developing new markets, products and services. This is also
defined as "extending the firm's domain of competence and corresponding opportunity
set through internally generated new resource combinations." (Stoner & Freeman,
1989, p. 713). Many organizations have divided up resources among business units,
decentralizing functions such as accounting, finance, and information technology.
This trend of decentralization seems to follow in the footsteps of another
decentralization trend in the 1980s and 1990s; from socialism to free enterprise.
Organizations have spun off subsidiaries or downsized their corporate
headquarters to bare bones and allocated the resources to each business unit
to adapt to its own needs. Perhaps this is the most efficient use of IT that has
been seen yet. Networks would allow units to communicate, if at all necessary.
It is no longer necessary for business entities to physically exist in close proximity.
If managerial control is an issue, the reorganization of businesses and the role
blurring among workers and management may obviate the need for this concern.
If workers 'own' more of the business through their greater responsibilities for the
data and the decision-making, shared responsibility for the enterprise may result.
In this way, IT has served both as facilitator and the means by which the
metamorphosis has taken place. If IT serves to transform our organizations into
"free enterprises" internally, it could serve to break down a productivity barrier
that has existed because of the traditional manager/employee relationship. While
not all employees can realistically become entrepreneurs, some structuring of
organizations (or de-structuring of them) may occur. Team-based structures
have had some success, but still need to address issues related to power,
compensation, contribution, etc.
I believe that it is important to realize that computers and networks are
useful tools to empower and enable people to accomplish goals for the benefit
of the organization. If those people are not allowed the leeway and given
access to the information and knowledge necessary, then all the computing
power in the world will not help. This redefinition of organizational roles will
necessitate education and social changes that, historically, have been shown
to take generations. For all the hype today about life moving ever more
quickly, these changes will go on at their own pace, however slowly.
The real challenge will be trying to manage these changes while not
abrogating the rights of the owners of capital.
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York, Basic Books.
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