The following three points highlight the top three impacts of technology on environment.
Impact # 1. Technology and Society:
The most dramatic influence of technology has been felt on society. Technological development affects life of every human being.
The effects of technology on society can be studied as under:
a. Consumers’ Expectations:
High expectations of consumers pose a challenge to business community. It provides opportunity to the business houses. Consumers expect that new varieties of products, superior in quality, free from pollution, more safe, more comfortable should be produced and supplied to them at a short notice of time.
b. Relationship between Business and Technology:
Technology’s effect can be felt through business. Scientific discoveries have little or no meaning unless there are competent business units to produce for people what science has discovered. Society depends on business to keep the stream of discovery flowing into useful goods and services for mankind.
If there are no business institutions, new discoveries would, remain mere ideas in mind, sketches on paper or models in laboratories. Therefore a business and technology are closely related to each other.
c. Social Changes:
The role of technology on social change can be examined in the following ways:
(i) Technological change sometimes socially uproot the population and people drift about in search of new centres of employment. Sometimes, this drafting may result in a new geographical distribution of population.
(ii) Technology directly changes the pattern of the social life. Technological advancement tends to remove social differences, the differences between sexes and between parents and children.
(iii) Technology flows to less developed countries mainly through MNCs. With vast resources at their common. MNCs have carved places and images for themselves distinct from local companies. People who are associated with the MNCs are better paid than the people working with the local companies. These people behave like a class apart by themselves.
(iv) In the last, our day to day life is affected by the technology. Even the language we use is changing. New terms continue to emerge. It is correctly said that words are the budges of social change. When our language changes, behaviour will not be far behind.
d. Complexity of System:
Technology has made the system more complex. Though the modern machines work faster and better. But they fail often because of their complexity. Eventually technology might lead to simplicity and small independent operational units, who work to fulfill of dreams of a common man.
Impact # 2. Technology and Economy:
The impact of technology on economy can be reviewed as stated below:
a. Qualitative and Quantitative Increase in Productivity:
The most significant impact of technology is greater productivity. The example of quantitative increase is more production at less cost. In a hospital, the effect may be qualitative such as maintaining electronic monitoring equipment regardless of its cost.
As a result of increase in productivity, real wages of employees increase and prices of some products decline. Thus the benefit of technology spreads throughout the whole social system. This results in the demand for more technological advancement.
b. Need to Encourage Research and Development:
Instead of importing and buying technology, the Governments in the developing countries should favour research and development regarding science and technology. The institutions and researchers should be encouraged to find our innovation technologies which could make the country self relevant and reduce vulnerability making the maximum use of indigenous resources.
It should arrange for modernisation of both equipment and technology.
At the same time, the Govt., should sponsor the researchers, students and managerial staff to visit abroad and get training because it will help in bringing foreign technology at home. It should ensure availability of technology to all segments of the society.
The R&D wing should be established by the government as it could provide vital inputs to both large and small scale industries. This wing could help according to the nation’s specific conditions. There is a strong case for developing labour intensive technologies in all labour surplus backward economies.
c. More Intellectual and Upgraded Jobs:
A job which was earlier handled by an unskilled worker, now requires the services of an educated and competent worker. Office jobs now demand the services of computer experts. Thus the technological development has made the jobs more intellectual and upgraded.
Some workers will be dislocated unless they are well equipped to work on new machines. This makes it the duty of the businessman to retain the employees. For those, who pickup and acquaint themselves with new technology, the job opportunity should be given in priority basis.
d. Need for Highly Professionalised and Knowledgeable Personnel:
Not only jobs become more intellectual, even the employees tend to become more professional. The organisation shall need scientists, engineers and highly skilled workers on its payroll. The organisation can boast of a progressive and modern personnel.
But motivation of such jobs is a difficult task. They will need attractive remuneration, job security and just treatment. Job retention of such employees is another difficult job. The company has to make several efforts to discourage shifting of jobs by professionalised employees.
e. Need for Bio-Professional and Multi-Professional Managers:
Persons who assume charge of the administration are required to be qualified in management education in addition to the proficiency in chosen fields of specialisation. Today’s business needs bio-professional and multi-professional managers.
f. Government Regulations and Public Opposition:
Another impact of technological development is the ever-increasing regulations imposed on business by the Government and stiff opposition form the public. Government has the power to investigate and ban the products which are harmful for a section of society.
Sometimes these developments invite stiff opposition from public who fear that new innovations are a threat to ecology, privacy, simplicity and even the human race. But the public must be enlightened that the technology in not always harmful. It can be corrective as well as curative also.
g. Insatiable Demand for Capital:
Today’s technology is characterised by its insatiable demand for capital. Huge investment of money is required for:
(i) Acquisition or discovery of new ideas & their adoption.
(ii) Education and training of the managers and other related employees.
(iii) Several other related areas.
Business organisation should not only raise huge amounts of capital, but proper utilisation of the funds for gainful purposes is also a must. This calls for an efficient and effective financial management along-with qualified and competent financial managers.
h. Impact of Changes on Products and Organizations:
Technology refers to change and more change. This poses another throat to business community. A new technology may develop a new industry but destroy an existing one.
In this changing world, every product is like a mortal human being, subject to a life cycle as shown in the diagram:
Even the organisation which is associated with a particular technology will have the same life pattern as that of the technology.
The use of such an organisation will have the following stages:
In this eight step sequence an organisation takes birth, dies and has its last rites. Thus a new technology have two side of coin which is creative as will destructive.
i. Redefinition of Business Boundaries:
(i) Technological change may broaden or narrow generally accepted industry boundaries.
(ii) Technological changes affect the individual companies also in the industry. Due to these changes, the companies may find themselves in different business.
(iii) Technological changes also give rise to product substitution and product differentiation.
(iv) For multiproduct companies, technological change may have multiple impacts. Technological changes can create new things and obsolete the existing ones. Thus technological change influences industry boundaries and structure, product substitution and differentiation, price and quality relationship between products.
Impact # 3. Technology and Plant Level Changes:
a. Impact on Organisational Structure:
Technology in an organisation will have significant impact on the organisation structure, length of the line of command and span of control of the chief executive. No doubt, other factors also influence the organisational structure but the impact of technology is most considerable.
b. Import of Technology:
For the business houses who wish to import technology, there are additional problems. They will have to provide for the training of technicians and supervisors, testing and replacement of raw materials and parts, which are not available locally.
Moreover, the developed countries may not be willing to lend the technology. They will never pass on the key technology such as design know-how, which will help the importing country.
The technology which the developed countries are willing to lend is limited in scope and is mainly aimed at exploiting the markets in which they are interested. Let us assume that there are foreign companies who are willing to transfer the technology, there is still the problem relating to choosing a right collaboration and obtaining clearance from Government.
c. Total Quality Management (TQM):
TQM has been introduced in almost all the organisations. TQM means total commitment of an organisation to quality.
It has the following principles:
(i) Meet the consumers’ requirements on time, the first time and 100% of the time.
(ii) The work should be error free.
(iii) To follow the policy that prevention is better than corrections.
(iv) To measure the cost of quality.
d. Business Process Reengineering (BPRE):
Michael Hammer is the father of this process named BPRE which essentially involves considering how things would be done if the organisation were to start all over from the scratch. BPRE helps the organisation in cutting down its costs, eliminating wastes and in improving its quality.
This concept is considered essential in modern competitive world. BPRE will affect the employees considerably because now the jobs will require wider range of skills, more interaction with customers and suppliers, greater challenge, increased responsibilities; but we should remember that its price is very higher.
e. Flexible Manufacturing System:
Under FMS machines are designed to produce batches of different products with flexible manufacturing.
When management wants to produce a new part, it does not change machines, it needs to change only the computer programming because a unique feature of FMS is the integration of computers aided designs, engineering and manufacturing with this they on product low volume products for consumers at a cost comparable to what had been previously possible through mass production.
Under FMS, workers and employees will need more training and higher skills. Moreover, it will need the total restricting of the organisation so that the authority could be decentralised into the hands of the operating teams.