Modern organizations are very much different from the traditional ones. The environment, in which they are operating today, is very much dynamic. There are very rapid changes in the environment that are affecting the organizations and the butterfly effect (Lorenz, 1976) has become a universal phenomena. In order to ensure their stability and survival, organizations need to take care of these changes. The organizations ignoring these changes occurring in their environment run the risk of obsolescence.
Different types of organization operate in different environment and they are required to deal with the different needs of the environment. With the changes in their respective environment, organizations also need to change (Krell, 2000). More rapidly changing the environment, more rapid changes are required by the organization. One of the major reasons for these rapid changes in the environment is the development and adoption of new technology (Henderson & Clark, 1990; Krell, 2000). To go along with their environment and to ensure their survival in this competitive era, organization need to change their systems, processes and even people in some cases. But to bring any change in the organization is not very easy (Tripsas & Gavetti, 2000). The biggest challenge ahead of management, while bringing a change, is to create a balance in managing the business and addressing the needs of people (Law, 2009).
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In this advanced era, technology is like the lifeblood of organization and it is very important to optimistically use the technology (Garg & Rastogi, 2006). Technology has speeded up the changes. At one end, this technology has facilitated the organizations but on the other end it has posed numerous challenges ahead of the organizations (Roux, 2003). According to Narvekar and Jain (2006) one of the biggest causes of anxiety among the senior managers is the rate of technological change.
The organizations are going to realize that they can achieve organizational effectiveness through technological innovation and managerial competencies (Wang, 2005) but no change can be made effective without the active participation of the employees (Mitev, 1996). During a technological change management is challenged to maintain the commitment of employees (Wang, 2005; Jacobs, 2006). An employee's commitment with the organization is very critical factor that acts as a driving force to bring positive benefits for the organization (Kuo, Ho, Lin, & Lai, 2010). According to Jowarski and Kohli (1993) committed employees are more willing to give sacrifices for the best interest of the organization. These employees devote more time for the organization and sacrifice their personal interest in the best and long term interest of the organization. They feel proud being part of the organization and they make the organization proud for having them.
BACKGROUND OF STUDY
It is very difficult to undertake an organizational change. Even well established firms, who identify the need to change due to the shunts in their external environment, fail to respond in an effective manner (Tripsas & Gavetti, 2000). Many of the studies show that for the established firms technological change has proven deadly, with various instances of established firm failure in the face of fundamental technological change (Tushman and Anderson, 1986; Henderson and Clark, 1990; Tushman and O'Reilly, 1996).
The technological revolution has transformed and reshaped major industries of the economy. Today's technological changes has energized succeeding waves of change that repetitively threatened the endurance of well-established firms in home entertainment, electronic components, communications services, data processing, and many other fields (Rosenbloom, 2000). Even the most dominant firms in the information industries are having a challenge of development of new strategies and capabilities in order to compete with entrance of new competitors with the advanced technology (Teece, Pisano, & Shuen, 1997). Many of the organization report very disappointing results of a change management process given the cost and turmoil caused by the change (Guimaraes & Armstrong, 1998).
Broad Problem Area
Many a time any change in the organization including technological change is not welcomed by the employees of the organization. In their study Wachter, Modrow-Thiel & Rossmann (1994) identifies that many of the organizations fail during a technological change because they do not analyze its effect on work condition especially human beings. They have to face resistance from the employee during this change process. Most of the organizations go through downsizing in order to remove the resistance (Henderson & Clark, 1990; Farrow, 1997; Pinsonneault & Kraemer, 2002). The organization exercise downsizing with a view to enhance the organizational performance. But according to McClure (2007) downsizing cannot produce anticipated organizational improvements. Thus sustaining employee commitment toward organizations is a question which needs to be answered by the management of the organizations that are going through a technological change.
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What is the impact of technology on employee commitment?
What are the ways in which employee commitment can be raised after a technological change?
SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
This study is an attempt to explore the problems faced by management to maintain employee commitment during/after a technological change. After a technological change it becomes a challenge for the management to retain the employee commitment. The researcher is determined to analyze the reasons for which it become difficult to maintain the commitment of employees and what is the contribution of technology in it.
This research study is supported by literature review that throws light on the role of technology in employee commitment. In the light of literature review and gathered data and its analysis, the researcher will analyze the ways in which it becomes difficult for management to maintain the commitment and how they can retain the loyalty of the employees.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The researcher is putting his efforts to determine how technological firms can enhance employee commitment. The main objectives of this study are:
To analyze the impact of change process on overall employee commitment.
To investigate reasons for which organization are unable to manage employees after technological change.
To find out the ways in which organizations can enhance employee commitment.
DELIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
The researcher has delimited himself in following ways:
The researcher has focused only on effect of job redesign and empowerment on employee commitment. There can be number of other factors affecting employee commitment but the researcher has delimited himself to the above mentioned areas.
The researcher is not taking in consideration the cultural dimensions.
Leadership role in job redesign and enhancing employee commitment is not being studied.
Public and Private Sector comparison is not being incorporated due to shortage of time.
At one end there is the technological system with its internal functioning and evolutionary potential. This dormant potential for change is related to a number of possible amalgamations in the pre-existing element. External to technological change, on the other end, there are social, economic and political systems that act as triggers (Roux, 2003). These triggers can affect the change process both in negative or positive way. This is due responsibility of the management to control this effect in a favourable way. The fast changing world and technology is not only creating opportunities for organizational growth but also creating concerns and also causing a widespread uncertainty (Farrow, 1997; Narvekar & Jain, 2006). Organizations are afraid about their survival. Because the technology goes obsolete in no time in this era so while adapting to a new technology organizations think a number of times before taking the final decision.
External forces act as driving forces to the technological change because the technological changes have a great interaction with society (Tushman & Anderson, 1986). Organizations go through technological change with a view to increase productivity, profit and to gain a competitive advantage in the respective market. By achieving these goals an organization can achieve longevity but the organizations fail to achieve this longevity because they are unable to manage the internal processes and human resources in an effective manner (Krell, 2000). Human resources are a key element of any organization and without their active contribution no organization can become a successful entity. While planning any change in the organization, managers should not only think that how the performance will be affected but they should also thinks that how employees will be affected (Parish, Cadwallader, & Busch, 2008). The main reason for inefficiency of management is the resistance shown by employees to the technological change in the organization (Aghazadeh, 1999; Krell, 2000; Pinsonneault & Kraemer, 2002; Kuo et al,. 2010). Now the question arises why the employees show resistance to a technological change in the organization. They may be afraid that they will lose their importance and power in the organization. With the arrival of new technology, they might be replaced with that technology. So they might be always at a resisting end. This resistance might be reduced with the help of training.
Farrow (1997) has recommended a number of ways apart from the training to reduce the resistance to change, especially a technological one. These ways can be: comprehensive documentation in the form of staff manuals, training aids and policy documents, staff appraisal schemes, counseling, stress management, time management, ergonomics, job enrichment, career planning, re-education/education programs and empowering the employees as most important one. He further states that most of the times employees are well aware of the increasing expectations being placed on them. So by adopting a more proactive approach they can find new job opportunities and job enrichment. An employee should be very sharp to sense the change.
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One important issue that needs to be considered by companies is technology should not be used only for the purpose of technology utilization but it should be used in order improve the productivity and well-being of employees of the organization (Aghazadeh, 1999). McDonald & Siegall (1996) suggested a few ways to enhance the success of technological changed. These ways are: introduce the technological change gradually, implant confidence in workers through training of both workers and managers, point to past successes, give workers time to get used to the change and select workers with high levels of self-efficacy.
Technological change is useless without a skilled workforce (Mrinalini & Nath, 2000). If any of the organization has a very advanced technology but it does not have the skilled workers, there is no use of adapting to the technology because skilled workers are required to operate the technology. Rapid technological change demands a highly skilled workforce which an organization may not have (Krell, 2000). In order to meet this demand posed by the technology, organizations need to recruit the skilled workers and it may exercise downsizing (Blohowiak, 1996) but downsizing may adversely affect the overall organizational performance (Pinsonneault & Kraemer, 2002). It is evident from the literature (Aghazadeh, 1999; Liker, Haddad, & Karlin, 1999; Orr, Millen, & McCarty, 1999; Narvekar & Jain, 2006; McClure, 2007; Law, 2009) that organizations with a cooperative management are more successful as compared to the downsized organizations. Blohowiak (1996) suggested that organizations undergoing a downsizing process must seek structural integrity in a new form. This integrity can be achieved by providing clear rules of employment, aligning organizational vision, goals, values and structure, and through active involvement of people along with the managers in the change process. Evan et al. (2002) emphasize that no change process can be successful without participation and acceptance of employees and this is the way in which employee's resistance can be controlled (Dafe, 2001). There are number incidents when organizations failed to implement some technology because of mismanagement of people and not due the technical-related issues (Appelbaum & Grigore, 1997).
Incorporating rapidly changing technology into the work place is an emergent trend now a days (Liker, Haddad, & Karlin, 1999) due to which the complexity within the organizations is growing (Parish, et al., 2008) so the employees are required to adapt to new tasks and enhanced roles (Aasheim, Williams, & Butler, 2009). The traditional roles are no longer required by the organizations as now the jobs are more competency based rather task based (Soderquist, Papalexandris, Ioannou, & Prastacos, 2010). Several authors (Mitev, 1996; Appelbaum & Grigore, 1997; Wang, 2005; Aasheim, Williams, & Butler, 2009) proposed that during a transition from touch labour to knowledge workforce, as in case of technology, enhanced technical, conceptual and analytical skills are required. In other words task complexity is increased.
The best possible way the organizations have, is the redesigning of the job of existing workers in order to align them with adapted technology. Organizations try to supersede the division of labour, by dividing them into tasks and then tasks are integrated into processes (Mitev, 1996). This transition has changed the work nature in an organizational setting. So with the arrival of new technology in the organization jobs of people are re-designed (Kuo et al., 2010). The organization need to develop a consensus among all the employees while redesigning the jobs so that all employees may understand the new expectations of management from them and every employee become aware about conducting their daily responsibilities (Rimanoczy & Pearson, 2010).
Job design has a number of dimensions like job enrichment, job engineering, quality of work life, socio-technical designs, the social information processing approach and the job characteristics approach to job design (Garg & Rastogi, 2006). Hyde et al., (2005) describe job redesign focuses on responsibility, multi-skilling, job variety and enrichment, task identification and significance and autonomy. Jobs are redesigned as a result of overall interaction between work, technology and human beings (Love & Edward, 2005). By brining technology and job redesign together excellent results can be obtained (Wachter et al., 1994; Garg & Rastogi, 2006). In organizations job of employees are redesigned with a focal point to enhance the overall organizational effectiveness (Varoglu & Eser, 2006). According to Liker et al. (1999) job redesign may enhance the intrinsic quality of employees performance and help employees to cope with organizational change in a more easier and effective way. Garg and Rastogi (2006) find in their study that employee with enriched job are more satisfied and show a greater level of commitment towards the organization as compared to others. As a result of this employees respond more actively and efficiently.
Job should be redesigned in such a way that it offers: greater integration and more flexibility of workers; better training, education, and regulation, for staff and better management ownership through clearer roles and responsibilities of managers (Hyde, McBride, Young, & Walshe, 2005). Job design that provide a high level of job control also provide increased opportunities for the development and exercise of skill (Morrison, Cordery, Girardi, & Payne, 2005).
Empowerment may be described as direct involvement of employees in the decision-making process (Wilkinson, 2001). It is considered as a way to encourage employees and increase decision making at lower level of the organization consequently enriching employees work experience (Liden, Wayne, & Sparrowe, 2000). It can be based not only on individuals but small groups as well having a contract with industrial democracy and participative schemes like different types of committees (Patterson, West, & Wall, 2004).
As people are the most important resources of an organization, not merely as rhetoric but also in practice. The type of people, with whom organization are dealing today are far different those of a decade ago. If organizations depend more on a few people and their loyalty can no longer be assumed but must be earned and maintained. These organizations need to be concerned about utilizing, developing and resourcing them (Carnall, 1997). In this context employee empowerment has become a major approach in achieving employee involvement, commitment and unleashing employee creativity and capability (Jarrar & Zairi, 2002).
Empowerment will encourage more committed workers to conquer the problems such as complex job features, demanding customer needs, sundry work groups, flatter organizational structures, and so on. But many a times employee's commitment is disrupted when organization plan downsizing, in order to reduce overhead expenses to enhance performance (Orr et al., 1999; McClure, 2007).
After redesigning of their jobs, effectiveness and efficiency of employees can be maintained by empowering them (Kuo et al., 2010). Empowering the employees will enable them to make timely decision that will lead to enhanced organizational performance (Kumaraswamy, Ng, Palaneeswaran, & Rahman, 2004). Liden, et al., (2000) empirically tested the impact of empowerment on organizational outcomes which they found positive. Empowerment will give employees a sense of ownership which will positively affect their commitment with the organization.
Commitment can be defined as an individual's attachment with the organization (Mowday, Porter, & Steers, 1982). Commitment is a set of positive behaviours and actions that are directly under the control of individuals and these are the important components in achieving the organizational goals through change programs, new working methods and new structures (Swailes, 2004). During the implementation of new ideas conflicts of interest may develop among the employees of the organization that may affect the organizational commitment. A committed employee exhibits his positive feelings toward the organization and shows congruence between his beliefs and value and those of the organization.
In his study Swailes (2004) identified four bases of commitment i.e. Attitudinal commitment (Mowday et al., 1982) centers around belief in organizational goals and values and embraces Etzioni's (1975) moral commitment, Kanter's (1968) cohesion commitment and Allen and Meyer's (1990) affective commitment. Organizational commitment is distinguished by eagerness to uphold association with the organization, recognition with the organization's values and goals and readiness to put efforts in order to support the organizational goals (Michael, Court, & Petal, 2010).
Employee commitment play a vital role in obtaining positive outcomes e.g. it increases the job performance and loyalty and reduces the turnover intentions (Cheng, Jiang, & Riley, 2003). One of the central doctrines of commitment theory (Mowday et al., 1982) is that high commitment leads to worthwhile outcomes for the organization. Infact employee commitment is a unique relationship of employee with the organization and significance of this relationship exhibits the behaviour of the employee towards the organization.
In their study Michael, et al., (2010) describes with reference to Buchanan (1974): Organization commitment is the emotional connection to a particular organization, which is characterized by three major parameters in the individual's attitudes towards the organization:
Identification - internalization of the organization's goals and values.
Involvement - activity that the employee performs as part of his or her role.
Loyalty - a sense of belonging to the employing organization.
The concept of organizational commitment has gained attention of organizational scientists. Perhaps this is due to changes taking place in employment practices arising in international marketplace and ever increasing alternatives for skilled employees in a global economy (Sullivan & Arthur, 2006). Skilled workers therefore have the opportunity to move organizations with an urge to develop their careers without feeling the need to stick with the same organization for any given period of time. Moreover due to this increasing mobility of employees, it is not very easy for companies to find suitably qualified, skilled and experienced replacements (Jain, Giga, & Cooper, 2009).
Employee commitment strengthens the management of the organization and motivates employees and also helps them to be empowered (Jacobs, 2006). Jacobs (2006) further elaborated in his study that to maintain employee commitment after a technological change in the organization is the biggest challenge for the management.
CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF LITERATURE REVIEW
The literature provides ample information about the factor effecting technological change in the organization and its effect on organization and its employees. We come to know through literature that technology provides an ease in many of the organization's operations but may have adverse effects on people working in organization (Farrow, 1997; Aghazadeh, 1999; Krell, 2000; Jacobs, 2006; Narvekar & Jain, 2006; Law, 2009; Aasheim, Williams, & Butler, 2009; Rimanoczy & Pearson, 2010). Employee commitment is very much affected in this scenario which ultimately leads to poor performance of employees as they lose interest in organizational operations.
Literature emphasize that management should immediately pay attention to this situation and action should be taken to increase this commitment. Different ways has been suggested in this regard by the researchers. Job redesign and empowerment are two important factors which may help the organization to improve the employee's organizational commitment (Mrinalini & Nath, 2000; Patterson, West, & Wall, 2004; Parish, Cadwallader, & Busch, 2008).
Researchers has emphasized that job redesign provides employees an opportunity to align their work according to the newly adapted technology (Appelbaum & Grigore, 1997). Employees are helped through job redesign to get acquainted with the new technology. They become used to with the technology earlier with lesser level of difficulty. Soon they will become aware of the usefulness of the new technology and they will remain committed to the organization.
The other important factor is empowerment. Many of the researchers are of the view (Henderson & Clark, 1990; Jarrar & Zairi, 2002; Pinsonneault & Kraemer, 2002; Chen, et al. 2003; Swailes, 2004; Soderquist, et al., 2010) employee show their resistance to technological change because they think that they will lose power with the arrival of new technology. This sense of losing power will lower down their commitment with the organization. This commitment can be enhancing by delegating more power to employees and involving them in the decision making process. By doing this, employee will have a sense of ownership in the organization which will help to increase employee commitment with the organization.
The main focus of the researchers has been on the manufacturing firms bringing a technological change in their production processes and construction firms (Henderson & Clark, 1990; Kumaraswamy, et al., 2004; Love & Edward, 2005). Researchers have paid low attention to service providing firms. Moreover researchers (Evan, et al., 2002; Cheng, et al., 2003; Parish, et al., 2008; Jain, et al., 2009) has been examining the role of leadership during/after a technological change to reduce the resistance through training or other ways. The factors like job redesign and empowerment have been left unattended in the required manner by these researcher.
This era is a technological era. The ever changing technology has facilitated the organization in a number of ways. Without adapting to this changing technology it is very difficult for organizations to ensure their survival. Increased market competition has exacerbated this need to change.
The literature has shown that many of the organization failed during a change process (Tushman and Anderson, 1986; Henderson and Clark, 1990; Wachter et al., 1994; Tushman and O'Reilly, 1996; Law 2009). One of the major reasons of the failure of organizations is poor management of employees of the organization after a technological change (Narvekar & Jain, 2006). Many of the incident proved that organization failure is not due to technological failure but the poor management of people (Appelbaum & Grigore, 1997). Organizations think about the effect of change on performance of the organization but ignore its impact on employees of the organization (Parish et al., 2008). So organizations need to consider the possible reactions of employee during deciding about any technological change.
No technology can produce the desired results without effective and efficient workforce. Technology requires people for its functioning (Krell, 2000). Organization may recruit new employees and downsize the old ones but this strategy would not be worthwhile strategy (Pinsonneault & Kraemer, 2002). So organizations need to find some other ways in order to increase organizational effectiveness (Blohowiak, 1996). By downsizing employees may lose very much committed and loyal employees and it may also put the other's commitment at stake. Low level of employee commitment is not beneficial for any of the organizations. Employee commitment is a positive behaviour of employee shown towards the organization (Swailes, 2004) . A committed employee is a devoting person. He/she owns the organizational goals. Increased technological changes have increased the mobility of employees from one organization to another (Jain et al., 2009). In this scenario, maintaining employee commitment is going to be a challenge for the organization.
Now how to maintain employee commitment under these circumstances is a question for management. According to Kuo et al., (2010), a technologically changed firm can enhance employee commitment through Job Re-Design and Empowerment.
With a technological change, employees can no longer work in a traditional way. Technology requires more skilled workers. It has made the jobs competency based rather than task based (Soderquist et al., 2010). Jobs are redesigned with view to align workers with the adapted technology. In other words with a job redesign employees jobs are made enriched and more quality oriented (Garg & Rastogi, 2006). Job redesign will provide an increased level of job control and skills, helping organization to maintain employee commitment (Morrison et al., 2005).
H1: Job redesign will positively affect employee commitment.
The second important factor that may help organization to retain committed employees is empowerment. Empowerment refers to involving the employees at lower level in decision making process (Wilkinson, 2001). This involvement will give them a sense of increase responsibility and, most important, the sense of ownership. They will be able to make more timely decisions increasing the overall organizational effectiveness. Empowerment will help employees in many ways to overcome the problems faced to accomplish their many of the tasks (Jarrar & Zairi, 2002). All these outcomes of empowerment will lead towards the increased level of employee's organizational commitment.
H2: Empowerment has a positive relationship with employee commitment with the organization.
The hypothetical model has been given as follows:
Type of Data
This research study is a mixture of primary and secondary data.
Sources of Data
The researcher has studied different past studies in order to prepare the literature review to have a good understanding of all the dimensions of employees' organizational commitment. All the secondary data has been collected from digital libraries, university libraries and internet. Primary data has been collected through a questionnaire.
Unit of Analysis
Unit of analysis in this study is individual.
The questionnaire encompasses all the dimension of taken variables i.e. job redesign, empowerment and employee commitment. These dimensions are defined below:
Job Redesign: The study adopted one of the job characteristics model, proposed by Hackman and Oldham (1976) since many related studies on job design and redesign have been based on this model. The job characteristics model provided measures of the five core dimensions, which are defined as follows:
Skill variety: It refers to the degree to which a job requires a variety of different activities in carrying out the work, which involve the use of a number of different skills and talents of the employee.
Task identity: It refers to the degree to which the job requires completion of a "whole" and identifiable piece of work e.g. doing a job from beginning to end with a visible outcome.
Task significance: It refers to the degree to which the job has a substantial impact on the lives or work of other people, including in the immediate organization or in the external environment.
Autonomy: It refers to the degree to which the job provides substantial freedom, Independence, and discretion of the employee in scheduling the work and in determining the procedure to be used in carrying it out.
Feedback from the job itself: It refers to the degree to which carrying out the work activities required by the job results in the employee obtaining direct and clear information about the effectiveness of his or her performance.
Empowerment: The present study adopted Spreitzer's (1995) psychological empowerment as a motivational construct which comprises four cognition, namely meaning, competence, self-determination, and impact:
Meaning: It refers to the degree to which the employee has a sense of purposes or personal connection about work.
Competence: It refers to the degree to which the employee believes that he or she has the skills and abilities necessary to perform their work well.
Self-determination: It refers to the degree to which the employee has a sense of freedom about how individuals do their own work.
Impact: refers to the degree to which the employee believes that he or she can influence the organizational system in which they are embedded.
Organizational commitment: Based on Meyer and Allen's (1991) three components model of organizational commitment model, three major constructs were considered, namely affective commitment, continuance commitment, and normative commitment:
Affective commitment: It refers to the degree to which the employee's emotional attachment to, identification with, and involvement in the organization.
Continuance commitment: It refers to the degree to which the employee feels attached to the organization based on the accumulation of values side bets such as pension, skill transferability, relocation, and self-investment that co-vary with organizational membership.
Normative commitment: It refers to the degree to which the employee feels obligated to continue his or her employment based on motivation to conform to social norms regarding attachment with the organization.
The questionnaire has been developed by the researcher on the basis of Kuo et al., (2010) scale. All items are rated on 5 point likert scale (5=Strongly Agree to 1 = Strongly Disagree). This questionnaire is comprised of four parts; job redesign, empowerment, commitment and demographics. The adapted scale is a 49 item scale having 23 items for Job Redesign, 15 for empowerment and 11 items for commitment.
Nature of Data
The data used in this study is cross sectional in nature.
The companies in information sector are greatly challenged due to technological challenges (Teece, et al., 1997) so the researcher has chosen the information and telecom industry for collection of data during this study. This is a sector in which technological changes are prevalent. These organizations need skilled and competent employees. The organization that will be surveyed may include: Cell phone companies, internet service providers and companies in the field of media.
Approx 300 employees from different organization located in different cities of Pakistan have been surveyed. These cities include Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Peshawar and Karachi. This sample has been chosen through convenient sampling.