Also, look at the requirements for each job. It may indeed be faster to
fill out an 'electronic' form... but the savings may be 'lost' in the
extra time it takes the employee who normally works as, say an accountant,
to master (or at least find their way around) the HR system.
Are the people currently employed in HR both willing and _able_ to take on
more strategic work? If not, and they have to be replaced, there is both
the expense of replacing them, and the lost of organizational memory to
factor into the equation.
Speaking again from my experience in developing retail systems... we made
"data entry" of sales transactions "easy"... so retailers began to add
tasks to the sales person's job... now they open charge accounts, take
payments... This is fine, except that the "enrichment" of the sales clerk
job adds to the cognitive load... sometimes resulting in overload... where
the sales clerk can no longer remember how to do _anything_ well. Service
drops off... customers complain (or worse yet, leave)...
I am, by the way, not against using computers... or redefining jobs... I
only urge people doing it to think about the ramifications in a more broad
way than is usually done.
Bob Nordlinger then provided some very good historical examples of
technology affecting people... ending with...
>There is no doubt that there are short-term dislocations created as skills no
>longer match job needs and learning must take place to bring new skills into
>line. Often the people with the old skills are not the same ones who can
>provide the new skills. However the long-term trend seems clearly one of
>better use of human talent on more valuable tasks.
>Does anyone using this mail group prefer to be a copy clerk? Type with
I have a wonderful button put out by someone whose name I've forgotten...
it says "Know thy users... for they are not you".
While I may be wrong, I suspect that the list members have, as a group,
characteristics that would make them ill suited to copy clerk jobs. But
we must be careful about rearranging the world so that all the jobs need
to be filled by people like us... because all the people _aren't_ like us.
Some didn't finish high-school. Some can't read. Some may have learning
disabilities... or physical disabilites. Maybe they're in the "average"
catagory... finished high school but have no college or vocational
training. If we aren't careful there will be a few jobs for highly
skilled,educated people... and some jobs requiring manual labor, but no
"thinking"... and no jobs for the vast number of people who fall "in the
Maybe this is what we want... but at least we should be _aware_ of what we
As to Alexia's question "Is this positive or negative?" I don't have
enough information to answer. And if I did, it would still be a personal
opinion. I would prefer to ask "Have we considered what this will do to
the whole "system"... and is this what we _want_?
My apologies for the length... and for raising more questions than
providing answers... I think the subject is well worth the thought of as
many people as will consider it.
K.C. Burgess Yakemovic email@example.com
Group Performance Systems phone/fax 404-395-0282
4776 Village North Court,
Atlanta GA 30338 USA