Qatar is one of the fastest developing economies in the Middle East and North Africa region. In this study, the primary goal of the researcher was to investigate and discuss the impact of using technology, especially in the communication sector, on local Qatari organizations. The study relied on both primary and secondary data sources to obtain the needed information. Qualitative research design was selected as the most appropriate method of analysing primary data collected from the sampled audience. The finding reveal that governmental and non-governmental institutions are embracing emerging technologies to help improve their efficiency, cut cost of operation and improve customer relations.
The study has also identified other benefits of technology to the local firms. Unlike in the past when the management had to use time-consuming communication approaches such as letters and memos, it is not easy to contact employees using Facebook or WhatsApp and get an instant response. The finding reveals that despite these benefits of technology, it also comes with challenges that should not be ignored. Cyber insecurity is the biggest challenge that was identified. The ability of techno-savvy criminals to have unauthorized access to a company’s database is a major concern that also needs attention.
Technology has become an integral part of organizations in the current society. In the business world, firms are under immense pressure to deliver results and outdo their competition in the market. They are keen on improving their productivity and efficiency as they lower the cost of production. According to Rieder (2015), emerging technologies offer them the perfect platform to achieve success despite the existing environmental challenges.
One of the aspects of organizational management where technology plays a critical role is in the communication sector. In the past, organizations heavily relied on traditional forms of sharing information such as face-to-face communication, use of letters, or memos placed in noticeboards. However, these forms of communication are becoming less effective in an environment where time has become a crucial resource. Firms want to meet tight deadlines for the benefit of their clients, and they cannot afford to use some of these traditional forms of communication. As such, it is becoming increasingly important to embrace the modern way of sharing information that is time sensitive.
Qatar has one of the fastest developing economies in the region. According to Al-Thani et al. (2018), the government has been supportive of the private sector investment as a way of improving economic growth. It has also invested heavily in infrastructural development, especially in the sectors of transport, communication, security, health, and social services. As such, it has been an attractive investment destination for regional and international businesspersons keen on taking advantage of the enabling environment. The political stability of the country is another factor that is attracting investors because they are assured of an environment where there is law and order.
In such an enabling environment, it is expected that competition would be stiff because of the high number of firms in the local market. To manage this competition, firms are keen on delivering high quality products within the shortest time possible and at very low cost to maximize their profits and attract a pool of customers. Emerging technologies offers these firms operating in Qatar the unique opportunity to achieve these goals. In this paper, the researcher seeks to investigate the impact of using technology in Qatari organizations, especially in the field of communication.
The importance of using technology is obvious to many people in the current workplace environment irrespective of their age. However, introducing a new technology in an organization can be a challenging process. Resistance to change is one of the main challenges that stakeholders face when they try to implement change within a company. As Holloway (2014) states, it would be expected that everyone would support a new system that promises improved performance. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. There is always the fear of the unknown that make people to reject change instead of embracing it (Subramanian 2017).
Some people feel that they would lose their positions when a new technology is introduced. They feel that their services will not be needed anymore. Others feel that the new technology may introduce practices new to them, rendering their experience irrelevant in the firm. Another group fear change because they believe the new system may have unforeseen challenges that the management is not explaining in clear terms. Such fears would make them to reject change and to take deliberate actions that would jeopardize successful implementation of emerging technologies.
Generational gap has been identified to be a major factor that cannot be ignored when introducing change in an organization. Young techno-savvy workers find it easy embracing emerging technologies at work. They are flexible and believe that they can make a difference in their organizations with the help of new inventions (Quinones and Tian 2016). On the other hand, the elderly workers who have been in employment for decades fear emerging technologies.
They have gained experience undertaking specific responsibilities in a traditional approach. As such, it is not easy to train them on how to use some of these technological tools in a simple way as one would do when handling the younger workers. The problem that many companies face is that they cannot ignore this section of workers because of their wealth of experience (Ahmed and Hamdan 2015). Their concerns have to be taken into consideration when introducing technology in the field of communication among entities in Qatar.
Introducing new technologies in an organization may have negative consequences to an organization if the necessary steps and fundamental issues are ignored. Audretsch, Link and Walshok (2015) observe that not all new technologies are of great benefit to an organization. Some of them may have disruptive impact on a firm. Others may be vulnerable to external attack. Cyber-attack is currently a major concern to many companies around the world.
Techno-savvy criminals have perfected their ability to gain unauthorized access to digital databases of organization for selfish interests. They can steal or manipulate crucial data within a short period. Such actions may have devastating consequences on an organization. In some cases, unscrupulous employees may assist these criminals, especially those who feel that the new system is affecting their work. These issues must be addressed before a firm makes the decision to introduce technology in its operations.
Significance of the Study
Governmental and non-governmental organizations in Syria need to embrace technology as a tool that can help improve efficiency and lower cost. It is unfortunate that sometimes a section of stakeholders consider resisting change because of unfounded fear and personal reasons. This paper will explain benefits of emerging technologies and the way managements can deal with cases of resistance among its employees.
Bleistein (2017) explains that when planning to implement a new system within a company, it is important to involve all the stakeholders. They need to understand the relevance of the new system and the way it will benefit the organization. Such knowledge would eliminate fear and the possible resistance to change. According to Tawadrous, Antiado, and Castillo (2016), when employees understand why it is necessary to introduce emerging technologies in their organization, they are likely to support it. These employees would understand their new role under the new system, the need for training, and the way they can help improve the overall performance of the organization.
The study will also explain to the managers and policy makers in different organizations the importance of technology to local organizations. According to Kogon, Blakemore and Wood (2015), it is common to find cases where those in the management are responsible for resisting change. One of the common reasons why those in the management would resist the introduction of new technology is the associated cost. In an effort to lower the production cost, these managers would be comfortable using old technology because they do not want to inflate expenses. Others feel that they have to spend a lot on training employees on how to use the new technology.
Some government officials would avoid new technology if they feel it would render people jobless. The study explains to these managers the benefits of these new technologies. Despite the perceived high initial cost associated with the installation, Huemann (2016) explains that the long-term benefits of introducing new technologies outweigh the challenges. Addressing these concerns would help increase the rate at which local organizations in Qatar embrace emerging technologies in their operations.
Research Question and Objective
Developing a research question is important in defining the direction of the study. It helps to identify data that should be collected from both primary and secondary sources. According to Benn, Edwards, and Williams (2014), the nature of the research questions depends on the research design that one has selected for the study. In this paper, qualitative research was considered appropriate for understanding the impact of using technology in Qatari organizations. When using qualitative research design, it is necessary to use open-ended questions. The following is the primary research question for the study:
What is the impact of using technology on Qatari organizations?
The researcher also developed supportive questions to help in this investigation. They include the following:
- How can organizations in Qatar use emerging technologies to improve internal and external communication?
- How can local firms eliminate resistance to change as a way of promoting integration of technology in their normal operations?
- What is the role of different stakeholders in promoting change within an organization?
Objectives of this study were developed based on the research questions above.
The dissertation has five main chapters. The first chapter of this paper is the introduction. It provides a background of the study, the research problem, significance of the research, and research questions. The chapter also outlines the objectives that should be realized in this project. The second chapter focuses on the review of the literature. It discusses the findings made by other scholars in this field and identifies the knowledge gap that needs to be addressed through this study. The third chapter is the methodology. It explains the method that the researcher used to collect and analyse data from various sources.
Challenges faced in this study and ethical issues observed are addressed. The forth chapter is the analysis of the primary data collected from the sampled participants. The study used qualitative approach to analyse data from these participants. The next chapter is the discussion. In this section, the researcher integrates information obtained from both primary and secondary sources to address the primary question in this study. The final chapter is the conclusion. It provides a summary of the findings and recommendation for policy and future studies.
The previous chapter provided a background to this study. In this chapter, the goal is to review the existing literature related to this topic to understand what other scholars have found out in their investigations. According to Choi, Jeong and Lee (2014), the primary goal of a researcher is to identify the existing knowledge gaps in a given field and to address them with the view of enriching data. Reviewing strengths and weaknesses of often help in identifying the research gaps. Impact of using technology on organizations is an area that has attracted the attention of many scholars for the past several decades. The researcher reviewed their findings to help inform this study.
Emerging Technologies in the Workplace
Technology has been an integral part of organizations for decades, with the only difference being the fact that it is changing over time. The technology that companies used about five decades ago is different from that which is currently in use. However, Biech (2016) says that every time a new technological concept is introduced, many may view it as a complex system that may have disruptive effect in the business environment.
The emerging technologies are making it easier to conduct various activities in the workplace environment. As Hughes (2016) observes, every new technology has its strengths and weaknesses. Whenever a company seeks to introduce a new technology in its operations, it is important for the management to understand its benefits and challenges associated with it. It can then weigh the benefits against the challenges to determine the relevance of embracing the new concept. Hakim (2016) advises that companies should always be dynamic enough to understand how to change from one system to another at an appropriate time. Such changes help to eliminate stagnation at a time when other firms are embracing new systems.
Traditional Approaches of Communication
Effective internal and external communication is critical for every company that seeks to achieve success in the market. According to Carvalho (2015), a firm would need a communication system for its employees, customers, shareholders, government, members of public, and all other relevant stakeholders. One of the most common traditional communicating approaches is the use of letters. Using official letters, one was expected to articulate issues relevant to the organization to the relevant party. The use of letters is still considered the standard way of passing an official communication in an organizational context.
Although the use of letters is still popular, many people consider this traditional form of communication to be time consuming. The rate at which changes are emerging in the field of communication, it is likely that the use of letters would become uncommon among organization in the next few decades.
The use of telephone has also been common for decades. Karkouti (2016) explains that telephones have been popular because of the instant response that one gets from the recipient of the message. It makes it possible for the two individuals to discuss an issue, address possible differences, and to conclude by the end of the discussion. However, one of the main challenges associated with this form of communication is that it may not be effective in mass communication.
It remains a common form of sharing information between executives in modern organizations. The use of pagers, memos, and posters has also been common traditional forms of communication. These traditional forms of communication are giving way to modern forms of communication (Gao, Chai and Liu 2018). The emergence of social media platforms has revolutionized the way information is passed from one entity to another. It is important for organizations to monitor such trends and understand when it is appropriate to change from one approach to another.
Factors Motivating the Use of Technology in Organizational Communication
The use of technology in organizational communication is likely to get more sophisticated than it is currently. According to Hana (2015), the changes witnessed in many governmental and non-governmental organizations are driven by technology. Technology makes work simple and standardized, and the local Qatari organizations must understand how to transform based on the changes in the technological environment. It is important to understand specific factors motivating the use of technology in modern organizations.
Efficiency. Efficiency is one of the most important driving forces that make organizations to embrace technology in their communication systems. Organizations want a system they can trust to deliver information in its original form within the shortest time. Some of the traditional forms of communication such as the use of letters are becoming less popular because of the time it takes to deliver it and get a response. Some of the new forms of communication offer a perfect opportunity to share information within a short period and in an effective way. Others have introduced end-to-end encrypted form of communication to ensure that third parties cannot have access to information being shared.
Cost Cutting. The issue of cost is another factor that defines the ability of a firm to move from one communication system to another. In an environment where firms are under pressure to deliver results, there is always the need to cut the cost of operations (Kotter 2014). Firms are using various strategies to eliminate wastage and improve productivity. Time wastage can sometimes lead to inflated cost of operations. Delays in making critical decisions and indecisiveness on the part of top managers can be costly. Having the relevant information at the right time makes it easy to for these managers to address important issues with no delays, which means that important processes such as production would not be interrupted.
Competition. Competition has become another major driver for change in organizations around the world. According to Pauleen and Wang (2017), positive competition has proven to be beneficial to firms and customers alike. As companies struggle to meet their customers’ needs in the best way possible, they are forced to be creative in their service delivery. They have to develop systems and structures, which are superior to that of their market rivals. These companies must learn how to deliver the best result using limited resources. Technology offers them the perfect opportunity to achieve these goals using their tight budget (Nicholas and Steyn 2017). Firms are using emerging technologies in the communication sector to ensure that they can communicate easily with their customers whenever it is necessary.
The Impact of Technology on Organizational Communication
Technology has a huge impact on organizational communication if it is implemented in an appropriate way. According Joseph (2010), when the social media platform emerged as a popular means of communication, many top executives dismissed it as a means of communication for the idle teenagers and youths in college. Its potential was hugely underrated. However, that is no longer the case. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms have proven to be critical for marketers in the modern society. Many companies currently have their social media platforms that allow them to communicate with their customers. Clark (2017) argues that one of the biggest impacts of technology on organizational communication is the ease of engaging customers.
Unlike traditional approaches such as letters where getting instant feedback from customers was difficult, the social media allows companies to engage their clients in constructive debates that would help improve quality of products. It is easy to collect surveys about the company’s products and brand. However, Nwankpa and Roumani (2014) warn that top executives should not ignore potential threats that also exist. Unscrupulous individuals working with competitors or for selfish gains can use the social media to defame the image and products of a firm. It is easy to spread a negative or misleading message about a firm on the social media. The management should be ready to deal with both positive and negative effects of communication technology.
Working Concepts and Conceptual Framework
In this study, the working concept is the impact that technology has on organizational communication. The study seeks to identify specific effects, both positive and negative, of embracing emerging technologies on an organization’s communication system. The concept defined the basis upon which this study was based. The review of the literature made it possible to understand how organizations are dealing with the issue, especially cases of change resistance among senior members of the society.
The conceptual framework developed in this study shows factors that motivate introduction of emerging information technologies in a given organization and the possible impact that it would have. As shown in the model in figure one below, factors such as creativity, open communication among employees in different levels of management, and investment in research leads to regular introduction of new technologies. In turn, the new technologies improve communication, coordination of activities, productivity, and it eliminates time wastage. As such, despite the challenges that may be associated with the new technology, it is worth embracing it.
The generational gap has been a major issue when it comes to the issue of implementing emerging technologies within an organization. According to Andrea, Gabriella and Tímea (2016), it would be expected that stakeholders would easily support new technologies as long as it promises to have positive changes within an organization. However, people are often weary of change. There is always the fear of the unknown. The situation if often reflected in situations where the management makes the announcement about the planned major changes. The generational gap analysis may help in explaining the ease with which certain people are willing to embrace change in an organizational setting. From traditionalists to the millennial, it necessary to understand how these people responds to the need to embrace new technologies.
Traditionalists. The traditionalists, also known as the silent generation, are individuals born before 1945 (Andreoletti and Howard 2018). They come after the lost generation and before the baby boomers. Most of these people are already retired, but for those who are still active in the corporate and political arena, they hold influential positions that allow them to make crucial decisions about their organizations. They are the corporate directors and executive chairpersons of these entities. Clark (2017) explains that traditionalists are often uncomfortable with the emerging technologies. Their age and experience in specific fields makes them less flexible.
They prefer undertaking specific tasks the traditional way, which is easy for them to understand. It is not easy to convince them to embrace new technological concepts. The problem is that they hold positions of power, and as such, they must be convinced about the appropriateness of a new concept for it to be implemented in a firm they head. Al-Sada (2016) recommends that when it is necessary to introduce a new form of communication to this group, care should be taken to prepare them adequately before the actual process of implementation. They need to understand the benefit of the new concept, the way they can easily fit in, and any challenges that they may face in the process. It may be necessary to help them adjust to the new system to ensure that they would support its implementation.
Baby Boomers. The baby boomers are those born between 1946 and 1964 (Beech and MacIntosh 2017). This was soon after the Second World War when many western countries, especially the United States, started experiencing a rapid economic growth. A number of them are already in retirement, but some are still active in the corporate and political platforms. Like traditionalists, these people hold senior managerial positions in their respective organizations (Kornish and Hutchison-Krupat 2016).
As such, they influence the ability of an organization to embrace emerging technologies in the field of communication. Because of their advanced age, these people tend to be less flexible to change. They appreciate the significance of moving from one system to another, but they feel comfortable maintaining traditional approaches of undertaking their duties. These people played a major role in defining some of the common technologies, which are in use today and would prefer retaining them.
However, new systems are emerging and they have to appreciate the need to adjust accordingly. According to Parsons (2016), baby boomers are known for their entrepreneurial spirit and the willingness to spend a lot of time at work to achieve specific goals. However, they do not perform well in terms of change management. It means that in an organizational setting, stakeholders should find a way of helping them to understand new technological concepts that can help improve their productivity.
Generation X. Individuals in this generation were born between 1965 and 1976 (Bleiklie, Enders and Lepori 2017). They bridge the gap between the baby boomers and the millennial. Currently, they hold senior managerial positions in their respective firms and as such, make critical decisions that may have significant impact on the path that their organizations take. They inherited the hardworking attitude of the previous generation, but they are a little more flexible in the workplace. They appreciate the need to embrace regular changes in the normal operations of a firm to align its operations with external environmental forces (Manochehri and Al-Esmail 2012).
Generation X plays a critical role of enabling the older generation to understand the modern trends and how they can adopt. At the same time, they try to make the younger employees to understand the rigid nature of the older generation in terms of change management. They are the thread holding these organizations together despite the existence of the generational gap. Schwalbe (2015) observes that while generation X employees are old enough to understand why older workers are afraid of change, they are also young enough to appreciate the changing trends and the preferences of the younger generations.
Generation Y. The generation Y, also known as the millennial, are individuals born between 1977 and 1995 (Dievernich, Tokarski and Gong 2014). The majority of them is in active employment and are holding junior to mid managerial positions in their respective organizations. They are techno-savvy individuals who are willing to take risks as they explore new ways of undertaking specific responsibilities.
They are highly innovating and have been responsible for the creation of most of the currently popular networking platforms (Tan and Perleth 2015). The millennial, unlike the baby boomers and traditionalists, do not believe in spending a lot of time in undertaking a given task. Instead, they heavily rely on technology to make their work simple and less time consuming. They value spending time with family and friends away from work, a trait that was less common among the older generation where the focus was to earn income for the family. These individuals highly value technology as a tool that makes it possible to accomplish tasks within the shortest time possible and with a greater efficiency (Voehl and Harrington 2016). They are flexible in their work and find it easy embracing change.
Generation Z. The last group in this list is generation Z, also known as the Centennials. These individuals were born in 1996 onwards. The majority of them is just getting into employment and as such, holds the lowest positions in their respective organizations. According to Clark (2017), generation Z workers are highly innovative and flexible to change. However, most of their traits at work are significantly different from that of the older generations. These individuals find it difficult concentrating at work. They are heavily addicted to the social media, and Clark (2017) observes that they would not hesitate to visit sites such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube every time they get an opportunity. It becomes a challenge when these individuals spend their precious time on irrelevant activities instead of working.
The fact that they understand and fully embrace emerging communication technologies is of benefit to organizations seeking to integrate emerging technologies. However, it is of concern that these employees would spend most of their times chatting with their friends at a time when they are expected to undertake specific tasks. Some firms are forced to block specific social networking sites to address such problems (Campbell 2014).
However, such a move may not be the best strategy of dealing with the problem because these employees may be required to use the same sites for their official duties. For instance, one may be required to maintain a constant communication with customers through the firm’s official Facebook page. In such a case, the management cannot afford to restrict such sites. These are some of the main challenges associated with some of the modern communication platforms.
Managing the Generational Gap
In the current workplace environment where the older generations have to work together with the millennial and centennials, Sornarajah (2015) believes that it is crucial to find ways of bridging the generational gap. At the top are the older executives who believe in spending a lot of time at work and sticking to tested strategies and systems instead of unpredictable approaches. They are responsible for making policies and approving strategies that their organizations would embrace. At the bottom of the pyramid are generation Y and Z. They are techno-savvy and believe in using innovation as a way of making work easier.
They do not believe in the principle of working hard to achieve the best results. Instead, they have embraced the concept of working smart, and that involves making use of technology and new concepts of undertaking their responsibilities.
The generational disconnect between policy makers and those expected to implement them may cause discord in an organization. On the one hand, older generation may find it difficult to understand why young employees cannot follow simple rules and organizational policies. These older workers followed the same rules when they were young and they expect their junior officers to do the same. On the other hand, the younger generation cannot understand why the policy-makers fail to appreciate the changing workplace environment and the need to adjust accordingly. The burden of reconciling these differences lies with the generation X employees.
They have to help the two extremes find a common ground that is accommodating to everyone. Addressing these generational gaps is essential in enabling a firm to embrace new communication technology that can help them achieve success in the market.
Technology Acceptance Model (TAM)
Technology acceptance model, popularly known as TAM, is one of the information systems theories, which explains the path on how people (users) come to embrace a new technology (Das and Dayal 2016). This concept focuses on two main issues when planning to introduce a new technology, as shown below. The first one is the perceived usefulness of the technology. People tend to embrace a new technology if they are convinced that it would enhance their performance at work. This condition is one of the main factors that would define their willingness to embrace it. The second factor is the perceived ease of use.
The new technology should not require a lot of straining on the part of the user. It is evident that the most important thing when introducing a new technology is how the potential users perceive it. The perception then defines behavioural intentions. When users perceive it as a useful technology that is easy to use, they are likely to have a positive attitude, which would then lead to the actual system use (Clark 2017). In case it is perceived as a complex system with limited value, potential users are likely to reject it. Figure 2 below summarizes the steps in this model.
In this chapter, the researcher has reviewed relevant literature related to the impact of using technology in modern organizations. The main strength of the literature review is that sources used are recently published and they discuss the issue from different perspective. The study has analysed the concept of generational change and its relevance in new technology acceptance within an organization.
However, it is important to appreciate the weaknesses identified, which left a knowledge gap that had to be addressed through the review of literature. The main weakness of the sources used is that they were based on western countries of the United States and parts of Europe. Local scholars are yet to publish books and journal articles on this topic hence it was challenging finding sources based on the local economy.
The socio-political and economic environment in the United States and European countries is significantly different from that in Qatar. As such, it is important to have a study that is based on the local context. The study seeks to address this gap by collecting data from individuals within the country. The only way of achieving the primary goal of this project of explaining the impact of using communication technology on Qatari organizations was to collect primary data from local firms. The next chapter provides a detailed explanation of the method used to collect and analyse primary data from the local stakeholders.
The previous chapter provided a detailed review of literature relating to the impact of using technology in Qatari Organizations. In this chapter, the focus is to provide a detailed explanation of the method used in collecting data from various sources and the approach employed in the analysis process. The chapter discusses research philosophy that defined assumptions made, research approach, and data sources in the study. The method used in primary data collection, the sampling process, the sample size, and data analysis method is also discussed. The chapter ends with an explanation of research constraints and ethical issues faced during the process of collecting, analysing, and presenting data collected from the identified sources.
Defining research philosophy is one of the first steps that a researcher is expected to take when planning to conduct research. The philosophy selected helps in determining assumptions that would guide the process of collecting and analysing data (Sekaran and Bougie 2016). One can opt to use pragmatism, positivism, realism, or interpretivism as the defining philosophy depending on the research goal and objectives. The researcher selected interpretivism as the most appropriate philosophy for the study. The philosophy holds that access to reality is through social construction, and that it is crucial for a researcher to integrate human interest into the study (Pruzan 2016).
The main assumption is that for every study, there is always the human interest that a researcher focuses on, and that the researcher will have their personal opinion regarding it. The philosophy emphasizes the need to use qualitative data analysis approach in a given study.
When collecting data, it is important to identify the different sources of data that would inform the conclusion and recommendations of the study. The sources must be reliable and capable of providing updated information about the issue being investigated. The researcher relied on two main sources of data in this study. The first was the secondary data sources. The study relied on books, journal articles, and specific websites to collect relevant information about the impact of using technology on Qatari organization. As Erlingsson and Brysiewicz (2017) observe, secondary data sources are always important in providing the background information about a given topic.
They make it possible to understand what other scholars have found out about a given area of knowledge and the existing gaps that still need further investigation. Reviewing the literature eliminates cases of duplicating already existing facts (Bell, Bryman, and Harley 2018). Secondary data sources used in this paper formed the basis of the literature review. Primary data collected from a sample of respondents formed the second source of information used in the project. This chapter discusses in details how information was obtained from this sources, analysed, and presented.
Sampling and Sample Size
The use of technology in local organization has enabled many companies to improve their productivity and cut their cost of operation in an environment that is getting increasingly competitive. As such, it is easy to find individuals working in local companies who can explain the importance of technology on their firms. However, Kumar (2014) warns that when selecting participants in a given study, care should be taken to select individuals who have the right knowledge and experience about a given field of study. The information they provide may be relevant to many stakeholders, some of who may use it in making new policies.
As such, reliability and validity of the data they provide should not be compromised. The researcher considered it appropriate to collect data from individuals who are in mid-management positions in the selected Qatari organizations. These individuals were expected to have at least seven years of experience working in these organizations. The researcher believed that with their managerial positions and experience, these individuals could help in explaining the effect that the emerging technologies in the field of communication have on their organization.
When selecting an appropriate sampling method, Devi (2017) advises that one should take into consideration the characteristics of the participants based on what one seeks to achieve. The method should make it possible to identify individuals with the desired traits to be part of the investigation. In this study, the researcher considered judgmental sampling to be the most appropriate way of selecting the participants.
Unlike the simple random method, this approach requires the researcher to select specific people based on the predetermined inclusion/exclusion criteria. The study involved selecting those who have at least seven years of experience in their current organization, and are currently holding mid-managerial positions. The sampling method made it possible to avoid wasting time by sampling individuals who do not meet the inclusion criteria. A sample of 20 participants was considered adequate for the study given the time that was available and the nature of information that had to be collected from them.
Collecting Primary Data
After sampling the participants, the next important step was to collect data from them. The researcher developed a questionnaire that helped in collecting data in a standardized format. The questionnaire had to main parts. The first part captured the demographics of the participants such as their academic background, experience in the workplace, and their current position in their respective organization. This section made it easy to determine whether the participants met the inclusion criteria in terms of their experience and current job description. Determining their academic background also helped in understanding the level of knowledge they have regarding the issue under investigation. The second part of the questionnaire focused on specific questions relating to the impact of using technology on Qatari organizations.
The researcher used phone interviews to collect data from these respondents. It was desirable to conduct a face-to-face interview, but the tight schedule of these participants made it difficult to meet them in a physical location. As such, it was agreed that the questionnaires would be administered through an online interview. Each participant was allowed to select the day and time that he or she would want the interview conducted. Using the questionnaire made it possible to standardize the questions used in the interviews. The majority of the participants had requested that the phone interviews should not be recorded. As such, the researcher only took notes when interviewing them.
When data has been collected from participants, the next important phase is to conduct an analysis. The raw data obtained from participants should be processed so that it becomes meaningful and able to provide a direct answer to the research question. Qualitative research design was considered the most appropriate approach of analysing primary data based on the research question and the aim of the study. The research seeks to investigate the impact of using technology on Qatari organization. It means that it was necessary to provide an explanation about this impact instead of statistics. The study had to explain what the impacts are, why they affect the organization in a given manner, and how the local Qatari firms can take advantage of them to improve their efficiency and productivity.
The questionnaires used in collecting data had open-ended questions. It means that respondents were allowed to proving their answers to each question using their own words instead of a fixed pattern where they have to choose from a list of questions provided. The unstructured questions make it possible for each participant to provide a detailed explanation of an issue based on their personal knowledge and experience. During the stage of data analysis, it was easy to select the patterns and themes from this detailed explanation to help in determining the impact that technology has had on the local organizations in the country. The findings obtained from the analysis were presented in the form of themes.
Research Constraints and Ethical Considerations
When conducting this study, the researcher encountered some constraints, which are worth discussing at this stage of the paper. One of the main challenges that the researcher faced was the inability to meet the participants for a face-to-face interview. Most of them had tight work schedules, making it difficult for them to meet find have time for the interview. The researcher had to rely on phone interviews to collect data from these participants. Some of the participants decided to withdraw from the study after promising that they would find time to participate. The researcher had to find ways of replacing these individuals to ensure that there was adequate number of people participating in this study.
The researcher had to observe ethical considerations when conducting the study. One of the main ethical considerations that the researcher had to observe was to get consent from the organizations and individuals taking part in the study. The firm selected for this study was identified as Company A because of the request for anonymity made by its management. The researcher made a formal request to the management of these institutions to allow their employees take part in this study.
The researcher then contacted specific individuals within these organizations and requested them to be part of the study. They were informed about the voluntary nature of participation in this study. They were presented with consent forms, which indicated that they were at liberty to withdraw from the study at any time in case they were unable to continue being part of the study for any personal or work-related issues.
It was important to protect the identity of participants. According to Worthington and Bodie (2017), in a diversified community, it is common to have cases where people have diversified opinion over specific issues. Some people tend to be intolerant towards those with opinions different from theirs, especially on sensitive political, economic, or religious concerns. As such, it is always advisable to ensure that the identity of participants is protected to avoid cases where they may be victimized at work (Yun, Bliault and Rong 2019). Instead of using names, the participants were assigned codes to help with their identification. They were informed that information collected would not be shared with third parties.
Reflexivity and Research Quality Issues
In this section, the researcher explains the steps taken to ensure that reliability, validity, generalizability of data collected, including the alternative qualitative criteria. Given that the findings and recommendations of the study may influence policies, it was necessary for the researcher to ensure that the outcome of the study is valid. Validity of the secondary data was achieved by selecting specific sources that involved collection of data from specific participants. The researcher made sure that these secondary sources are recent, preferably published within the last five years. Reliability of the study was achieved through triangulation.
The research relied on data from various sources to help identify inconsistencies that might exist in the existing literature. These steps were taken to enhance the quality of the study. It was equally important to ensure that the findings could be generalized in the local context. The primary data collected from the participants reflected issues that organizations in this country face when implementing new technologies irrespective of their industry. As such, the information can be generalized.
When data has been collected from the participants using the approach discussed above, the next important step is to conduct an analysis. Fangel (2018) notes that the analysis method that is chosen should be capable of achieving the set goals and objectives of the study. As explained in the previous chapter, the researcher conducted a qualitative analysis to determine the impact of emerging technologies, especially in the communication sector, on Qatari organization. Data obtained from employees of Company A was process and the results presented as shown in the section below.
Impact of Using Technology on Qatari Organizations
The primary goal of the study was to identify the impact that emerging technologies in the field of communication have on local organization. Participants were encouraged to explain the impact based on their knowledge and personal experiences. The study had to identify both positive and negative consequences of using these emerging technologies. The following are the positive impact of technology on Qatari Organizations based on the information obtained from the participants.
Improved internal and external communication was a common theme that emerged from the analysis of the primary data. Many respondents noted that emerging technologies have made it easy for their companies to communicate with its clients in the market, especially the introduction of social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. In the past, these companies had to send their market representatives to conduct surveys whenever they introduced a new product or wanted specific information from these customers about existing products. However, such information can now be collected with ease without the need for the firm’s representatives to visit these employees. One of the respondents explained this phenomenon as follows:
- Participant 4 said, “With the help of social media platforms such as Facebook, the company is able to understand views of its customers about the products it offers or the quality of service delivery. It is no longer necessary to meet these customers physically.”
Improved communication also makes it easy to clarify any misunderstandings with clients in these platforms. In case the firm realizes that there is a misrepresentation of information among its clients, it can use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram to address such misunderstandings to ensure that its clients have the correct understanding of the firm’s products and services. The ability of the firm to engage customers in online discussion forums also mean that the firm can easily understanding the changing tastes and preferences in the market. It can then use such information to make the right decision on how to adjust its products in the market to achieve specific goals. Another participant elaborated this fact as follows:
- Participant 7 stated, “It is no longer necessary to spend a lot of time to meet customers physically to understand the changing tastes and preferences in the market. The information can be obtained easily in the online platforms, which means that the company will have more time to focus on meeting these needs.”
Improved coordination of activities is another benefit that emerging technologies have on local organizations in Qatar. The respondents explained that their organization would rely on memos and letters to make internal communications. Letters would take long to be delivered to the intended audience and it would not be guaranteed that everyone would ready the memos. These traditional methods of communication were slow and inappropriate in cases when an urgent decision or action had to be made. These weaknesses have been addressed with the emergence of social media platforms. One of the participants explained this phenomenon as follows:
- Participant 2 explained, “The company has a WhatsApp group for employees in different departments. This platform offers opportunity for the management to share important information with the workers on a regular basis.”
The ease with which information is shared in these platforms makes it easy to coordinate activities. Employees can post the progress they are making in a given project and challenges that they face. The project manager and other relevant officers can monitor such communications and offer relevant guidance on a regular basis. The approach has eliminated incidences where one group of employees do not understand what others are doing within a given project. The improved openness means that it is easy to determine when the company is making the right progress towards achieving specific goals in the market. Another participant noted the following
- Participant 14 said, “Improved communication technology has made it possible for the organizations to address internal conflicts with ease. Employees can easily pass their grievances to those in authority through these platforms.”
The traditional management approach that required employees to address their issues to their immediate supervisors made it difficult to address common conflicts that often arise in the workplace. However, the emergence of the social media platforms has made it easy to address such issues within the shortest time possible. Such conflicts would be reconciled within these platforms so that employees can focus their energy on what is important to the firm. Gavidia (2017) explains that top managers can also visit these platforms to understand concerns and issues that employees feel affect them. They can then develop appropriate ways of addressing them to ensure that workers remain satisfied at work.
Reduced cost of operation is another major impact of using technology on Qatari organization. According to Hassan, Marimuthu and Johl (2015), companies are struggling to achieve lean production approaches as a way of improving their profitability. With high net profits, it is possible for these companies to use the improved financial muscle to expand their market coverage, production, and even market research. According to Wang and Ahmed (2016), introducing new technology helps in lowering the cost of production significantly. One of those interviews explained this case as follows:
- Participant 1 stated, “Our firm has been able to reduce its cost of labour by introducing emerging technologies. Processes that previously required numerous employees currently need a handful of machine operators.”
The revenue that is saved by having a minimal number of employees can then is channelled to other developmental activities to help the firm achieve growth in the market. Pugh (2016) observes that new technologies have enabled companies to reduce wastage in the production processes. Standardization done with the help of these technologies is another major benefit. It is now possible for customers to know what to expect from the firm in terms of quality and quantity that is offered.
Improved competitiveness in the market was another common theme identified when analysing data from the respondents. The participants noted that the number of companies offering similar products in the local market has been on the rise over the past few years. As such, their company has had to embrace effective competitive strategies to protect their market share and expand their operations. In such a highly competitive environment, providing high quality products at competitive prices may not be enough. The perception that customers have towards the product, pricing, and the brand of the firm is also critical in defining their purchasing pattern.
Emerging technologies have been used to help shape these perception and to convince customers to remain loyal to the brand. One of those interviewed explained the significance of social media in promoting the firm’s brand and products in the market.
- Participant 8 said, “The firm has been spending a significant amount of money on social media platforms. Majority of those targeted by products of the company are active on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram. The company is shifting its focus from traditional mass media communication because of the changing trends in the society.
When analysing the impact of technology on Qatari organizations, it is necessary to focus on both positive and negative consequences. The analysis above has identified the numerous benefits of emerging technologies in the field of commination to the local companies. It is necessary to look at the negative consequences of migrating from the traditional approaches to the current communication platforms. Rogers (2016) explains that although the modern approaches of communications have numerous advantages to companies, one should not ignore dangers it is associated with, as discussed below.
Exposure to cybercriminals was the most common theme when discussing dangers associated with new technologies in the field of communication. In the past, armed robbers had to make a forced entry into physical premises of a company to steal money or other targeted items. However, that is no longer the case in the digital era (Kloppenborg 2015). It is easy for a firm to use technology to have an unauthorized access to a database and retrieve sensitive information that may be costly to the firm. These respondents explained that the company has suffered financial losses in the past because of the increasing cases of cyber-attacks. One of them elaborated on this issue as shown below:
- Participant 3 said, “Our company has suffered several hacks in the past. Some of these hackers would target company’s accounts, which leads to massive financial loss to the company. “
Some of these cybercriminals would target sensitive information about clients of the company. As Huhtala et al. (2015) observes, customers often trust organizations to protect their data from access by third parties. When they realize that these firms cannot protect their personal and financial data, the trust would be lost, which means that they can easily consider purchasing their desired products from other companies. The cost of protecting these companies from cybercriminals is equally high (Clark 2017). The problem is that going back to the traditional approach of managing data is not an option that these firms have. It means that they have to face the problem and make necessary investments in having a secured database.
Deliberate misleading information is another major problem that companies must be ready to address when moving to the digital data platform. According to Brown (2015), operations at Domino’s Pizza was almost crippled in 2009 when two of its employees at one of its numerous braches filmed themselves handling food in an unhygienic way before serving the unsuspecting customers. They went ahead and uploaded the video on YouTube. A few hours after uploading the picture, it attracted millions of viewers across the United States and other parts of the world. Customers were avoiding Domino’s outlets primarily because of the misleading video (Brown 2015). It has taken years for the firm to restore the confidence that its customers had. The firm had to spend millions of dollars to redesign its outlets to have an open-kitchen where customers can see how their food is prepared. Local companies in Qatar face similar challenges in their operations, explained by this respondent.
- Participant 18 said, “It is not easy to control what other people post on the social media platforms of the company. Some of them have ill intentions, and as such, they would post messages that may hurt the image of the company.”
Misuse of the social media platforms by employees was another issue that employees noted during the analysis of primary data. When workers are allowed to use the social media platforms in their official communications, it may not be easy for the management to monitor their activities. Some of them spend their official hours of work in entertainment instead of working. Others take the opportunity to chat with friends and family members, which reduces their productivity at work. The participants explained that their company is struggling to develop ways of fighting time wastage on social media. One of the participants explained the challenge as follows:
- Participant 12 said, “Some of our employees often take advantage of the use of these social media platforms to engage in activities irrelevant to their job description. Such cases reduce their productivity at work.”
Some companies have developed software that can enable managers to monitor in real time activities of their employees when they are at work. Pugh (2016) argues that although the software is criticized for breaching privacy of employees, it may be the only solution in cases when dealing with employees addicted to the social media. It allows the manager to know when an employee engages in activities that may compromise their productivity.
The previous chapter has provided a detailed presentation of the findings made from the study. In this section, the focus is to discuss the findings from the primary data and integrate it with the information obtained from the review of literature. The results of this study have directly responded to the research question that sought to investigate the impact of technology on Qatari organizations.
The primary data has identified numerous benefits associated with embracing emerging technologies for the local firms. It is evident that the primary data findings confirm the information obtained from secondary data. Improved coordination in the workplace was a common theme that emerged from both the literature review and the analysis of primary data sources. It is also evident that both sources are in agreement with the fact that organizations can cut their cost of operation and improve their productivity by embracing emerging technologies.
The analysis of primary data and the review of literature strongly suggest that when introducing a new technology, it is important to remember the negative effects associated with the use of new technologies in the field of communication. The study shows that cybercrime is one of the main concerns that that local organizations should not ignore. Such attacks may have devastating consequences, especially when they target a firm’s finances or critical projects (Qasim, 2014). Some of these cybercriminals would target important information about clients of a firm or copyrights that may be sold to third parties. Other minor concerns include wastage of time among employees, the need to train workers on how to use the new technology, and malicious attacks by third parties interested in harming the reputation of the firm.
The findings from primary data confirm information in the existing research. The main difference noted is that while most of the readily available literature focuses on impact of technology globally, especially in the western countries, findings from primary data focused on local organizations. Individuals interviewed in this study are locals who have been working in Qatari organization for years. As such, they were able to tell their story based on the local context.
During the review of the literature, it was noted that the main knowledge gap was the lack of information about how local firms are coping with the emerging technologies in the field of communication. The findings made from the analysis of primary data made it possible to address this knowledge gap. With the help of information from both sources, it is possible to discuss how local firms can manage resistance to change and the role of different stakeholders within an organization in promoting emerging technologies.
How Local Firms Can Manage Resistance to Change
Managing change may be challenging, especially when dealing with a group of employees who feel that such steps would compromise their current position or even cost them their jobs. Rogers (2016) explains that for a long time, people have come to associate the introduction of technology with loss of jobs. As such, instead of supporting such initiatives, employees would try to resist it as a way of protecting their jobs or positions in the workplace. Information from both primary and secondary data sources shows that technology is beneficial to local organizations. As such, it is necessary to find ways of addressing concerns that employees may have towards it. Kurt Lewin’s model of change shown in figure 3 below can help in defining steps that should be taken to manage fears associated with the introduction of new technologies within an organization.
The first step is to unfreeze. At this stage, the team responsible for the introduction of the new technology is expected to prepare all the stakeholders for the change. A detailed explanation of the need to introduce the new system and its benefits should be given to all the relevant stakeholders (Have et al. 2017). Of importance at this stage is to address all the fears that they may have towards the new project. Some form of training may be necessary to ensure that these employees are ready to work under the new system.
The next phase is the actual introduction of the new system. It is expected that at this stage of introducing change, stakeholders would be adequately prepared for it. The last stage is to refreeze, where the management takes steps to ensure that the new system and policies become entrenched into the culture of the organization. The figure below summarizes the three stages.
In the current competitive business environment, organizations in Qatar are struggling to find ways of achieving a competitive edge over their rivals in the market. As shown in the study, technology offers them a perfect solution to address some of the operational issues they face. In this study, the researcher was interested in determining the impact of using technology on local organizations. Data was collected from both primary and secondary sources to help answer the research question. The findings show that technology is highly beneficial to local Qatari organizations. This finding made sense because it was supported by the existing literature.
The significantly new finding that the researcher found interesting is that although these new beneficial technologies have various challenges, local organizations have no option but to embrace them if they are to remain competitive in the market. The study has implications to policy and practice for local firms. It is evident from the study that local firms would need to learn how to manage the changing forces in their environment.
These organizations cannot afford to stick to traditional modes of operation at a time when international organizations are using technology to improve their productivity and cut costs. It is possible that some hurdles will emerge during the introduction of new policies, especially the issue of resistance to change. However, it is important for these firms to develop policies that would define how they respond to such concerns. These policies would inform practice when it comes to managing new policies within these entities.
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