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Since computer terminology can often be one of the biggest stumbling blocks to understanding the world of personal computers,I've tried to make things a bit easier by defining new terms at the beginning of the chapter in they first appear

Thursday, 26 January 2012

OBSERVATIONS ON THE USE OF PERSONAL COMPUTERS BY MANAGERS AND EXECUTIVES

Many managers and executives who are working with personal computers are doing more of the work they used to delegate to their subordinates or secretaries. Higher ranking managers and executives are doing their own word processing, creating and maintaining mailing lists, assembling organization charts, developing budgets for their operating areas, and working on any Computing number of similar types of application programs and databases. Access to personal computers can actually create more work at higher levels in some organizations, among a group of people who traditionally complain about the constraints they feel on the use of their time. There doesn’t seem to be much doubt that personal computers can be powerful tools to help someone better manages their resources. It seems equally true; however, that they can also take over a person’s schedule and rob them of time. For example, the manager or executive who used to draft memorandums or letters in longhand, or by dictation, and then let a secretary set them up, now does all this work on a personal computer. Some say that it saves time, because they can redo or rearrange written information much more efficiently. Caught up in the magic of word processing, however, a few of these people are spending more time than ever setting up the perfect memorandum. One manager has admitted spending over an hour setting up a memorandum on his personal computer, which previously would have only taken 15 or 20 minutes to write and proof. Or, take the manager who spent several hours each day creating and updating her status files, and formatting (or reformatting) various types of reports, sometimes just to see how differently they could look. It didn’t take long for her staff to begin grumbling about her inaccessibility, and wondering what was going on behind her closed door. Then there was the executive who became so smitten by the possibilities of what a personal computer might do that she began ordering and working on new software packages at the rate of one every two or three weeks, to judge “its usefulness for my staff.” This was at a time when hers was the only personal computer in any of her work areas. In many cases, learning also takes place behind a closed door, as the manager or executive tries to learn how to use the technology on his or her own. This can be a frustratingly slow hunt and peck process for those who never learned to type, and who don’t want to be seen as not knowing something as rudimentary as a keyboard. Many of these people are investing large blocks of time working on teaching themselves or trying to develop program, time taken away from the management process.There are those who would argue that this isn’t necessarily hail, because managers need to know how to work personal computers in order to understand how they can be used to get work Personal computers in order to understand how they can be used to get work done. While that is certainly true, there are other ways to accomplish this without the managers investing their own time in actually performing the work itself. This is where training and management education can play an important role. The key question that needs to be addressed for management ranks and above is whether they should be trained on personal computers, or educated as to how they can be used. Managers and executives should be treated as a separate group. Any personal computers curriculum developed for business, industry, or 1oviinnwnt should include a seminar that addresses the issues III 1ersonal computers from the manager’s point of view, and that gives manages  the facts they need to make informed choices.
There are five primary areas of concern that any such seminar should  address:
1. What are the uses of a personal computer?
2. What does management  really need to know about computers
3. How do managers learn what they need to know?
4. How does the use of a personal computer fit into an individual's management or operating style?
5. What are the organizational issues and human ramifications of placing personal computers in the manager's work areas?
Personal computers have the potential for handling a great variety of tasks quickly and efficiently. They are emerging as a new force in (lie workplace, and their arrival foreshadows changes in the way information is shared, decisions are made, business l conducted, politics are played, and organizations are managed. Vet, they also need to be kept in their proper perspective. For this group of individuals, that means that personal computers should be viewed as extensions of the management process that need the same careful time and attention as any other resource under their control.


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