Рефераты. How telecommunication change the defenition of work \Telework\

How telecommunication change the defenition of work \Telework\


how modern telecommunication change the definition of work

In 1876 Alexander G. Bell created the thing that changed our world.

Changed again…

And it wasn't the last change in the modern history. Later in the XX

century the modulator-demodulator also known as modem was created and

really started the Telecommunications Age. First computers were connected

together and the Net started growing.

In the last 20 years the lifestyle changed very much. Cellular phones and

electronic mail changed the way we communicate, satellite TV and WWW

sites changed the way we get the news and on-line shops and junk e-mail

changed the way we buy products and do our business. Work, social life,

politics – the telecomms are coming everywhere, bringing freedom,

equality and productivity. Now I will try to go deeper into these


Since the end of XIX century, when Marx wrote his famous book, "Capital",

the economic meaning of work has changed dramatically. For Marx labour

was nothing more but another resource like capital or land.

In XX century manager shows a bit more respect to employees. They are now

individuals, who need to develop themselves and should be treated and

motivated in right way.

XX century brought us a new idea: workers are paid for their time. Later,

in mid-sixties, it was thought that companies pay their employees for

their skills and personal qualities. Among those qualities were

creativity, company loyalty. For those companies that eventually switched

to new system, it became very difficult to properly measure worker's

contribution to company's results. These companies try to increase

workers morale, motivate them, because it is evident: if workers don't

want to work, they won't work. Or at least, the results will be extremely

poor. That's why in addition to motivation by money, managers try to

create a feeling of mutual trust, belonging to company and common


What new brings telework to this field? First it is ease of control and

measurement. Results in electronic form can be easily archived, analysed

by computers, forwarded for checking and copied. Next, all information

about time and efforts spent is available. Another thing is that fixed

time-based salaries are gone. The company will no longer care so about

who and how much spent on a task. This will become a question of personal

choice. Now everyone will be given a freedom to decide whether to work or

to have a rest. This can differentiate workaholics from ordinary lazy

people. Right now there are same rules for everybody. Rarely a company

wants to have a lot of part-time workers. We cannot imagine a worker

coming to factory when he is in the right mood. But with distant jobs you

can have workers switching every now and then. We can even dream about

perfect labour marketplace with contracts signed electronically for

several hours. The psychological problems of switching jobs will be

minimised. The retirement will no longer mean break of social relations,

because they aren't based on physical presence in the company HQ or at

the factory.

This system of personal freedom have the potential to eradicate

unemployment by allowing real-time communications and negotiation between

employers and employees, leading to equilibrium labor price.

If you can measure the result of an office work, you can evaluate if it

worth paying the money for result you get. Or the jobs are completely

useless and ineffective. This can lead to boost in productivity. In

telework usually people are paid for results, not for time. This

motivates them to get better results, thus increasing productivity again!

On the other hand, regardless of employee's results, the company always

gets what if pays for! Combined efforts of ten people can cost the same

for the company if they have the same effect. And now together with

perfect labour market we come to what Marx was talking about – labour is

just the same as machines or land. The motivation is the problem of the

person himself! And with a freedom of work choice motivation is not the

problem. With telework one can easily apply for the job he likes and the

company can review all candidates just comparing the results of their


Thanks to the efforts of many people all over the world the Net commerce

and work is still not limited as their off-line counterparts. Zero taxes

attract more and more of the trade turnover. The Stock Exchange and

Currency Exchange systems already inculcated in the telecommunication

world. With decreased transaction costs, development of

telecommunications and computers the efficiency of these financial

spheres is quickly increasing.

Electronic auctions have already came to reality. On AOLtm auctions there

are 600 000 bids in different categories now. Surplus directtm and tens

other electronic auctions are now in the Internet. This is a dream of

classic economists – perfect market with all relevant information freely

available. With continuous decrease in transportation costs this can make

every market global and make competition perfect, stopping the

monopolies. One example is Microsofttm. Can we imagine that it will not

succeed in stopping alternative OSes and browsers several years ago,

without Internet? Free communications greatly increase the

competitiveness of any product. Most on-line shops can offer lower prices

for all products than their off-line colleagues can.

Distant work makes sexual and race discrimination very difficult and

almost impossible. How can you behave badly toward your colleague if you

only read his e-mails? How the program written by Chinese is worse than

the one written by French? And all harassment will be logged, documented

and backed up on a tape drive to be used in the Court.

Also it will provide new unique opportunities for unable people. Nobody

will knew about his inabilities and nobody will keep him away from the


But the problem with results measuring still remains. How can we train

managers and change their minds in order to deal with telework? What I

think is that all internal relations need to be built on a completely new

basis. The basis of mutual respect and trust. How can "white collars"

remain superior over a worker if they are communicating over the computer

network? How superiority can survive in the environment where both worker

and manager have the same access to information? I am sure this is

impossible without personal pressure of managers. So, this will surely

lead to a democratisation in the work.

Next problem is that telework isn't as universal as we want. It isn't

possible for any job: for example, you won't agree with a distant driving

of your taxi in rush hour. The control is necessary when human lives

depends on the worker. And until we are not sure that communications will

be 100% error free, we cannot avoid physical presence of worker. An

example is distant control of an aircraft. Modern aircrafts can take off

and land without anybody on board, but human pilots should be available

for emergency case. Several pilots in the airport could work for tens of

aircrafts, helping them to take off and land safely, then giving several

hours of direct flight to a machine. But the storm can terminate the

communications and lead to human deaths in non-controllable plane. This

shows us how careful we need to be with a new power that computers and

communications give us.

In some areas we can't cope without live human being, but… The situation

changes. Right now the technologies are available that can change the

whole global economy. I mean telesales. This includes all TV

presentations, on-line stores, direct mailing. There was a bad idea of

paying too much attention to a customer. In the shop there is always a

sales manager, available for questions, but most time doing nothing. And

he cannot new everything about all the products he is supposed to sale.

The situation is different in a modern on-line store. All the information

about the product is available in clear form. This can be a multimedia

presentation, a chart, table or just a plain text. If additional

information is necessary, then the customer can initiate chat session

with a competent person, or ask for an e-mail response. Minimised costs.

Maximised convenience.

Other spheres of physical presence are special services, including police

and ambulance, rescuers and fire-fighters. All these jobs require a

trained strong and hardy person, physically presenting on the place.

Next problem is socialising. As we know, work is one of the most

important places together with family and school, where socialising goes.

In some countries this is the main place of social interaction and the

result work itself plays only secondary role. The contact is much more

important. In countries with strong traditions of corporativism this is

especially important. The person will be not able to identify himself

with appropriate social group.

Another problem is quite specific, but isn't less serious. Some American

physicians believe that obesity is a kind of epidemic in the US! Imagine

what can happen with Americans if telecommunication will replace

conventional lifestyle.

Telecommunications will make high-quality education accessible for

everybody. The costs for giving a virtual lecture to one student and one

thousand of students are equal. This unimaginable scale economy (and as a

result – marginal costs of zero) will greatly increase educational level.

The standards will be almost the same in all countries thus making the

workers worldwide more interchangeable. This will back up the

globalisation tendency. And strong arising competition from newly

educated people of third world will increase the desire to study among

American and European students.

To sum it up, I believe that next millennium will bring us to new

horizons of social, political and economical interaction in the virtual

world of modern telecommunicating. This tool offers us not only hope for

economic prosperity but also a possibility to participate more in the

community activities and decision-making in the political system. This

even makes possible the direct democracy, which was left in the times of

ancient Athens. Created by the scientists – the most intelligent and

advanced part of our society, Internet offers equality, freedom of speech

and unique possibilities for self-realisation.











The concept of work

The drawbacks

Telework –

a new hope



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