1 I J A B E R, Vol. 13, No. 5, (015): INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY UTILIZATION IN EMPLOYEES EMPOWERMENT (EVIDENCE FROM IRAN) Fariz Taheri Kia * and Tahereh Barzegar * Abstract: Today employees are the most important weapons for organizations to compete in complex environment. Human resources can be considered as the most important factor to gain competitive advantage. The purpose of writing the current paper is to survey information technology on employees empowerment in an Iranian company. For measuring empowerment seven main dimensions include Professional developmentjob opportunities, Increasing knowledge, Decision making engagement, Independency and freedom, Self controlling and Performance quality were used. The research is applicable from goal view and descriptive from data collection. Also data gathering method is library and fieldwork. For data collection a questionnaire include 54 questions in two parts was designed and after proving its validity and reliability distributed among statistical society. It contains 344 employees of Iran Informatics Company which decreased into 183 one applying sampling formula. Sampling strategy was simple random. The results of applying Spearman and Regression tests illustrated that information technology affect significantly on employees empowerment. Meanwhile increasing knowledge and awareness was selected as the most important one. Keywords: information technology, human resource, empowerment INTRODUCTION Nowadays many firms like to concentrate on gaining a competitive advantage in the market. The advance equipments, new technology, good marketing strategic, excellent customer services and many other elements can be the factors to build up for the advantages. However, human resource is the most important assets of an enterprise and its success or failure depends on their qualifications and performance.the employees are the repository of knowledge, skills and abilities that can t be imitated by the competitors. Technologies, products and processes are easily imitated by the competitors; however, at the end of the day, employees are the most strategic resource of the company (Ugboro and Obeng, 000). A new way of management is employee empowerment or participative management Involving the people responsible for the work processes-the people who know the processes best is where quality starts. Some think that employees * Faculty of Management and Accounting, Islamic Azad University, Firoozkooh branch, Firoozkooh, Iran.
2 3196 Fariz Taheri Kia and Tahereh Barzegar work only for financial return. If they are incapable to be an integral part of the organization, this may be true. Allowing employees to have independence and feedback within the organization is what makes the empowerment process successful (Daft, 001). Employee empowerment does not mean that management abandon from its responsibility of performance or for leading the organization. Rather, in an employee empowered organization, management s responsibility comes to create and foster an environment in which it is apparent that employee input is desired and cultivated. The management must trust and communicate with employees (Beth, 01). When employees are empowered, their confidence degree and self-reliance will increase. This extra confidence is a good thing because it creates job satisfaction and high levels of productivity. However, in some cases, confidence levels can be taken too far and end up crossing the line into arrogance. Arrogant employees are difficult to deal with, don t take direction well and can become insubordinate. Working in this type of work environment takes its toll on employees and they once again become dissatisfied with their job and productivity levels decrease (Yukl and Wendi, 006). LITERATURE REVIEW Empowerment has become an important issue within Contemporary organizations. There is real supports and encouragement to give the freedom to get a job done and the authority to achieve organizational goals. Recently, the usefulness of empowerment has started to become recognized in the different environment of Project Management (Williams, 1997). Rutland discusses its importance both between companies, leading towards an increase in structures such as partnering (which implies a level of trust between the companies), and, more relevantly to this paper, for individuals within a firm: he discusses the importance of employee motivation as a differentiating factor between companies (Rutland, 1994). Researcher can summarize Empowerment at the following points Empowerment encompass on enlargement of an employee s job duties by giving them the Independence and authority of decision making about their own job without approval of his immediate supervisor. Empowerment is the level of responsibility and authority given to an employee. By empowerment, the employees are motivated and enthusiast to utilize their skills, abilities and creativity by accepting accountability for their work. Empowerment occurs when employees are well trained, provided with all the appropriate and relevant information and the best possible tools, fully involved in key decisions, and are fairly rewarded.
3 Information Technology Utilization in Employees Empowerment Empowerment involve managers and employees working together to create specific goals and expectations within agreed-upon boundaries (Wiess, 00). Empowerment is the translation of the word empowerment, which is derived from the word empower containing two senses: (i) to give power to (give power, transferring power or delegate authority to other parties). (ii) to give the ability to, enable (attempt to provide the ability) (Oxford English Dictionary). Implicitly, the meaning stated that the concept of empowerment was born as antithetical to the model development and industrial models that are less in favor of the majority of the people (Purnama, 014). In empowerment process there will be advantages and disadvantages. David (013) mentioned empowered employees have an increased sense of ownership, thus create happier employees that tend to be more proactive and willing to embrace change. The group of employees felt in control of their destinies and more eager about their roles and passionate about success, which is all good for the company performance. Emmanuel (013) stated that empowerment plays significant role in employees satisfaction thus promoting performance in organizations. Another benefit of empowerment, Lashon (013) emphasized employers or leaders using the minds of their employees, this able to help them to meet projected goals and objectives a lot faster because more people working toward them. Ability delegation of certain responsibilities to employees will allow leader more time to focus on the areas needed more attention (Koontz, 1993). Emmanuel (013) in his research stated many famous enterprises, such as US Air and Federal Express, applied employee empowerment to improve customer satisfaction. Also their results obviously shown the effects of fully empowered employees produce more customer satisfaction. Similarly, agreed on both positive and negative results aspects especially for service organizations employees whom being empowered. Ameerah (013) shared that empowered employees to make decisions can help company to save money, time and prevent employees potential disputes. Decentralizing the decision making process allowed employee more confidence to make minor decisions without consult the manager thus improve the performance of support and service to customers. David (013) mentioned that if those jobs are done with increased enthusiasm and attention will benefit clients. As clients love to communication with friendly and paying special attention employee, which the employee tend to take more personal approach to focusing on creative ways to solve problem for clients thus Improves customer retention and loyalty (Ketchen, 010). Employee empowerment established relationship between engagement and organization performance, factors behind is increased employee learning and training, less turnover, lower absenteeism, enhances
4 3198 Fariz Taheri Kia and Tahereh Barzegar motivation and less argument with change because employees are able to participate in decision making (Ameerah, 013). Efficiency and Effectiveness also free up managers on supervision, mentors and advisers, use of teams work can increase of annual productivity and reduce cost (Esra, 010) and also employee commitment and team spirit. Reduced Cost able to improve service delivery and cost savings. Empowering employees can also decrease some middle management positions which conserve labor costs (Hartlin and Ferell, 1996). Other than that, relief of Management Stress leave more responsibility to employees, management will have less worry about daily operations (Andrew, 010). Manager should freely delegated important tasks and decisions to employee and this enable the manager to focus less on operations and more on strategy and business planning (Fry, 003). CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK AND HYPOTHESES The figure below shoes the influence of information technology on employees empowerment. In the model, information technology is independent variable and empowerment is dependent one. Figure 1: Conceptual framework 1. Information technology affects significantly on empowerment Information technology affects significantly on professional development. 1.. Information technology affects significantly on job opportunities Information technology affects significantly on employees knowledge Information technology affects significantly on decision making engagement Information technology affects significantly on employees independency and freedom.
5 Information Technology Utilization in Employees Empowerment Information technology affects significantly on employees self controlling Information technology affects significantly on employees performance quality. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY The study was done in a society involving 346 employees of Iran Informatics Company. Whereas this number seems to be too much, the sampling was done through an integral counting method. NZ pq 1 n ( N 1) Z (1.96) (0.5) pq 343 (0.05) (1.96) (0.5) 183 So, the sample s were183 employees. Also, the sampling strategy is simple randomsampling. Current study can be considered as a descriptive survey if to view from data collection aspect and as an applied research if to investigate the goals of the study. To collect the data library method (to refer to books, articles, libraries, etc...) and fieldworks (questionnaire) was being used. For gathering data, a questionnaire in two parts was designed with 54 questions with 5-point likert scale. To analyze the data SPSS 19 and Pearson and Regression tests along with Entropy technique were utilized. The management experts were being asked to evaluate the validity of questionnaires. For this mean, the questionnaires were given to some professors and experts in management, and after their modifications were being applied and they confirmed it, the questionnaires were given to the participants. To determine the questionnaires reliability, the Cronbach Alpha technique was applied. For this purpose, 30 people were chosen by random (from the statistical samples) and the questionnaires were given to them. The Cronbach Alpha values for all variables were calculated: Variables Table 1 The results of reliability Cronbach Alpha Professional development 0.93 Job opportunities 0.87 Increasing knowledge 0.96 Decision making engagement 0.71 Independency and freedom 0.73 Self -controlling 0.81 Performance quality 0.83 Questionnaire as a whole 0.9
6 300 Fariz Taheri Kia and Tahereh Barzegar These values support the reliability of questionnaires, because the calculated results for Cronbach s alpha are more than (0.7). DATA ANALYSIS Kolmogorov-Smirnov test The test was applied to survey normality of statistical society. Variables Table The results of applying Kolmogorov-Smirnov test Professional development Job opportunities Increasing knowledge Decision making engagement 0.13 Independency and freedom Self controlling 0.38 Performance quality IT 0.18 Sig As table illustrates that normality of normality of statistical society was accepted, so some parametric tests were applied. Variance analysis test To investigate the relationship between information technology with empowerment and its dimensions, this test was used. The results are shown in table 3: Table 3 The results of using Spearman test Correlations Statistic Sig Result IT on Professional development IT on Job opportunities IT on Increasing knowledge IT on Decision making engagement IT on Independency and freedom IT on Self controlling IT on Performance quality IT on empowerment As table 3 shows, there are positive and significant correlation between information technology with empowerment and its dimensions (sig<0.05).
7 Friedman test Information Technology Utilization in Employees Empowerment To survey the influence of information technology on empowerment and its dimensions, Regression test was applied. The results are presented in table 4: Variables Table 4 Results of using Friedman test communality Performance quality 0.57 Increasing knowledge 0.78 Job opportunities 0.59 Decision making engagement 0.53 Self controlling 0.67 Professional development 0.7 Independency and freedom 0.73 As table 4 shows information technology affects significantly on empowerment and its dimensions. Entropy technique The technique was applied to prioritize customer relationship management dimensions. Table 5 The results of applying Entropy technique Dimensions Weight Rank Performance quality Increasing knowledge Job opportunities Decision making engagement Self controlling Professional development Independency and freedom Tables 5 illustrates that increasing knowledge and awareness, independency and freedom and increasing job opportunities were selected as the most important dimension. CONCLUSION The study with the purpose of surveying the influence of information technology on employees empowerment was done in a society includes 183 employees of Iran Informatics Company. First of all by applying Kolmogorov- Smirnov test,
8 30 Fariz Taheri Kia and Tahereh Barzegar normality of statistical society was accepted, therefore some non-parametric tests were utilized for data analysis. The results of applying Pearson and Regression tests illustrated that information technology affect significantly on employees empowerment. Also increasing knowledge and decision making engagement were selected as the most and the least ones. Attending to the results, managers are advised to: Supporting public services development and facilitating employees access to permissible information Continuous attention to maintain and improve current human resources Providing context of favorite and affective utilization of information technology and representing services to people Supporting quality improvement in information technology context Providing possibility of access to newest technical and scientific achievement References Ameerah, C. (013), The Advantages of Employee Empowerment. Retrieved November 11, 013, from Andrew, F. (010), The Advantages & Disadvantages of Employee Empowerment. Retrieved November 11, 013, from article/34111-the-advantagesdisadvantages-of-employee-empowerment/ Beth, A. (01), Three Elements of Empowerment, Daft, R. (001), Organization Theory and Design, 7th Edition. South-Western College. David, L. (013), The Advantages of Employee Empowerment. Retrieved November 10, 013, from html Emmanuel, E.Y. (013), Employee Training and Empowerment: A Conceptual Model For Achieving High Job Performance. Journal of Education and Practice, 4(13), 7-8. Esra, N. C. (010), The Impact of Strategic Human Resource management on Organizational Performance. Journal of Naval Science and Engineering, 6(), Fry, L.W. (003), Towards a Theory of Spiritual Leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 14, Hartline, M., & Ferrell, O. (1996), The management of customer-contact service employees: An empirical investigation, Journal of Marketing, 60(4), Ketchen, (010), Research methodology in strategy and management Amsterdam: Elsevier, : Koontz, H., & Donnell, C. (1993), Introduction to Management. McGraw-Hill Inc., New York. Lashon, F. (013), The Definition of Employee Empowerment. Retrieved November 07, 013, from Purnama, C. (014), Improved performance through empowerment of small industry, Journal of Social Economics Research, 1(4), 7-86.
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