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Computers and Society


       • What is an organisation?
       • Different types of organisations
       • What issues face organisations in the modern
       • What considerations are there related to
         computers in organisations?

3BA6 Computers and Society
               What Does an Organisation Look Like?

       • Can you give an example of an organisation?
       • Which of the following are organisations?
              – A new product development project team?
              – Trinity College Dublin?
              – Department of Computer Science (TCD)?
              – A small flower shop on the corner, owned by a little
                old lady?
              – A delivery man who supplies the flower shop with
                flower pots and weekly supplies of gifts for resale
                (chocolates, mini gifts etc…)

3BA6 Computers and Society

       • How about
              –   The postman?
              –   A dairy co-op?
              –   DHL?
              –   The Fire Service?
              –   Your old high/secondary school?
              –   The Department of Health and Children?
       • What about the flower shop and all its suppliers
         who give it daily deliveries of plants, flowers,
         chocolates, little gifts? Are they one, more than
         one, or not organisations?

3BA6 Computers and Society
                             Organisation: Definition

       • “An organisation is a group of people who work

3BA6 Computers and Society
                             Organisations: Perspectives

       • Legal
              – Incorporated: sole trader, partnership, limited liability;
                multinational; networks
       • Operations
              – What they do?
       • Location
              – Where they are?
       • Stakeholders
              – Who owns them?
              – Who has an interested in them?

3BA6 Computers and Society
                             Organisations: Types

       •    Non-profit
       •    Religious
       •    Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)
       •    Trans-governmental
       •    Governmental
       •    Semi-state
       •    Co-operative
       •    Commercial

3BA6 Computers and Society
                         Characteristics of Organisations

       • Name(s)
       • Origin
              – Foundation (year); merger; acquired
       • Part of a system
              – Parent/ subsidiary/ partners/ industry
       • Legal entity / entities
       • Distinct location or address

3BA6 Computers and Society
                             More Characteristics

       •    Have employees or co-workers
       •    Create revenue
       •    Provide a product or service at a cost
       •    Specific characteristics depend on the type
              – Particular industry; group; affiliation

3BA6 Computers and Society
                     Example: Non-Profit Organisations

       • Passion for mission
       • Atmosphere of "scarcity"
       • Informality, participation and consensus
       • Dual bottom lines: financial and mission
       • Program outcomes are difficult to assess
       • Governing board: oversight and supporting role
       • Mixed skill levels of staff (management and
       • Participation of volunteers

3BA6 Computers and Society
           Business Pressures Facing Organisations

       • Global competition
              – Not just against neighbours
              – Need for real-time operations
              – To make decision quickly
       • Customer orientation
              – Customers want more information
              – Technological innovation and obsolescence
              – Products become obsolete more quickly

3BA6 Computers and Society
                             More Pressures

       • Cost focus
       • Information overload
              – Need to make sense of increased information
       • Ethical issues
              – Customer and employee privacy

3BA6 Computers and Society
                       Response to Business Pressures

       • Developing strategic IT solutions
              – gain advantage over competitors
       • Customer focus and service
              – give customers what they want
       • Collaboration with other organisations
              – reduce cost; spread risk; share scarce

3BA6 Computers and Society
                             More Responses

       • Empowering employees and fostering
         collaborative work
              – let employees make decisions
       • Electronic commerce
              – reach new customers in new ways
       • Business process reengineering
              – change the way business is conducted

3BA6 Computers and Society
                    Problems Responding to Pressures

       • Inertia
              – E.g. delays in developing IT solutions
       • Investment
              – Risky solutions may not pay off
       • Understanding the customer
       • Collaborating with other organisations
              – Trust; power; uncertainty; cultural differences

3BA6 Computers and Society
                             More Problems

       • Internal resistance
              – Management/employee relations
       • Trust in the Internet and adopting new
       • Possible need to change the organisation

3BA6 Computers and Society
       Organisational Structure & Evolution: Trends

       • Flatter Organisational Hierarchies
              – Reduced levels of reporting => decreased
              – An increased span of control.
              – Blue-to-white collar staff ratio: the number of
                professionals and specialists could decline.
       • Special Units
              – Technology centre, e-commerce centre, etc.
       • Centralisation of Authority
              – Greater empowerment and decentralisation.

3BA6 Computers and Society
                                More Trends

       • Power and Status
              – Online knowledge bases may reduce the power of
                certain professional groups.
       • Job Content
              – If job content changes, people may need training, re-
       • Inter-organisational arrangements
              – Outsource internal functions to external specialists
              – Close collaboration with industry partners

3BA6 Computers and Society

       •    Types of organisation
       •    Characteristics
       •    Pressures
       •    Responses
       •    Problems responding
       •    Trends

3BA6 Computers and Society