Overview of perspectives/debates
Erik Brynjolfsson’s 1993 paper on productivity paradox introduces central concept - definition The productivity paradox arises as a result of a discrepancy between the expectations associated with technological innovation and the outcomes experienced after implementation. We see a parallel between the learning curve of the productivity paradox and the transition from the neoclassical approach to economic modeling to an information economy. We trace the productivity paradox as it manifests first in the corporate world, then in the digital marketplace, and finally as it rears its head in the socio-cultural context. As digital technology becomes accessible in each new context, lessons from the prior context contribute to a diminished learning curve, indicating that people are becoming more sensitive to the potential for unanticipated externalities, which results in the incorporation of this potential into the economic models that set expectations for the outcomes of innovation. An observed phenomenon in the early age of computing, the productivity paradox is best viewed as a moment of friction in the transition from a manufacturing economy to a knowledge economy. This transition has seen a growth of knowledge workers whose contributions lend themselves to more perfect information, allowing various sectors of the economy to better and more quickly identify and adjust for negative externalities. Thus, as the information economy grows, friction is reduced, productivity ceases to be the only metric of success, and the learning curve shortens as a result of lessons learned by burgeoning industries from the inefficiencies of earlier organizations. The sectors where this transition is most evident are the traditional workplace, e-commerce, and society and culture. Introduce Amazon example as it weaves through the three sectors?
Labor and Management
How does the productivity paradox manifest in the workplace and managerial relationships? Open plan offices: workers with private offices more satisfied than those in open plan offices sound privacy: lack of privacy while having phone conversations, casual conversations with co-workers, overhearing conversations you don’t want to hear, etc (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/24/open-plan-office-study_n_3810538.html) health problems: high stress, blood pressure (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/24/open-plan-office-study_n_3810538.html) Collaboration: groups that are too large or disparate may actually waste time coming to a consensus rather than unilateral decisions being taken (Williamson on simple hierarchies) Email and other digital distractions social networking sites, online games, instant access to information like Wikipedia, catching up on the news are all just a click away from the working window What methods exist to increase productivity in the workplace? That is, what advances have been made since the introduction of computing? alternative office designs allow for cross-pollination of ideas and work processes more fun, community oriented workspace can encourage creativity (as opposed to pure productivity) collaboration software like Asana, Confluence, basecamp, home-grown software, versioning software allow people to work remotely, collaboratively, effectively without ever stepping one one another’s toes inbox handlers and other digital tools apps to triage email, such as Handle, to allow people to worry less about the clerical aspects of their job and focus on the goals they must reach browser plug-ins that block certain distracting websites for pre-determined lengths of time What is the future of work and how will it affect productivity? What is still unknown? telecommuting works for some, but not for all - tradeoffs (http://siliconangle.com/blog/2013/10/14/telecommuters-vs-office-workers-whos-more-productive/) “Those who volunteered to work at home reported improved work satisfaction and experience less turnover, but they also felt that the chance of getting a promotion decreased since they were isolated from other employees.“ has been successful at Yahoo may be simpler in the future through things like teleprescence robots, virtual conferences, collaborative wikis, and non-email communication tools (facebook messenger, gchat, etc that allow instant communication between members of groups to quickly reach a decision) flatter organizations with less hierarchy comes fewer deterrents to sharing and challenging ideas employees feel more empowered to contribute/make a difference greater transparency and therefore greater trust decreasing friction in distance collaboration as software becomes faster, more usable, better at documenting changes emphasis in creative over productivity in the post-industrial economy look to quality, not quantity mismeasurement: output is not the only way to measure success, and even if it were, consistency is very difficult to maintain over the years as the economy changes. Why shouldn’t the metrics change with them?
Are E-commerce and the Digital Market Place Productive for Companies? (http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/46000/46800/46882/Barami_ec_trb.pdf)
How is Productivity Measured? Improving Operational Efficiencies No store creates no traditional overhead costs of heating, lighting, storefront, etc. Distribution and shipping is slowed due to a one-item-at-a-time model. (Possibility of automation?) (http://www.inboundlogistics.com/cms/article/maximizing-productivity-in-e-commerce-warehousing-and-distribution-operations/) Reducing transaction costs. (Specifically in B2B) Increased labor productivity (Specifically in B2B) (ftp://ftp.zew.de/pub/zew-docs/dp/dp0445.pdf) Access to greater number of customers. Open at all times. Creating a Competitive Advantage Curation and personalization. A direct relationship with the customer. (http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/05/personalized-ecommerce-is-already-here-you-just-dont-recognize-it/) Online shopping a less stressful experience for shopper. The best online price will typically succeed Online + Instore options. (In-store Pick-up) What are the outstanding problems and unknowns with digital transactions? Closely tied to viability of nations transportation network Is mass delivery more efficient than individuals driving? Amazon subsidizing USPS to deliver mail on Sundays. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/11/11/amazons-brilliant-plan-to-rescue-the-postal-service-and-disrupt-the-shipping-industry/) Same functionality in countries without a strong mail network Payment Security Issues How does this affect the Marketplace Intelligence-Laden Content User-Generated reviews/photos incorporated into online-buying. Company like Olapic. (http://techcrunch.com/2013/10/17/focusing-on-ecommerce-olapic-gives-retailers-access-to-customer-behavior-across-its-platform/) Network Effect, Swift to rise and fall (http://www.onlineeconomy.org/tag/network-effects) Subscription Commerce/Replenishment as available through E-commerce. (Example - Dollar Shave Club) Future/Alternatives Minimized costs of Returns Loop Commerce, Online gift ordering that lets the recipient choose size, color, etc. (http://techcrunch.com/2013/11/06/ecommerce-gifting-isnt-a-perfect-system-but-loop-commerces-new-product-could-get-it-closer/) Instant Gratification Shutl Startup. Courier Service to deliver within the hour. (http://techcrunch.com/2013/10/22/ebay-acquires-uk-startup-shutl-to-change-the-ecommerce-game-with-one-hour-delivery/) Change in Payments BitCoin Usage. Bitcoin as a payment network, No need for merchants to deal with Banks. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/11/08/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-bitcoin-bubble/)
Definition and measurement How productivity is measured in the socio-cultural context productivity paradox boils down to any discrepancy between the outcomes of some change in the status quo and one’s expectations for how that change will affect a particular effort implementation of ideas, practices, and trends can generate overestimation of progress toward some goal doesn’t have to be only technological innovation Atkins Diet example Define culture as the societal context that influences how meaning is ascribed by an individual Assumptions about how innovations like social media address Maslow’s hierarchy of needs Productivity paradox derives from a failure to account for the value associated with non-monetary rewards when setting expectations for innovation. See Defining the productivity paradox and Factors contributing to the productivity paradox Outstanding problems/issues: other externalities may offset gains from more (and more granular) information Decision making (example: health/QR) decisions about basic needs like shelter, water, and nutrition can be considered some of the elements contributing to health The promise of technological innovation for better health management may be best illustrated by the increasing popularity of the quantified self movement. See Is it really so paradoxical? assumptions about the power of data mining to address health issues Factoring in the opportunity costs of pursuing big data could result in a different resource allocation, which might help individuals satisfy needs better. See Is it really so paradoxical? potential to refrain from medical treatment? Negative externalities See Next-generation personal genomic studies health information and trustworthiness low barriers to entry ensure diverse perspectives trustworthiness issues money still affects exposure/algorithms Safety The introduction of Internet technology has had significant effects on personal safety in both physical and virtual ways See Next-generation personal genomic studies connotes a measure of stability to assuage the instinct to be on guard constantly tradeoffs between innovation benefits and relinquishing control over one’s data gaining insight into one’s health convenient participation in the market interpersonal relationship building the Internet provides more perfect information This information is still controlled by power dynamics Difficult to discern trustworthiness NSA revelations have drawn attention to the insecurity created by innovation accelerates the learning curve Belonging Social media ostensibly was created to help us connect better by eliminating that which confounds our ability to interact: distance and time. See Social networks and the productivity paradox. Online dating signaling is manipulated social media networks work vs. life potential for various identities potential for unexpected information “seepage” from one domain into another are we more connected? mobility creates need for other means of connection detrimental to loyalty (work and non-work) increased isolation Esteem entails a sense of personal achievement how continual measurement affects self-esteem comparisons measures of success online personae create the opportunity to cast oneself in good light for selection by others for jobs, dating, etc. facades Self-actualization state of fulfillment in which an individual knows oneself and interacts with the world in a way that is consistent with his or her sense of self Does technology make it easier for an individual to find fulfillment? See Productivity as art Implications Learning curve trajectory is not as steep as with technological innovation in business and e-commerce NSA revelations More people crowdsourcing and diminishing returns as network expands Reactions to information overload Integration of the potential for externalities into the economic model reassessment of the value of information in light of externalities increases in resistance to Internet ubiquity Oregon retro style
Boundaries for personal information Calls for increased transparency Social media skepticism
Expectations should take into account the other sources of value in our culture. How do the methods and variables we use to assess productivity affect our expectations for technological innovation? See Defining the productivity paradox The ability to encounter an unrestricted reality see Productivity as art
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