AUCKLAND – New research by a New Zealand institution has turned the table on those who say IT is bad for the quality of work-life and job satisfaction.
The research, led by Professor Ted Zorn of the Waikato University Management School and presented in the U.S. in May, has found that, in general, ICT has a positive impact on work-life quality.
Those whose workplaces have experienced significant ICT adoption report being more satisfied with their roles, their pay and their job security.
The research also found that the more time people spend working on computers in the workplace, the more favorably they perceived the impact of ICT. Further, the more they use ICT, the less they perceive their jobs as monotonous. The survey-based study also found the more time people work on computers at home, the more they perceive that they are satisfied with their roles, pay, and autonomy.
“While the amount of variance accounted for in these results is not large, it nevertheless is a striking pattern of findings given the generally gloomy picture painted in the literature regarding the impacts of ICTs on employees’ well-being,” the research report says.
However, the news is not all good.
“Those who reported that their employers had adopted significant ICT perceived that work had become more pressured and more closely supervised. Similarly, the more time people work on computers in the workplace, the more they perceived that they experience pressure in their work,” the report says.
That also applies to people who work at home. The more people work on computers at home, the more they perceive that they have experience increased pressure and remote work. Additionally, those who spend more time working on computers at home are less likely to report being satisfied with workload and security.
The authors, including Chris Hector and John Gibson in addition to Zorn, warn that the data analysis reported is preliminary. “However, the initial pattern of findings is provocative in both its consistency with extant literature — that is, in regard to the effect of ICT on work intensification — and its inconsistency– particularly, the finding that those workers impacted most by ICTs tend to be more satisfied with their roles in the workplace,” it says.