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René Van Someren

Technology vs. knowledge

How to address IT issues?

Posted April 1st, 2012
Adapted from: "Teleworking: To what extent can it fulfil its promises?

Many computer users complain about unfriendly computer equipment or -applications. Limited systems' reliability and data unavailability too, are sometimes subjects of heated discussion and causes of aggravation. On the other hand, IT service providers tend to claim that computer users are too often inapt to utilise the equipment and applications and point out user inaptitude as a major cause of IT issues. Who is right?

As computer users increase their knowledge and skills relevant to the technical means at their disposal, they consider those means to be more suitable to their needs. On the other hand: existing technology that maximally matches computer users' current knowledge and skills may not provide the functionality the pertaining organisational processes require. This has been quite obvious to some, and is confirmed by empirical research: Knowledge and skills on the one hand, and the perception of having suitable technical means at one's disposal on the other hand, strongly correlate with one another. It is unlikely that this scientific confirmation of such an obvious fact will stop either party from blaming the other, but it might help inspire managers to focus more on increasing their workers’ relevant knowledge and skills to lower the amount and impact of organisational process interruptions.

Incidentally, within organisations, there are also positive correlations between, on the one hand, relevant experience, knowledge and schooling, and on the other hand:

  • The appreciation for leadership received;

  • Emotions and mood of organisation members;

  • The perception of trust in one another;

  • The interaction between colleagues and between leaders and their followers.

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