جنبه های اقتصادی و سازمانی مراکز از راه دور: مورد اسپانیایی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|5103||2002||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Technovation, Volume 22, Issue 12, December 2002, Pages 785–798
In this paper we present the following concept: the economic and organizational characteristics and the main aspects of the development of telecentres or telework centres, in a wide-ranging context of the use of telecommunications as an instrument to aid social-economic development of deprived rural and urban areas. To be more specific, we analyse how these Telework Centres are set up in diverse information related service enterprises aimed at other businesses or individuals. These initiatives are being subsidized by different public organisms as pilot development aid projects on an international scale. We have made an empirical study on a national scale, using 27 sample centres, from which we have obtained, amongst other things, the characteristics, economic objectives and results achieved from the initiatives that are underway in Spain or that are expected to be achieved from the setting up of these centres. Finally, we present our conclusions on the subject and list the literature used.
In recent years, an intense debate has arisen on the possibilities that the development of ways of working from a distance, based on intensive use of telecommunications and Information and Communication Technology (ICT), could have for society in general and for organizations in particular. This situation has been favoured by the special interest shown by Public Administration in taking advantage of ICT as an instrument of development support, through grants for the installation of telecentres or Telework Centres in underdeveloped areas. In general, each country has set up diverse projects to ensure that this technology is available under better quality and price conditions1 (Benítez and Padilla, 1999). This technology can help to redistribute wealth and balance the demand for employment for socially and economically deprived areas (European Commission, 1996)2. Moreover, there is an ever increasing number of studies that consider the strategic importance of telecommunications and ICT on a sectorial and business level from a Business Management perspective (Powell and Dent–Micallef, 1997). For this reason, in this paper we concentrate on analysing the current situation of telecentres in Spain. They are organizations that provide ICT related services which can be seen as a type of Teleworking. Thus, we must consider the aspects of Teleworking, albeit on a general level, given that it is not a main objective of this study. Moreover, to appreciate its true dimensions, we offer some quantifications which have been made on an international level. Regarding its concept, Teleworking consists of working in places other than those considered to be the normal workplace (spacial flexibility); remote supervision-management; intensive information related activity; intensive use of ICT; and the predominance of inter/extra-organizational electronic communication, which allows cooperation at a distance, based on the development of mutual trust. Teleworking can be considered from the teleworker contract point of view by either taking into account the employer–employee relationship or teleworking as a customer–supplier relationship. However, Teleworking can be studied from several other perspectives, which leads us to look at its concept from different approaches: strategic, organizational, human resource management, and economic, social, legal, political and technological aspects (Padilla, 1998b). From a strategic point of view, we consider Teleworking to be a way of organizing work that can offer companies competitive advantages, as well as meaning technological and administrative innovation (Yen et al., 1996), a way for companies to be flexible and reduce costs. From the economic point of view, we can make reference, in general, to the assessment of costs and profits that the organization and employees will obtain from Teleworking, and, in particular, to the economic assessment of the viability of initiatives related to Teleworking, such as telecentres. In its social aspect, we take into account both the implications that this organizational model has on employees’ working conditions and potential employment conflicts, as well as the relationship between Teleworking and the incorporation of the disabled into the job market. Furthermore, and as we will be able to verify later on, when we talk about telecentres, which is one of its modalities, we discover other social implications like its contribution to the development of economically deprived areas. From a political perspective, we look at how efforts are being made in more economically developed countries to move forward in the so called ‘society of information’, where Teleworking is a key element, and international organisms such as United Nations, have promoted similar initiatives in developing countries (see Benítez and Padilla, 1999. As far as technology in Teleworking is concerned, we consider how organizations currently have the opportunity to use technology already available, although we are previously obliged to evaluate and recognise the organizational implications that it entails. With regard to the aspect of Human Resource Management and Teleworking, its application gives rise to numerous, important implications (see Padilla, 1998a, whose analysis falls outside our line of work. Finally, the organizational aspect refers to different organizational patterns which are included in the generic concept of Teleworking. Using organizational criteria, Teleworking can be divided into the following categories (Padilla, 1998a): Teleworking at home, mobile Teleworking and Teleworking Centres; Teleworking modalities which have been used since 1973, when Nilles first used the term telecommuting, to refer to the possibility of exchanging routine daily commuting to work for the use of telecommunications (Nilles, 1994). We do not intend to go into the diverse aspects related to teleworking, since this would distance us from our aim to characterize the types of telecentres that currently exist in Spain; although other papers which are centred on the analysis of teleworking taking into account different analytical perspectives can be consulted (see Padilla, 1998a, amongst others). In virtue of what has been mentioned, we can say that not only is the concept not accepted, given the different modalities that exist, but there are many related lines of research, basically the following: 1. State or Public Administration: Research on existing initiatives to develop the society of information. 2. Society: Analysis of the relationships between Teleworking and transport:3 and between Teleworking and social and economic development in both rural and urban deprived areas. 3. Individuals: Identification and analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of Teleworking for people. 4. Organization: Identification of organizational restructuring that makes Teleworking possible, its bearing on Business Management, the establishment of activities outside the workplace and also the new organizational models that arise with the implantation of Teleworking, as well as the organizational and economic models of new organizations linked to Teleworking, such as telecentres. 5. Technology: Analysis of the development and evolution of ICT. In this paper we concentrate on a line of research that analyses how ICT and Teleworking can contribute to the social and economic development of rural and urban deprived areas, and to the analysis of organizational aspects (analysis of running) and economic aspects (analysis of viability) of telecentres. This is therefore related to the organizational, social, economic and political aspects of Teleworking. The numerous lines of research previously mentioned, could suggest a merely theoretical interest in Teleworking, but we should point out that the interest shown in the subject is not merely theoretical, given that the number of Teleworkers on an international scale shows a certain positive tendency (see Table 1). Few studies have been made, and their results differ on the number of teleworkers in each country and, in some cases, they are even contradictory. This is due to the different methodologies used to make these quantifications, amongst other reasons. We must therefore indicate that the most comparable studies of the ones which appear in the Table, are those made by Teldet and Ecatt, given the similarity of the methodology used. In the case of the Ecatt project, that reveals the latest available data at a European level and in the case of Spain the data corresponding to 1999, quantification covers self-employed teleworkers; corporate teleworkers (those employed by a company) that spend at least one day a week away from the office teleworking; and mobile teleworkers who spend at least ten hours or more away from the office. In the case of Spain the figures given are 357,000 teleworkers, not counting data on telecentres. In the United States, according to the United States Department of Transportation, 50.3% of the teleworkers that will exist in 2002 in this country (about 15 million) will have their usual workplace in a Teleworking Centre (Department of Transportation, 1993). We believe that this forseeable positive evolution justifies at least a descriptive analysis of the organizational and economic aspects of telecentres, in the context of the Teleworking phenomena, more so since no studies have up to now been made in this field in Spain.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
We have looked at two models of telecentres: telecentres for development and business telecentres. In both cases, we considered different organizational characteristics that are determined by the objectives they seek, social objectives in the first case and economic objectives in the second. In the telecentres in Spain, telecentres for development predominate, which implies a serious viability problem as soon as European or national public subsidies disappear. Telecentres on an international basis are shown to be a valid instrument in social–economic development in deprived areas, as has been revealed in the international studies described as well as in our own national study. However, despite the length of time that has passed from the moment the first experiences took place, evaluation models still haven’t been published in any literature. What’s more, and partly as a result of what we have just said, no one particular telecentre model can be described as being the best way to create and run a telecentre, for which reason we are not able to make any recommendations On the other hand, we believe that the most important aspect for the success of telecentres, being as it is, a technological innovation, is not merely the access to technology, but the capacity to understand the community where it is to be set up, and to adapt itself accordingly. In Spain, in 1998 and 1999, the number of Teleworking Centres has risen, although there appears to be no clear geographic concentration, but the number is far lower than those being experienced in other countries, such as in the United Kingdom. Regarding our objective to discover the number of telecentres in Spain, as we have mentioned previously, it is not easy to reach an exact number, but we can at least indicate the existence of 27 initiatives. With reference to our intention to describe the characteristics of telecentres, we can say that, in Spain, several agents are usually involved in the initiatives, the majority of them being backed by public money, normally from European projects. However, despite this economic aid, telecentres often face difficulties in their development, mainly arising from the lack of information on the potential benefits they can offer. They are mainly an alternative for the residents of rural and urban areas with special characteristics to access ICT more rapidly and at a lower cost, by centralizing in one establishment various facilities, previously out of reach, which can be taken advantage of by people and local businesses. Although we can consider them positive instruments, or tools to aid in the development of specific areas, the possiblity to generate employment and income is still a challenge for the majority of telecentres. Therefore, telecentres, although they can be maintained by private support, need public financial help, given that, amongst their objectives, those of a social nature predominate, such as the social and economic aid for the development of certain deprived rural or urban areas, and the majority of them are not governed by economic profitability criteria. This fact has serious implications in the economic viability of telecentres, that is not sought in the short term, but we believe should be sought in the medium or long term given the limitations of public financial aid and the necessary profitability of the investment made in the telecentre, which may have come from the provision of services or from business projects or initiatives that it has generated. In reference to the limitations of the empirical study presented, its descriptive and exploratory character does not allow us to go deeper into the causality relationships that may exist been the variables analysed. However, we must point out that this is the first study centred on the description and analysis of telecentres in Spain, for which reason we believe it to be of obvious use. In this sense, we consider it necessary to carry out more research from an economic and organizational perspective, that will lead to the development of useful methodologies to evaluate telecentres in their social, economic and organizational aspects; and, at the same time, develop management models according to the objectives sought, either of a social nature, from the point of view of the telecentres for the development model; or from the economic perspective if the objectives are set for the business telecentres model.