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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

The impact of office automation on the organization: some implications for research and practice


Computer technology has recently been applied to the automation of office tasks and procedures. Much of the technology is aimed not at improving the efficiency of current office procedures, but at altering the nature of office work altogether. The development of automated office systems raises a number of issues for the organization. How will this technology be received by organization members? How will it affect the definition of traditional office work? What will be its impact on individuals, work groups, and the structure of the organization? This paper presents a descriptive model and propositions concerning the potential impacts of office automation on the organization and it stresses the need, when implementing automated office systems, to take a broad perspective of their potential positive and negative effects on the organization. The need for further research examining the potential effects of office automation is emphasized.

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