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Mid-afternoon, Mary's having a conversation with her laptop and a spreadsheet that is causing her trouble. "I just did save it you stupid thing", she says, turning to the researcher and muttering under her breath, "I hate computers". "Right, I'll try again ..." Ethnographic quote from latest iSociety report Getting by, not Getting on--Technology in UK Workplaces
The potential of information and communication technology (ICT) to transform the world of work is enormous. Yet, its potential in its current state is not fully utilised, which is why the next big thing will be about the social impact of technologies and organisational adaptation in the workplace rather than about the technology itself. It is an open secret that over the past two decades, billions of pounds have been poured into new technology in the hope of transforming workplaces, industry performance and working life. But if our recent report on the UK is anything to go by, technology's potential to make work more effective remains largely unfulfilled. IT-at the moment-helps people get by, but it does not help them get on. The powerful tools of ICT continue to be blunted by unrealistic expectations, organisational inertia and a failure of leadership. For the future of UK and EU competitiveness, it remains imperative to establish what is going on in European businesses and how the situation can be improved.
The Work Foundation's iSociety Programme has had a team of researchers looking under the bonnet of eight very different British …