Technology as a factor in the internal environment is much more important than many people think. Most people view technology as something related to inventions and machines, such as semiconductors and computers. However, the sociologist Charles Perrow, who writes a lot about the impact of technology on organization and society, describes technology as a means of transforming raw materials - whether people, information or physical materials - into the products and services sought.
Technology implies standardization and mechanization. That is, the use of standard parts can greatly facilitate the production and repair process. In the modern world, there are very few goods, the production process of which is not standardized.
At the beginning of the XX century. there was such a thing as assembly conveyor lines. Now this principle is used almost everywhere and very much increases the productivity of enterprises.
Technology as a factor strongly influencing organizational effectiveness requires careful study and classification. There are several ways to classify. Consider the classification of Thompson and Woodward.
The classification of technology by Joan Woodward is most famous. It identifies three categories of technology.
1. Single, small-lot or individual production, where only one product is manufactured simultaneously.
2. Mass or large-scale production is used in the manufacture of a large number of products that are identical to each other or very similar.
3. Continuous production uses automated equipment that operates around the clock to continuously produce the same product in large quantities (refining, power plants).
Sociologist and organization theorist James Thompson proposes other three categories of technology that do not contradict the previous three.
1. Multi-tier technology, characterized by a series of independent tasks that must be performed sequentially. A typical example is mass production assemblies.
2. Intermediate technology is characterized by meetings of groups of people, such as customers or customers who are (or want to) be interdependent.
3. Intensive technology is characterized by the use of special techniques, skills or services, in order to make certain changes in the specific material entering production.
These two classifications do not really diverge from each other. For example, multi-tier technologies are equivalent to mass production technologies, and intermediary technologies occupy an intermediate place between individual technologies and mass production technologies. Differences in these classifications are primarily caused by different areas of specialization of authors. That is, Woodward mainly engaged in industrial technology, and Thompson covering all types of organizations.
You can not call any one type of technology better than another. In one case, one type is acceptable, and in another case the opposite one is suitable. People determine the ultimate suitability of this technology when they make their consumer choice. Inside the organization, people are an important decisive factor in determining the relative relevance of a particular task and the content of operations to selected technologies. No technology can be useful and no task can be performed without the cooperation of people who are the fifth internal variable.
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