CEFRIO How to ensure balance? Tomorrow’s manager

For new millennium strategists
Volume 2 no. 1 January 2000
Tomorrow’s manager
How to
ensure balance?
By Michel Audet
Is your organisation stimulated by digital
economy managers?
BOTH ISSUES of Réseau CEFRIO published
in 1999 have underlined the importance of changes
brought about in electronic commerce and in the way
individuals and organizations acquire knowledge in
our modern society. This new society, which is sensitive to fast and intense technological developments,
has transported us to a new word, a virtual world
where information increases tenfold each and every
day and where modern or traditional means of communication are superimposed.
The lastest CEFRIO survey, which was
conducted in co-operation with the Institut de la statistique du Québec, reveals that
Quebec businesses (with more than 10 employees) are entering full force into
this new economic and social world. Indeed, 57% of these companies are linked
to the Internet and slightly more than one-third , i.e. 34%, are present on the
Web. Although encouraging, these figures illustrate that the battle with modernisation has not been won and that efforts must be ongoing over the next
few years. However, these findings also reveal a significant change in terms of
practices, values, attitudes and skills among those who are becoming, on a
daily basis, the major players within these new organizations. Managers are
the major players. They are the ones making decisions that add value to information and decisions that translate information into knowledge. They are the
ones setting the pace and releasing the energy that will influence the other members of their respective organizations.
The advent of the new millennium provides a timely opportunity to examine the transformation of the manger’s role in this new world of organizations.
To this end, we propose an article that aims to bring to light some of the challenges facing tomorrow’s managers:
• Challenge facing the manager communicator
• Challenge facing the manager moderator
• Challenge facing managers focussed on their environment
and organisation
• Challenge facing the manager decision-maker
• Challenge facing the manager strategy maker
• Quality of life challenge facing the manager
In order to support previous findings, we conducted, with Léger & Léger,
a survey among our members. Nearly 200 managers showed great interest in
responding to our poll, demonstrating, without any doubt, how sensitive this
issue can be.
This issue will also provide you the opportunity to compare the ideas of
two well-known field men in this area. Don Tapscott, well-known author, propels you into the year 2015 and Guy Marier, President of Bell Québec, shares
his vision of the role of the modern manager. In keeping with our tradition,
we also wanted to present another point of view, that of university researchers
who have a different view of the halls of organizations. Suzanne Rivard of the
École des HEC and Alain Pinsonneault of McGill University graciously agreed
to answer our questions.
Finally, in addition to providing, in summary form, the points of view of various Quebec executives, we saw the need to present the other side of the coin,
more particularly on how ITs affect individuals. To feed the discussion, we
invited a European specialist on “ergostress”. We have left it up to him to explain
this syndrome of the information society and of cyber-organizations.
We wish you good reading and a great millennium!
Michel Audet
Innovation and Transfer Director, CEFRIO
Professor of industrial relations, Université Laval
Is your organisation stimulated
by digital economy managers?
Evolving managers in
a digital economy
The manager: Model user?
Challenge facing the Manager
“e-fanatic, e-sceptic. e-conservative”
CEFRIO - Léger & Léger Poll
Don Tapscott
President, Alliance for
Converging Technologies
A trip to the year 2015
A look at the future
Alain Pinsonneault
Imasco Professor, Information Systems, McGill
University Management Department
and Suzanne Rivard
Professor, École des Hautes
Études Commerciales
“It is the corporate vision/strategy
that determines how managers will
use information technologies”
Guy Marier
President, Bell Québec
“The manager of the future must provide
added value to information”
Yves Lasfargue
Director of the Centre d’études et de formation pour
l’accompagnement des changements (CREFAC),
Ergostress: more effective work
load measurement
is published twice yearly by the Centre francophone d’informatisation des organisations (CEFRIO). This bulletin is written exclusively for
CEFRIO members.
Reproduction of articles, in total or in part, is authorised only if the source is
acknowledged and if we are provided with a copy.
Centre francophone d’informatisation des organisations (CEFRIO)
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CIRCULATION: 1000 copies
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Québec City, Québec
Montreal, Quebec
Michel Audet, Nancy Lauzon,
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Telephone: 418.523.3746
Telephone: 514.840.1245 Sandrine Lépinay and
Danielle Stanton
Fax: 418.523.2329
Fax: 514.840.1275
DOCUMENTALIST: Isabelle Poulin
e-mail: [email protected]
By Michel Audet and Sandrine Lépinay
Evolving managers
in a digital economy
History of an Event Foretold…
THE LAST DECADE bears witness to
major changes in terms of the development
and implementation of modern management
concepts. The obsession with the customer as
the centre of business process re-engineering,
the networking company, the management of
the value chain, the mobilisation of staff around
organisational projects and finally the information technologies (ITs) revolution each illustrate the profound changes in how management thinks and conducts business. In terms
of information technologies (ITs), companies invest enormous amounts of money in all
sorts of projects, whether the Internet, transaction-driven and interactive Web Sites, electronic commerce, intranets, extranets, integrated management software packages
(Enterprise Resource Planning), etc. And this
phenomenon is only beginning to expand exponentially, as illustrated in the findings presented
• In 1998, American companies spent 10.9 $
billion on intranets, i.e. one fourth of all
budgets allocated to Web initiatives (IDC,
July 1999).
• By 2002, the forecasted growth of the ERP
market is 36% on an annual basis. In 1998,
60% of Fortune magazine’s 100 American
corporations already boast an implemented
ERP system (Les Affaires, Saturday, April
17, 1999).
• In 2002, Internet spending by American
companies should register at $203 billion,
while figures stood at $85 billion in 1999
(IDC, February 1999).
• In 2003, electronic commerce throughout
the world will stand at $1,300 billion
versus $95 billion at the end of 1999
(Activmedia, June 1999).
• Today, nearly 60% of Quebec businesses
with more than 10 employees have Internet
access and by summer 2000, 24% plan to
be selling their products online versus only
17% today (CEFRIO, 1999).
In view of the
above findings, we
hardly need to
mention that this
new technological
era is causing
upheavals within
organisations and
in their way of
conducting business and that, as a
result, managers’
roles and skills have
been transformed. But
what is really happening?
Is this build-up of technologies changing the
very substance of managers’ work and more
especially the work of
executives and senior
might even ask if the
aforementioned are
really aware of all the systemic effects of such
changes? This document
aims to provide answers to
such questions.
In practical terms and having examined the state of IT appropriation by senior
management (managers: model users?), we
propose to analyse how the role of today’s
and tomorrow’s managers will be influenced
significantly in terms of the challenges
they face:
• Challenge facing the manager communicator
• Challenge facing the manager moderator
• Challenge facing managers focused on their
organisation and environment
• Challenge facing the manager decision-maker
• Challenge facing the manager strategy
• Challenge to the manager’s quality of life
“Personal use of technology develops leaders …”
“… The element that mainly stimulates
change is the fact that everyone is increasingly using technology for their own personal
reasons (…). The personal use of technology
opens new horizons and develops curiosity. It
also raises questions, issues and challenges
for individuals and their organizations".
Don Tapscott, "The Digital Economy", 1996, p.254-255
CEFRIO-Léger & Léger Poll, October 1999
• 194 respondents
• 47% of respondents work for a Ministry
or agency
• 37% work in private industry
• 57% belong to an organisation that has more
than 500 employees
• 71% of respondents are senior managers
and 17% are middle managers
fanatic.com or
How often do you personally use the
Internet for your work?
Never: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1%
Less than 4 times a month: . 7%
Once a week: . . . . . . . . . . . . 9%
2 - 4 times a week: . . . . . . 24%
At least once a day: . . . . . . 59%
How often do you personally use
e-mail for your work?
Never: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0%
Less than 4 times a month: . 2%
Once a week: . . . . . . . . . . 0,5%
2 - 4 times a week: . . . . . . . 5%
At least once a day: . . . . . . 92%
How would you describe your proficiency
with regards to the Internet?
Poor: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3%
Average: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17%
Good: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37%
Excellent: . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43%
On average, how many e-mails do you
receive in one day?
Between 0 and 10: . . . . . . 26%
Between 10 and 20: . . . . . 40%
Between 20 and 30: . . . . . 20%
More than 30: . . . . . . . . . . 14%
On average, how many e-mails do you
send in one day?
Between 0 and 10: . . . . . . 51%
Between 10 and 20: . . . . . 38%
Between 20 and 30: . . . . . . . 6%
More than 30: . . . . . . . . . . . 5%
What percentage of the e-mail you
receive do you feel is relevant to your
role as a manager ?
Between 0 and 20%: . . . . . . . 6%
Between 20 and 40%: . . . . 14%
Between 40 and 60%: . . . . 28%
Between 60 and 80%: . . . . 38%
Between 80 and 100%:. . . . 14%
Is someone responsible for filtering
your messages for you?
Yes: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17%
No:. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82%
To enrich our thought process and
support our reasoning, CEFRIO, in collaboration with Léger & Léger, conducted a poll
in October 1999 among managers of
CEFRIO member organisations. We are
aware that our sample (194 respondents) has
limitations as it mainly includes sophisticated and informed IT users. However,
results provide some insight into the
perception of managers who are leaders in
this field.
The Manager:
Model User?
Managers: fanatic.com or sceptic.com
To what extent can we claim that ITs are
transforming the roles of managers when the
majority of studies reveal that managers are not
heavy users? Indeed, according to a survey conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (1999),
North-American business leaders only access
the Internet some 9 times a month on average and the majority (70%) describe their own
Internet appropriation as being “average” or
“poor”. Consequently they appear to be much
more at ease travelling around the world than
surfing the Internet. Moreover, the same poll
established a narrow correlation between managers’ degree of Internet appropriation and
their vision of electronic commerce. Therefore,
the more managers use the Internet personally, the more convinced they are that electronic
commerce can transform their organisation.
Today, it is clear that a number of managers
are well aware of some of the impacts electronic
commerce will produce in its wake. They are
even at ease discussing the issue. However, they
are underestimating its speed and as a result,
do not appear to appreciate the urgency
involved in personal and organisational appropriation of ITs and more particularly, of the
Internet. In this respect, another poll conducted
Number of times managers accessed the Internet during the
month preceeding the survey
North America
Latin America
CEFRIO - Léger & Léger survey, October 1999
Response figures do not always add up to 100%,
given that non-respondents were accounted
for in the survey.
this time among Europeans business leaders
revealed that the majority (82%) are of the opinion that electronic commerce could strategically impact their organisation, but less than
half (39%) have actually implemented
this new manner of conducting business
(PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 1999).
How can we explain this low level of
technological appropriation among executives
and senior management?
Researchers Suzanne Rivard of the HEC,
Alain Pinsonneault of McGill, and Carmen
Bernier of the HEC (1999), offer up two major
reasons: “Lack of use: a significant number of executives do not believe that ITs can provide the information and support they need to do their jobs. Failure
to recognize different work styles: some managers
approach work differently and what they need is a
technology that complements, not transforms their
work style” (p. 51-52). However, it is a question
of generations. Most business leaders are probably more uncomfortable with technologies
than the up-coming generation that grew up
“mouse-in-hand”. This Net Generation, to paraphrase Don Tapscott, absorbs information at
an incredible rate, making ITs everyday and
indispensable work tools with which they will
have invented a new work style, a “nouveau
Beyond Scepticism… Fanatic Managers!
Notwithstanding these results, all is not
lost. The CEFRIO - Léger & Léger (1999)
poll reveals things are changing and that executives use ITs to conduct everyday business.
Three categories were defined: “e-fanatics”,
“e-sceptics” and an in-between category,
The large majority of CEFRIO member
organisation managers appear to be
• 59% access the Internet at least once
a day;
• 79% describe their own proficiency with
“Inside the mind of the CEO” “The 1999 Global CEO Survey”, World Economic Forum, 1999
Annual meeting, Davos, Switzerland, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 1999.
regards to the Internet as being “good”
or “excellent”;
• 92% use their e-mail at least once a day;
• 57% use an intranet at least once a day.
On the other hand the “e-sceptics”
represent a small percentage of surveyed
• 8% never surf the Internet or do so
less than 4 times a month and rarely
use e-mail;
• 3% describe their own proficiency with
regards to the Internet as being "poor".
An in-between category was identified,
one we called “e-conservatives”. Although
the Internet is important to them it does not
play a significant role in their work:
• 33% surf the Internet once to 4 times
a week
• 17% describe their own proficiency with
regards to the Internet as being “average”.
In terms of methods of communication,
numerous researchers claim that oral communication is the favoured means of communication of business leaders and senior
executives. “It allows communication at
various levels and is conducive to better understanding the thorny issues they are often called
upon to solve. (…) Currently,(…),information
technologies would be especially useful to business
leaders if they were adapted to oral communication” (Rivard, Pinsonneault and Bernier,
1999, p. 53).
The latest Fast Company (1999) poll
concurs: personal meetings (79%) and telephone conversations (78%) remain the
preferred means of communication of individuals in the work place, while e-mail ranks
third (65%). Only 20% of respondents claim
that e-mail is more effective than face to face
meetings. As for our survey, results suggest
To what extent does
your personal use of ITS
help you
To better understand your organization
(activities, structures, background, etc.)
Quite a lot / a lot: . . . . . . . 54%
Slightly / not at all: . . . . . . 45%
Know more about the environment
in which you organisation evolves
(market, products, clients)
Quite a lot / a lot: . . . . . . . 66%
Slightly / not at all: . . . . . . 32%
To save time when you are looking
for information
Quite a lot / a lot: . . . . . . . 80%
Slightly / not at all: . . . . . . 20%
To broaden your network of contacts
Quite a lot / a lot: . . . . . . . 54%
Slightly / not at all: . . . . . . 44%
To communicate more with your
employees and colleagues
Quite a lot / a lot: . . . . . . . 73%
Slightly / not at all: . . . . . . 26%
To make decisions more rapidly
Quite a lot / a lot: . . . . . . . 66%
Slightly / not at all: . . . . . . 32%
To make more enlightened decisions
Quite a lot / a lot: . . . . . . . 62%
Slightly / not at all: . . . . . . 35%
To react more rapidly to crisis situations
These results lead us to conclude that
entire organisations, and indeed, that major
sectors of the economy have assimilated these
changes. Current and future initiatives open
the doors to an exploration of how such transformations will impact on the role of today’s
and tomorrow’s managers. Such impacts will
be discussed in terms of the challenges faced
by contemporary managers as their various
roles are transformed.
Challenge facing the Manager
Our survey revealed that 73% of business
executives and senior managers feel that ITs
allow them to communicate more effectively with employees and colleagues, while 86%
believe that ITs will allow them to communicate more effectively within the next
three years.
a very frequent use of e-mail. Indeed, 60%
of managers interviewed receive between 10
and 30 messages a day, and 44% send between
10 and 30 a day!
Some people claim that the success of
e-mail has led to an information overdose.
Our survey examined this issue: half of
respondents (52%) feel that more than 60%
of the messages they receive are relevant to
their managerial role. Notwithstanding this
craving for information, it is also interesting
to note that only 17% indicated that another
person actually filters their messages.
For the time being, ITs have not replaced
traditional communication tools, but rather
have become complementary. As a result,
managers will have to become increasing skilful at dealing with this superimposition of
communication methods (telephone, mail,
e-mail, fax, meetings) which will lead them
to explore new practices that provide the
opportunity to filter essential from nonessential facts.
Quite a lot / a lot: . . . . . . . 61%
Slightly / not at all: . . . . . . 36%
To delegate more responsibilities
Quite a lot / a lot: . . . . . . . 46%
Slightly / not at all: . . . . . . 51%
To discard some routine tasks in favour
of more strategic activities
Quite a lot / a lot: . . . . . . . 40%
Slightly / not at all: . . . . . . 57%
To have more flexibility in planning
your work
Quite a lot / a lot: . . . . . . . 53%
Slightly / not at all: . . . . . . 44%
CEFRIO - Léger & Léger survey, October 1999
Response figures do not always add up to 100%,
given that non-respondents were accounted
for in the survey.
Over the next 3 years,
to what extent do you feel
that your personal use
of ICTs will help you :
To better understand your organization
(activities, structures, background, etc.)
Quite a lot /a lot: . . . . . . 73%
Slightly/ not at all: . . . . . . 23%
Know more about the environment
in which your organisation evolves
(market, products, clients)
Quite a lot /a lot: . . . . . . 87%
Slightly/ not at all: . . . . . . . . 9%
To save time when you are looking
for information
Quite a lot /a lot: . . . . . . 92%
Slightly/ not at all: . . . . . . . . 5%
To broaden your network of contacts
Quite a lot /a lot: . . . . . . 79%
Slightly/ not at all: . . . . . . 15%
To communicate more with your
employees and colleagues
Quite a lot /a lot: . . . . . . . . 86%
Slightly/ not at all: . . . . . . . 11%
To make decisions more rapidly
Quite a lot /a lot: . . . . . . . . 81%
Slightly/ not at all: . . . . . . . 14%
To make more enlightened decisions
Quite a lot /a lot: . . . . . . . . 81%
Slightly/ not at all: . . . . . . . 14%
To react more rapidly in crisis situations
Quite a lot /a lot: . . . . . . . . 75%
Slightly/ not at all: . . . . . . . 20%
To delegate more responsibilities
Quite a lot /a lot: . . . . . . . . 67%
Slightly/ not at all: . . . . . . . 27%
To discard various routine tasks in favour
of more strategic activities
Quite a lot /a lot: . . . . . . . . 65%
Slightly/ not at all: . . . . . . . 30%
To have more flexibility in planning
your work
Quite a lot /a lot: . . . . . . . . 75%
Slightly/ not at all: . . . . . . . 21%
Challenge facing the Manager
In an organisational world where formal
communications are structured by technological platforms such as intranets, and where
informal communications take on various
forms, it is clear that the hierarchical organisation is losing ground. Lines of authority,
status, information flow and control now follow new rules which are increasingly based
on network logic. Managers are consequently
called upon to manage delocalized, if not virtual teams. They must create synergy
between members, mobilize them around an
organisational project and more particularly, ensure that they develop a collective identity based on a team project. Any manager
would find such an agenda challenging in a
context of stability and unity of space and
environment. Virtuality and delocalization
are making the noble and legitimate role of
managers increasingly complex. In short,
some managers are “poor hands-on managers”. Will remoteness improve their
Challenge facing the Manager
Focussed on their Organisation
and Environment
According to a study conducted by Elizabeth
Posada (1995), managers who have assimilated
technology clearly demonstrate a higher level
of understanding of their organisation and
environment compared to managers who have
not. For Rivard, Pinsonneault and Bernier
(1999), ITs now provide access to more information on the organization while also providing more opportunity for analysis.
In terms of increased understanding of their
organisation through ITs, our survey revealed
that managers do not all share the same perception. While slightly more than half (54%)
feel that ITs help them to better understand
their organisation, the remaining 45% are of
the opposite opinion. However, a majority of
managers believe in the future potential of technologies as 73% claim that technologies will
allow them to better understand their organisation within the next three years.
With respect to an increased understanding of the organisation’s environment through
information technologies, the majority of surveyed managers appear to agree. Indeed, 66%
consider that ITs allow them to better understand the environment in which their organisation operates (markets, products, clients, etc).
Such data highlights the relevancy of
reasons why organisations implement
integrated management systems (ERP). While
the majority of major applications support, first
and foremost, a more effective integration of
internal administrative functions, it has been
noted that managers are biased in favour of
using ITs to improve their own understanding
of the outside environment. This issue reveals
the importance of effectively developing new
generations of integrated management
software packages that allow optimal treatment
and integration of market, customer and
supplier data.
Challenge facing the Manager
CEFRIO - Léger & Léger survey, October 1999
Response figures do not always add up to 100%,
given that non-respondents were accounted
for in the survey.
ITs allow managers to speed up their decision-making process because “they (managers)
can base their decisions on more specific and more
abundant data” (Rivard, Pinsonneault and
Bernier, 1999, p. 52).
This statement seems to illustrate the “real
world” of managerial responsibilities.
Approximately two thirds of surveyed executives feel that ITs allow them to make faster
(66%), more enlightened (62%) decisions,
and to react to crisis situations more quickly (61%). These data corroborate the perception that ITs allow a large majority of
managers (80%) to save time when seeking
information. According to managers, this
is a growing trend as 80% of them believe
that ITs will allow them to make more
enlightened decisions and to make them more
rapidly within the next three years.
Consequently, ITs will lead the revolution in
the decision-making process whether operational or strategic. Faster, more effective
decisions are therefore on the agenda of
tomorrow’s managers.
Has the introduction of ITs at work had
an impact on the number of hours your
spend working?
Yes, decreased the number of hours for
same amount of work accomplished: . . . . 6%
Yes, decreased the number of hours for
more work accomplished: . . . . . . . . . . . . 8%
Yes, increased the number of hours for
the same amount of work accomplished: . 6%
Yes, increased the number of hours for
more work accomplished: . . . . . . . . . . . 51%
No, has had no impact on the number
of hours: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28%
Since you began using ITs at work, have you
been working more hours outside the office?
Fewer hours: . . . . . . . . . . . . 3%
Same: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43%
More hours: . . . . . . . . . . . . 38%
Does not apply: . . . . . . . . . 15%
Challenge facing the Manager
– Strategy-maker
Challenge to manager’s
quality of life
With ITs, “they (managers) can spend less time
doing this type of work, (…) such as supervising
activities and solving problems (…), and devote more
time to activity development, negotiation and resource
allocation.(…) Senior executives can unload
various task to junior staff members and assign
them the responsibility of making more decisions”
(Rivard, Pinsonneault and Bernier, 1999, p.53).
What did our own survey reveal? Some 57%
of surveyed managers feel that ITs provide them
little or no opportunity to discard routine tasks
in favour of more strategic activities. Moreover,
half (51%) claim that ITs provide them little or
no opportunity to delegate responsibilities.
However, and interestingly enough, approximately two-thirds feel that over the next three
years, ITs will allow them to delegate more
responsibilities (67,5%) and to discard various
routine activities in favour of more strategic
ones (65%).
These findings imply that managers are
currently going through an important
familiarization stage and are becoming more
skilful in their dealings with ITs. As a result,
benefits associated with strategic priorities will
be recorded over the next few years. These
results also support the findings of Rivard,
Pinsonneault and Bernier (1999) that bring
to light the fact that “most managers think that
ITs have not significantly improved the quality of
their work, and regard ITs more as tools than as
management aids in their own right” (p. 53).
Since you began using ITs to perform your
work, have you been working more hours
at home ?
Fewer hours: . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4%
Same: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33%
More hours: . . . . . . . . . . . . 54%
Does not apply: . . . . . . . . . . 9%
Do you feel that the use of ITs is an additional
source of stress in your everyday life?
Not at all: . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51%
Somewhat: . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32%
Quite a lot: . . . . . . . . . . . . 13%
A lot: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3%
Since your began using ITs, have you had
more time for your personal life?
Not at all: . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87%
Somewhat: . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10%
Quite a lot: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2%
A lot: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0,5%
Do you feel that the use of ITs has had an
impact on your family life?
Negative impact: . . . . . . . . 14%
Neutral impact: . . . . . . . . . 73%
Positive impact: . . . . . . . . 12%
CEFRIO - Léger & Léger survey, October 1999
Response figures do not always add up to 100%,
given that non-respondents were accounted
for in the survey.
Challenge to Manager’s
Quality of Life
Our survey reveals that because of the
flexibility provided by ITs (home / external
access to company data), 54% of surveyed
managers spend more hours working at home
than they did previously and 38% now work
more hours outside the office.
In terms of executives’ perception of
improved flexibility in work planning (time and
place), here again opinions vary. Results again
reveal two categories: e-fanatics versus
e-sceptics. Indeed, even if the majority of
managers (53%) find that technologies allow
them to be more flexible in planning their work,
a large number of them (44%) hold the opposite point of view. However, 75% believe that,
over the next three years, technologies will allow
them to be more flexible in planning their work.
It would appear that ITs have a paradox
effect on managers’ work: it both restricts
and liberates. Such a paradox warrants closer
One cannot really contend that technologies make the world a better place for managers. Indeed, 87% claim that the use of ITs
at work has not provided them with more personal time. Moreover, nearly one half (48%)
believe they (ITs) might even prove to be a
source of additional stress (a little, some, a lot).
On the other hand, the majority (73%) considers that technologies have no impact on their
family life, while only 12% perceive a positive impact and 14% perceive a negative impact.
Increased Performance
through ITs: Myth or Reality?
Results of our survey show that half (51%)
of interviewed managers feel that information
technologies allow them to do more work, but
only by working longer hours. Can we therefore conclude that ITs improve managerial
performance? The question remains unanswered as findings reveal that only 8% of surveyed managers feel that ITs allow them to do
more work in less time. For the sake of this
debate, it would be beneficial to establish
common definitions for the concept of
performance and for the context in which
individuals evolve. Regardless of the numerous studies conducted, the knowledge gained
does not allow us to draw conclusions easily
as to the impact of ITs on performance. As
suggested by a summary prepared by Anne
Beaudry (1999), various authors have settled
on negative impacts, others have settled
on positive impacts while others still have
identified no significant consequences. Even
serious business magazines that promote ITs
in the new economy convey a message of scepticism with respect to the relationship between
performance and ITs. According to the Fast
Company survey (1999) for example, only 20%
of respondents feel that the Internet helps
them be more efficient at work and only 15%
claim that it is essential to their success. Most
respondents do not expect that, over the next
five years, Internet will be a critical factor in
the success of enterprises. Indeed, respondents
do not perceive the Internet to be significant in terms of decision making or of human
resource management at work. Their perception is that the Internet is a personal tool
that can help individuals perform specific tasks.
However, a number of researchers
currently are of the opinion that performance
levels vary according to the level of appropriation of information technologies (Posada,
1995). In her study, (1999) Anne Beaudry indicates that the more balance there is between
technologies, individuals and tasks, the more
positive are the effects of technologies on individual performance. Moreover, Elizabeth
Posada (1995) demonstrated in her study that
if the degree of satisfaction with respect to
technology is low, the degree of appropriation will also be low and as a result, managers’
Don Tapscott Site: http://www.nplc.com
Le Centre d’Étude et de Formation pour l’Accompagnement des Changements (CREFAC) :
Ergostress Site: http://www.ergostressie.com/
• BEAUDRY A., Les technologies de l’information et la performance
individuelle : le rôle de l’appropriation et l’adéquation, Rapport
théorique présenté à Pinsonneault A., Hafsi T., Rivard S., Wybo M.,
École des Hautes études commerciales, March 1999.
• CEFRIO. “Le Québec inc. prend enfin le virage Internet : 57 % des
entreprises sont maintenant branchées”, Press Release dated
December 2. 1999.
• FAST COMPANY. “Where are you on the Web”, A Fast CompanyRoper Starch Worlwide Survey, October 1999.
• IDC. “From 1999 to 2002, Spending Will More Than Double”,
February 23, 1999.
• IDC. “U.S. Intranets Go Full Tilt as Spending Reaches a Staggering
$10.9 Billion”, July 15, 1999.
• LASFARGUE, Y. “Internet, intranet : des leviers pour moderniser
l’administration”, CREFAC, June 8, 1999.
• LE JOURNAL DU NET (page consulted November 8, 1999). “Chiffres
clés : E-commerce, le marché dans le monde”.
• LES AFFAIRES. “Un marché en dent de scie qui ne cesse de croître :
les ERP sont rapidement entrées dans les mœurs des entreprises”,
Saturday April 17, 1999, p. 37.
• POSADA, E. The impact of information technology on managerial
scanning and performance, École des HEC, thèse de doctorat,
février 1995.
• PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS : Inside the Mind of the CEO,
The 1999 Global CEO Survey, World Economic Forum, 1999 Annual
meeting, Davos, Switzerland, January 1999. http://www.pwcglobal.com/gx/eng/ins-sol/spec-int/davos/survey_1999.html
• PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS : Inside the Mind of the CEO,
The View from Europe, World Economic Forum, 1999 Annual
meeting, Davos, Switzerland, January 1999.
Senior Executives Say the Internet Is Transforming Global Business... / Booz-Allen &
technologies de l’information sur les cadres et les travailleurs”,
Revue Gestion, École des Haute Études Commerciales, Fall 1999,
p. 51 - 65.
Hamilton : http://www.bah.com/press/internet_survey.html
• TAPSCOTT, D. “The Digital Economy : Promise and Peril in the Age
of Networked Intelligence”, Mc Graw-Hill, 1996.
The CIO is the CEO of the Future : http://www.cio.com/conferences/eds/
perception of performance will also be low. In
the banking industry, she has established a
positive correlation between the use of ITs
and the advancement of executives over the
past three years. This signals performance
Whatever the case, we must be realistic.
As reported by The Economist: history suggests that decades must past before the
relative gains of new technologies bear fruit:
after all, companies needed 40 years to
remodel their procedures around the use of
electricity. (The Economist, September
13,1993) ■
By Danielle Stanton
a trip to the year
a look at
the future
"If we want to make sure that ICTs live up to
their promises, we have to embrace the
movement ourselves"
Interview with
Don Tapscott
President, Alliance for Converging Technologies
How will information technologies
change the organisations of
Will this technological revolution
have as much impact on other areas
of society?
plan to provide each citizen with an Internet
address. Now that will certainly help to rapidly
increase Internet usage among Quebecers.
However, these positive measures should not
Don Tapscott: Their impact will be extraordi-
Yes. There is a tsunami approaching and it
nary. Take the Internet for example. The emer-
will not only affect the business environment,
make us feel self-satisfied if we want to be
gence of this new type of human communica-
but society as a whole. We are currently going
ready to face the new technological paradigm,
tion is rapidly and radically changing the
through an exploration phase. We are trying
we still have a long way to go.
economic infrastructure, not only modifying the
to determine how we can profit from this new
nature of organisations, but also the very way
communication structure, both in terms of
the industrial revolution the City of Glasgow in
goods and services are created.
improving training methods in the field of edu-
Scotland enjoyed great prosperity. Yet, although
cation and in terms of supporting social devel-
the industrial revolution was born in Great
greatest control possible over their entire
opment or means of co-operating as citizens
Britain, Glasgow did not foresee the changing
production. Remember: Henry Ford owned even
of one society. Profound changes will soon
tides. The City did not realise the scope of
those small companies that produced the
take place.
changes occurring all around it with respect to
Companies have always sought to have the
manufacturing. The city began to decline.
mahogany he needed to decorate his cars!
Soon, this era will have come and gone. There
is a new model on the horizon. Increasingly,
small and medium-sized enterprises are
forming alliances, networks and businesswebs. An Internet site is a technology;
a businessweb is an organisational structure,
a new type of administrative entity which allows
companies to join forces to design strategic
activities, develop markets, offer state-of-theart services. The Internet allows us to conduct
business in a manner we could not even have
imagined only a few years ago.
I would like to mention a historical fact. Until
Are Quebec and Canadian
organisations model users of ITs?
A few are. But not enough. But let me be
clear, we are not late in every area. The majori-
Today, Glasgow is a second zone city.
Are you saying that something similar
could happen here?
ty of the country’s organisations did not delay
Certainly. If we want to avoid a similar fate,
in adopting the Internet. Just as in other popu-
innovation is crucial. We must constantly strive
lations, today, one of every three households
to innovate and work tirelessly to make sure
with children has Internet access. And if we
that our institutions keep up with the times.
look more specifically at Quebec, I seem to
detect among you a curiosity, an open-mindedness with respect to ICTs . Some of your initiatives are certainly worthy of mention, like the
interview with Don Tapscott
come to light, like voting every night on one
co-ordinate, ensure leadership and financial
Lots of things. First, allow me to repeat
subject during the newscast! In the age of
management… but he will have to learn to do
myself, we must renew again and again our
electronics, democracy is something totally
without the concept of the “supreme master”
business models. The only way for an organisa-
different. It can become a great and noble
ruling over everything and everyone. In tomor-
project. Because of the Internet the common
row’s new economy, there will be no room for
citizen may cease to be perceived simply
that relic of the past.
Exactly what should we be doing?
tion to remain competitive in the new economy
will not be to initially know how to use information, provide good management or effective
marketing for its products. The only way will be
to continuously renew itself. New models are
already among us, revolutionising the delivery
of financial services, totally transforming the
way products are manufactured, etc.
Businesses simply have no choice. Emerging
as a consumer of government services and
become what he really is, i.e. the “owner of
government”. To this end, we have to carefully
reflect on the various avenues that ITs are
opening up for us.
Internet provides governments the opportunity
to fundamentally renew themselves, so that
they can play their role even more effectively.
models destroy old models as they develop.
This is an unexpected opportunity and it would
The only hope for survival is innovation.
be unforgivable not to seize it.
And that alone will not suffice. As a society,
Will this new type of manager
develop new skills, new
management methods?
Certainly. The skills required of tomorrow’s
managers will be very different from those
expected until now. For example, instead of
focusing on supervision, good managers of the
future will have to be skilled at creating an
environment where people will be motivated to
invent, innovate, succeed. An environment
if we do want to be left behind, we must invest
conducive to encouraging common work
a great deal of effort to change our institu-
towards common goals.
tions. The government is slow to adopt new
technologies and very resistant to change. This
poses a problem.
Are you saying that the government is
not handling this well?
Until now, our leaders have concentrated
Let’s talk about the government of
the future. What is your vision?
One of the determining factors will be the
Can you describe a typical day in the
life of tomorrow’s manager?
It is very difficult to generalise. It will all
their efforts on regulating the Internet, on
emergence of what I call the NET generation,
depend on the manager’s area of activity.
establishing conditions conducive to an effi-
those children aged 10 to 22 who are going to
However, I can offer one prediction: one-on-one
cient NET. That’s fine. But it is far from being
enter the workplace during the next few years .
communication will not disappear from the life
sufficient. To paraphrase that famous state-
In terms of ICTs, they will know so much more
of the technological manager except that he or
ment made by John F. Kennedy, I would say to
than the preceding generation. Their entry on
she will waste less time than their alter egos of
our elected officials: “Do not ask what the gov-
the work market will be a first in the history of
today in unending unproductive meetings. I am
ernment can do for the NET, but what the NET
humanity: it will be the first time that strategic
thinking for example of monthly meetings that
can do for the government”. ICTs provide us
knowledge will be in the hands of the younger
bring together all company employees to pre-
the opportunity to re-examine government
generation. They will invent new ways of collab-
sent the sales records - everyone falls asleep
structures and the manner in which public ser-
oration and co-operation in business. They will
listening to others rattle off statistics. The
vices are delivered, to reduce costs, and
change everything, revolutionise everything.
Internet will allow us to put an end to this
increase service quality... They also provide an
This intersection of technology and demo-
practice. The time gained will be reinvested in
extraordinary challenge: to rethink the very
graphics will bring about major changes.
interesting and productive work. Meetings
The executives of tomorrow will not only
between individuals will be devoted to produc-
manage as we perceive management now.
tive human contacts among colleagues which
Each of us will have his or her own area of
are always invaluable. In other words, the
standing of the infinite possibilities ICTs offer
authority or expertise and we will collaborate
typical day of tomorrow’s manager will be a day
in this respect. Some “off the wall” ideas have
with others within work cells. Managers will
during which he or she takes the time to think
nature of government, of the democratic
We still have only a very primitive under-
about the most intelligent way of benefiting
from those powerful tools – ICTs.
I admit that there is a risk that ICTs could
eventually create a very stressful and demand-
Let’s move on to a more personal
area. Are you personally a heavy user
of technologies?
And how! Always have been and increasingly
The emergence of ICTs doesn’t seem
to have made you nervous at all ...
We fear those things we do not understand,
things we don’t know. I don’t deny that there is
ing work environment, putting a lot of pressure
so. I surf the Web every day and honestly, I
a dark side to this: loss of confidentiality,
both on the manager and his or her associates.
don’t understand how anyone can work properly
potential censuring, invasion of one’s private
Senior management will have to be very care-
without it today.
life... However, currently, neither the general
ful: high performance cannot exist without quality of life at work. The two go hand in hand.
What are the critical factors that
will ensure that today’s managers
successfully adopt tomorrow’s
The basis has to be the establishment of a
I am presently living in a hotel. From there, I
ers appear in a
of e-mails and have sent
hurry to really face
just as many that I had
the technological
written beforehand in the
realities. That is
plane instead of watching
something that
some stupid movie or
makes me anxious.
reading some boring
Because time is of
company culture based on curiosity, one open
magazine. Without such
to new ideas.
tools, a number of people
Moreover, one thing is essential: personal
population nor managers, nor government lead-
have downloaded dozens
the essence .
To those who are
would have tried to reach
concerned about
commitment from each and every manager.
me by phone today and
I am speaking directly here to those who are
would have probably
world of tomorrow,
reading these lines: if your fingers are not on
interrupted me right in
who fear that ICTs
the keyboard – if you are not clicking - not your
the middle of my work.
secretary – on the mouse to get onto the
ICTs have allowed me to
increase business
Internet, you are missing the boat. Using ICTs
communicate with them
performance than
personally is an absolute prerequisite to under-
at my own pace and in
standing the technological paradigm.
my own time.
sess an "innovation" command! They will have
to make an effort each and every day to ask
will be used more to
individual quality of
life – I would say
this: I know of no
Managers also need to remember that ICTs,
no matter how powerful they are, do not pos-
the technological
Do ICTs affect your
personal life?
ensure that everything is done
Yes, and very much
themselves if strategies can be improved upon,
so. In terms of my family,
if certain products can be made more sophisti-
ICTs help me plan holi-
cated... If they don’t, their competitors will be
days with those who are
more than pleased to do it for them.
far away. We also help
better way to
to your satisfaction
than to personally
get involved in the
movement. ■
each other make online
Will the massive arrival of ICTs
mean that, over time, managers
will disappear?
purchases (in all honesty,
it is my children who
mostly help me). When I
No. But surely we will need less middle man-
am travelling, I also com-
agement. In the traditional hierarchy, this man-
municate with my daugh-
agement category is more or less called upon
ter at home every day.
to amplify messages coming from the top. But
ICTs have not invaded my life – because I do
ICTs are going to allow an increasingly fluid
not allow them to invade my life.
circulation of information from top to bottom.
If the first thing you do when you get home is
The status of middle management will no
to rush to your e-mail to check for messages –
longer be required, and will finally disappear
before hugging your spouse or your children,
unless these people themselves bring to light
you are falling into the trap. ICTs are not good
some added value that will benefit the new
or bad in their own right in terms of your per-
technological enterprise. It’s possible. But I am
sonal life – they are not the ones deciding how
not revealing any new facts when I say that
you are going to organise your family life or
those who have the power in any paradigm are
your business, just as they are not going to
often the last to want to adopt a new one...
decide how we should manage the nation. That
is up to us. And no one else.
By Danielle Stanton
interview with Alain Pinsonneault
and Suzanne Rivard
Imasco Professor, Information Systems, McGill University Management Department
Professor, École des Hautes Études Commerciales
“It is the corporate vision/strategy
that determines how managers
will use information technologies”
How are technologies going
to transform tomorrow’s
Alain Pinsonneault: Research has
shown that to date, ICTs mainly
have allowed companies to more
effectively co-ordinate their activities
within the organisation and with
external partners. ICTs have also
allowed for improved monitoring and
control. The net result? Companies
have decreased in size and
alliances with suppliers and other
companies have been strengthened.
Today’s companies have
become more flexible, less formal.
They are increasingly networkminded companies. Sometimes
firms are spread out geographic-
ally with their teleworkers and
remote suppliers. There are even
virtual companies that are only
accessible via telecommunications.
Suzanne Rivard: I agree with the
result. But I would examine the subject from another angle. The question I would ask myself is not how
ICTs are going to transform organisations, but how can I use ICTs to
implement the transformations I am
considering? In today’s economic
environment– globilization of markets, new consumer and business
client expectations, customized marketing – companies have had to
adapt their structures and their business process to become more flexible and to react quickly. As it happens, ICTs allow them to do this. In
other words, basically, it is not so
much ICTs that create networking or
virtual companies, but rather it is
the need to satisfy requirements
that lead us to use ICTs to create
networking or virtual companies.
A. P.: ICTs provide opportunities,
but the decision to act or not to act
obviously belongs to the manager.
The tool does not necessarily determine the measures undertaken. The
tool does not decide, it only provides the opportunity.
How have and how will ICTs
transform the role of managers?
A. P.: ICTs do not always affect
managers’ work in the same way.
As a general rule, they allow managers to devote less time to routine
tasks and more time to other activities. But everything depends on the
company’s orientation. A manager
who is in the habit of working in a
certain fashion is given a
new, very flexible tool – it
Today’s companies have become more flexible, less formal.
They are increasingly network-minded companies.
is up to him to react. Yet,
as we all know, human
nature is such that the natural reacS. R. : Indeed. As a matter of
tion is to do things exactly as they
fact, one study that we conducted
were done before. That is why the
among three major Montreal firms
tool will never replace the compahas demonstrated clearly that first
ny’s orientation, i.e. senior manageand foremost it is the context, i.e.
ment’s vision.
the company’s orientation, that
Let me give you an example:
determines the degree to which
the massive implementation of
ICTs will be used.
automatic tellers in banks! This
The first company had chosen
technology provided banks with
to implement very modern techthe opportunity to reduce the numnologies. It had also planned for
ber of tellers, something a number
training sessions but had not
of them chose not to do – at least
determined specific orientations.
at the very beginning. Rather, they
After some time, it became apparchose to change the employees’
ent that the profile of managers
responsibilities, to use their work
using ICTs was quite similar to
force differently: sale of new
that of other managers.
products, advisory role, etc.
The second company had folHowever, they could have opted
lowed a similar path, except that it
for something totally different!
was, at that time, entering a very
In other words, basically, it is not so much ICTs that create networking or virtual companies, but rather it is the need
to satisfy requirements that lead us to use ICTs to create networking or virtual companies.
Learning to evolve in a life without boundaries
“Managers must discipline themselves to understand employees’ work, the various stages employees must pass, and they have to understand how
the remote training system operates, etc. It is essential that they have at least a general understanding;
this is essential to communication, to motivating
your team.”
“On a large scale, today’s managers must strive
to make the work place more casual. I spent three
years working in Saudi Arabia. In the Arab world,
business, family, religion and social activities
are experienced simultaneously. In the Western
world, the process is sequential: we work, go back
home, go to church, participate in social events
... But ICTs are changing this sequence: we have
an office at home, in our car, we can organize
our work schedule in various ways, etc. But we
have not yet assimilated the transformation.
Therefore, more often than not, we have the
unpleasant impression that work is encroaching
on our family and on our social life. And this
creates stress. We must evolve, learn how to
manage in a world where boundaries are less
and less impervious. Accepting this will make
life easier.”
Guy Marier, President - Bell Québec
interview with Alain Pinsonneault
and Suzanne Rivard
competitive market. Managers had
not received specific instructions
to use ICTs, but had been strongly
encouraged to effectively analyse
the new market in order to position the company. The result? This
time, heavy users of technologies
presented very different profiles
versus other managers; now they
were focusing strongly on information analysis. As a result, their
work was transformed.
The third company was a major
bank. While implementing new
technologies, it had asked branch
managers to emphasise customer
relations. The message was very
clear. Some time later, it became
apparent that heavy ICT users
were using technologies to eliminate routine tasks and thus
devote more time to customer
Three examples – identical findings: it is mainly the company’s
strategy that determines how managers will use technologies.
What are the other critical
factors or conditions for
success that lead managers
to adopt or not to adopt
technologies, or that will
allow them to develop the
right mix or not?
S. R.: There is another revealing
study. Conducted among 400 corporate managers, its findings demon-
strate that users’ perception,
i.e., their confidence that the
technological tool will improve their
performance, represents a major
condition for success. Training is
therefore very important, if not
crucial. Of course, I am not talking
about developing “typing” skills, but
skills to use the tool intelligently. In
other words, we have to help managers assimilate the technology we
provide: through effective training of
course, but also through ongoing
technical support.
Giving laptops to managers so
that they can do their own secretarial work does not appear profitable to me. Providing them with
an eight-hour training session on
Windows – and then not providing
the laptop for another two weeks
or two months – is not profitable
either. This is seven hours too
much! It is better to organise one
hour of training followed up by
good technical support. This way,
they will learn how to deal with
this tool in their own time. In all
such cases, customization is the
order of the day.
A. P.: This is a very important point.
Training must provide managers the
opportunity to understand the possibilities and the limitations of such
technology. It is then up to them to
"translate", to discover the applications relevant to their work, their
field of interest.
ICTs are too often considered to
be the business of technologists.
Yet they are mainly management
levers that fall under the responsibility of managers - who must
develop the reflex of asking themselves what they can do with ICTs,
how they can get the most out of
Does the introduction of
technologies in the professional life of managers
impact their personal life –
positively or negatively?
How can a balance be
A. P.: Numerous studies have confirmed that the presence of a computer in the home generally leads to
an increase in the number of hours
worked. The same holds true for
those who own laptops, as if managers felt an obligation to use it.
Studies on telework reveal the
same findings, that is, a 15 to 20%
increase in time worked. Personally,
I feel that technologies do add
more pressure: gains in terms of
flexibility have certainly increased
S. R.: I agree with Alain. But, at the
same time, I think that the flexibility
provided by ICTs can contribute to
reducing stress. I can, for example,
choose when to respond to my
e-mail, it can be in the evening, or
even during the night. In yesterday’s
word, I probably would have waited
for the stack of notes, or pink and
yellow slips to accumulate on my
desk because I did not always have
time to respond. The immediacy
and the brevity of current communications have removed a considerable amount of stress. Personally, I
have gained something – I have
improved my quality of life.
But are we going to reach
a point where the boundary
between our professional
and personal lives will
disappear? Wouldn’t that be
less frustrating in the end?
A. P.: Personally, I think that would
be very ill-advised. On the contrary,
soon we will have to define new
rules, establish an etiquette for
communications in the technological age. Today, we are expected to
instantaneously reply to all communications we receive, no matter
what their origin! Cellular phones
and e-mail are marvellous instru-
interview with Alain Pinsonneault
and Suzanne Rivard
ments, but they can have very negative impacts on our personal lives.
S. R.: People will have to learn
self-discipline. Humans need and
will always need privacy. Personal
life must be protected.
On a totally different
subject, do you feel that
universities are providing
effective training for
tomorrow’s managers – in
terms of technology?
A. P.: As a general rule, I would
say yes. On the one hand, management students are required to
take information technology
courses. Such courses not only
include direct utilisation of ICTs,
but also include ICT integration
into the management process. On
the other hand, we have noticed
that an increasing number of
students also have “minors” in
technologies. I would even add
that the technologists we are
training today are a far cry from
yesterday’s computer specialists.
They have a good understanding
of commerce, and of how
businesses work. These elements
come together to create a
interview with
Interview conducted by CEFRIO
promising and interesting synergy.
S. R.: Today’s students have
integrated ICTs effectively. At the
HEC, and as is probably the case
in most Québec universities, management students have laptops;
they download their classes, do
their work in the classroom and
their papers on their PC. For
them, the computer is simply an
everyday object.
But mostly, students are
very aware that information
technologies are without any
doubt their most useful tool. They
have grasped the fact that any
manager’s work boils down to
processing information: employee
performance ratings, customer
dealings or management of
meetings … For them, information
is both the raw material and the
finished product. ■
Guy Marier
President, Bell Québec
“The manager must add value to information; access to
information does not eliminate the need to communicate,
to motivate, to create and to work
as a team.”
What role does technology play in the transformation of Bell?
Guy Marier: The evolution of any company must be viewed from a number of points. But let
us only examine two which are closely related within our company: technologies and market .
With the development of technologies, and mostly with the advent of the Internet, computers
and telecommunications have become closely interrelated. For a company like Bell, tomorrow’s
engineers will also need to be computer experts. It will be necessary for them to be very
familiar with technologies, to understand their potential in terms of communication network
application, to ensure their network interoperability and finally, on top of all that, to be
outstanding interpretive experts. Their job will be to help managers make the right decisions,
integrate technological levers in companies and organisations.
“Until recently, one of the greatest powers of any manager stemmed from the information
that he or she possessed and how he/she used it. Following the emergence of new technological
tools, everyone has access to the same data in real time. For the new manager, the challenge
is now to increase the added value of the information in his/her possession. This manager must
interpret and incorporate this information in his/her management strategies and activities.”
Only those who adapt will survive
the revolution
“I am not only a heavy user but a
promoter of ICTs because I am involved in
electronic commerce! The Internet is literally my work base. My role is to convince
businesses that they can be more profitable
if they take advantage of the information
“Today’s managers must adapt: information
is easy to access at all times, tracking the
evolution of competitors is easy, technical
operations of yesteryears have been
significantly simplified, if not automated,
etc. Freed from repetitive operations,
managers can now devote their time to real
management. Their first role is to make sure
that their company takes advantage of
all new available tools, because only businesses that manage to adapt will survive”.
Michel Vincent, director, Business Development, SIBN
interview with
Guy Marier
Networks are already increasingly complex and require numerous
technologies. There are communications from individuals to PC, from PC
to PC, from telephone to PC, etc. The trend is gradually taking us towards
a single network where several technologies will coexist. Such a network
will be less complex, fully interoperable and more reliable.
Technologies are in the process of transforming the
telecommunications market: what is your position?
New technologies are going to cause current dividing lines to fade and
they are going to transform the more traditional products like local
service and long distance service. By 2003, it is expected that data
transmission, the Internet, electronic commerce, as well as information
systems and technologies will play a much more significant role.
Therefore, we are examining these new technologies in an effort to
executives in Montreal, presentations were only available and could only
determine their multiple applications and the full potential that can
be viewed through a computer dedicated to each of the executives
develop the products and services we offer our clients. We are also
present in the room! All the administrators were taking notes straight
banking on these new technologies: a company like ours cannot afford to
from the electronic file on their PC. It was a real success.
wait for telecommunications to develop – we must be at the forefront!
For example: the IP protocol opens up new vistas and potential new
products that we incorporate and offer to our clients. On a wider scale,
for any company, the Internet affects not only the way it operates but
also the very manner in which it promotes and markets its products. At
Are technologies in the process of changing the role
of managers? What impact are they going to have on
tomorrow’s managers?
Until recently, one of the greatest powers of any manager stemmed
Bell, our challenge is to support Quebec and Canadian firms so that they
from the information that he or she possessed and how he/she used it.
can build on the advanced telecommunication services (voice, data,
Following the emergence of new technological tools, everyone has
IP technologies) and position themselves favourably in their market.
access to the same data in real time. For the new manager, the
We would like these companies to integrate the Internet in their way of
challenge is now to increase the added value of the information in
doing things and to gain access to a world wide market.
his/her possession. This manager must interpret and incorporate this
information in his/her management strategies and activities. However,
How do your managers use technologies on a daily basis?
Technologies have been well integrated among our staff and they
above all, access to information does not eliminate the need to
communicate, to motivate, to create and to work as a team. The tools
are part of an ongoing process. We want to take full advantage of
are different but the social and relational aspects of work remain
technological means. Recently, during a meeting of the company’s
of primary importance.
interview with
Speaking of skills, which ones do you want to develop
among Bell managers so that they can assimilate
such technologies?
There must be a will to harness the new technologies and build
upon them. It is important for our managers, sales staff and
technologists to focus on emerging services in order to be at the
forefront, and to be able to identify business opportunities and
present them to clients. Everyone has to develop that reflex.
For example, let us examine electronic commerce. With this new
Guy Marier
Will the use of technologies affect your employment
structure? For example, is it possible that you
will need fewer managers or that their job descriptions
will be changed?
As emerging services develop, we will of course need new skills;
there will be a natural migration towards new jobs, new types of jobs.
For now, the trend we are witnessing does certainly not point to a
reduction in the number of managerial jobs. At Bell, for example, to
explore new business opportunities, attack emerging markets and
form of transaction, the four Ps of marketing (Price, Promotion, Place,
develop new products, we set up small independent units. People who
Product) need to be reinterpreted. The retail store model must be
work in such units – that we call centres for excellence – can operate
reinvented and telecommunication networks play a major role in this
in a distinct manner, adapted to the market they are analysing.
sense. Our managers, sales staff, our employees as a whole must
have a good understanding of where these changes are headed to
help customers through the changeover.
Exactly! Is this transformation difficult for your staff?
Difficult? No. But challenging? No doubt. Once an employee has
understood and assimilated it, introducing a new product can become
very motivating. However, converting to new technologies requires a
lot of support from managers and from the organisation.
Management must provide proper training and a strong infrastructure.
This support must be felt by all the departments, e.g. Sales,
Customer Service, Invoicing, etc. Bell sells between 5 000 and 6 000
Internet subscriptions every week; after-sales service must be
impeccable. must be impeccable. Sales staff must always feel
supported by senior management and the company.
Philippe Biron, senior director of information technologies, Hydro-Québec
We must not drown in the sea of new tools
“ICTs simplify the traditional management process:
I can now approve, directly on screen, employee time
sheets, process various forms, complete transactions
that formerly required the intervention of clerks,
of secretaries.
“On the other hand, ICTs create a new form of stress.
Let’s look at e-mail for example. I now receive an
impressive number of documents, several of which
are perfectly useless. That’s because, for the sender,
the operation has become very, if not too easy: all
organisation executives are now just a click away!
In my opinion, we have to learn to manage new technologies. We have adopted the new medium, we
now have to define the new rules of usage, of management. Otherwise, managers will soon be submerged, and we risk creating a new bureaucracy. In
short, we have to learn quickly how to intelligently use these new tools of knowledge!”
The taming process is not yet over
“ICTs have completely transformed the way I
work. I can reach people in a second; it is very
rare that I ask other people to help me with
my mail. I can delegate not only part of a task,
but a whole task; for example, I can prepare the
basic part of my own presentations. All this has
changed the relationships we have with other
employees. Using the new tools, managers are
clearly more independent. ICTs allow me to
save a lot of time, to be more organized, more
efficient. Even managing my schedule has become
child’s play!
“New tools are going to improve again. I foresee, among other things, that we will travel a lot
less in the near future, especially for regular
Today still, meetings take up
a lot of our time – time oftentimes spent in
inter-city travel. We have not yet totally
managed videoconferencing, but it is only a
question of time.”
Cécile Cléroux, President, Cifra Médical
interview with
Guy Marier
But won’t emerging markets eventually play a very
significant role – requiring you to re-examine the
very structure of your organisation?
If anything may lead us to re-examine our organisational structure,
it is primarily the competition rather than emerging markets. Everything is
evolving very rapidly. We must react quickly in an industry where products
are multiplying and where demand is strong. We create additional
products in response to new demand, in response to continually increas-
ing needs. The introduction of new technology does not necessarily entail
the rapid disappearance of traditional technology but it may cause it to
evolve or undergo transformation. When the mobile phone came out ten
years ago, some people predicted that homes would soon be wireless.
You know as well as I do that there are more wires now than there have
ever been.
In reality, the addition of technologies allows us to communicate more.
At Bell, our development model rests on the following premise: evolution
rather than revolution.■
Micheline Bouchard, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Motorola Canada
Offices without boundaries
“The PC, Internet, intranet, cellular phones, the
personal digital assistant…; I am a heavy user of
ICTs! I always travel with my “personal network”.
It follows me everywhere: Montreal or Toronto, in
Europe, at the office or at home – except of course,
when I choose otherwise. The balance between work
and family life has always been very important
to me.
“I can appreciate the fact that in our daily lives,
geographic boundaries no longer exist. ICTs have
provided me with a new independence and a new
flexibility. These tools will continue to improve and
we will gain more in that respect. For example,
soon information will be accessible immediately
and we will spend less time on research.
“Of course, we will expect more of managers: we
live in a world of immediacy, of interactions –
this is no longer a world of “postponements”.
E-mail has made us more dependent on communication. The medium demands an almost immediate answer. However, and initially, I perceive ICTs
as tools that help me organize my own activities
based on what is expedient for me.”
By Danielle Stanton
interview with
Yves Lasfargue
Yves Lasfargue, Director of the Centre d'études et de formation pour l'accompagnement des changements (CREFAC),
more effective work
load measurement
Can you explain the
concept of ergostress?
Yves Lasfargue : Let’s begin
with the word. Ergostress refers to
account this
“work” (ergo) and to “stress”. The
last element
basic idea of this new concept is
because, in
the following: as we pass from an
the information
industrialized society to an infor-
mation society, we have to change
pleasure can com-
the way we measure the work load.
pensate for the
Prior to this, the only measurement
other three factors
unit used was the “work time” .
A parallel can be drawn
However, in an information society,
using the example of nutrition. Fifty
production and stress are decreas-
years ago, we simply measured
ingly linked to the hours the individ-
the weight of food. Since then, we
ual spends at the office. It is
have learned to understand their
important that we take into
caloric value, their nutritional
account the intensity and the den-
value, their sugar content etc.
sity of the work load... - factors
Consequently, our perception is
which, I will agree, are practically
more complex – the same can be
impossible to evaluate objectively.
said of work.
But, certainly the “felt” work load
can be measured. That is what we
are doing. As a result, ergostress
allows us to understand the following association: physical load
experienced, mental work load
experienced, stress and …
pleasure. As surprising as it may
appear, we do have to take into
How do you specifically
measure the level of
Initially we had to identify the
sional activities into account:
Five major sources of
social, family, personal and sports
ergostress were identified. First,
activities. Finally, the last ques-
there is the work station: posture,
tions deal with a list of stress
organisation of the station, loads
symptoms used to verify the
carried, air conditioning, etc.
coherence of answers provided.
Secondly, corporate organisation:
Overall, the questionnaire deals
power and responsibilities, profes-
with some one hundred factors.
sional relationships within the
company, relationships with
clients and suppliers, ICT related
problems, etc. Third, environmental factors are taken into account:
reorganisation or potential firings,
sources of ergostress. We then
perception of the social useful-
designed a four page question-
ness of one’s work, etc. Fourthly,
naire to measure the influence of
and given that an individual is indi-
each source.
visible, we also take extra-profes-
Is this questionnaire
available here?
It can be found on the Internet:
www.ergostressie.com. The expert
system will provide an initial diagnosis, not a specific evaluation (on a
scale of 1 to 10 for example), but it
will indicate those areas that require
work to improve or master your
interview with
We have also designed a second
expert system that allows you to calculate the distribution of time among
professional, social, personal and
family activities.
Based on your data, is
professional time taking
over more and more time
in the life of managers?
Overall, for managers, profes-
parents) which often add to
households: less than 25% of
parental responsibilities.
households. We have not yet
In France, has the
introduction of ICTs
significantly changed the
balance between professional and personal life?
acquired the habit of home com-
Finally, the Internet also provides
sional time represents 50% of
a third expert system that feeds the
waking hours, social time, 2%,
debate on a very French issue:
and personal and family time,
decreasing the work week from 39
Perceptions have recently changed
What are the major factors
that increase ergostress
among managers?
in France. At the outset, we
to 35 hours. Changing the theoretical work time is one thing, but there
also has to be a balance between
real times (time devoted to all aforementioned activities). This will allow
us to see if decreasing work time
really changes something.
So, does reducing the
work week change the
balance – does it really
change things?
It is too early to tell. But we
have enriched the collective
debate on the issue – because
The first consideration are the
Yves Lasfargue
Again, it is too early to tell.
puters – at least not compared to
what is happening here!
How do you foresee the
role of the manager in the
future - as ICTs become
Virtual work groups - via net-
noticed a certain hesitancy, even
works – are already widespread.
resistance at times. Then,
Within these groups, leadership is
technologies became appealing,
not always the responsibility of
work station characteristics: the
especially the Internet and cellular
managers. But hierarchy remains
manager’s work load is constantly
telephones. Currently, we are
important. The role of the cyber-
increasing due to the development
going through the discovery period
manager is to bring the circuits
of portable tools and the increas-
and many people have become
together, to ensure coexistence.
ing number of trips, air condition-
believers. So much so, that there
He or she must learn to manage
ing problems and use of tobacco
has been no thinking out process
salaried teleworkers, to organise
in the workplace (in France, air
because the honeymoon has not
work differently, to develop new
conditioning is often defective in
yet ended.
skills... However, my feeling is
office towers).
It is however important to
Reflection has focused mostly
that the development of newer
on teleworking and close proximity
skills will not mean the demise of
older ones.
mention a new phenomenon in our
working: what is most profitable?
we expect to have a public debate
country: an increase in the finan-
Should activities be regrouped or
if people don’t know where they
cial and criminal liability of senior
dispersed? Recently, Renault
issue: tomorrow’s managers will
themselves stand? The result
management. This represents
chose to regroup its “studies and
have to be conciliators. They will
additional stress, one with which
methods” services in an
have to ensure that ICTs do not
we have to learn to deal.
enormous plant that contains
result in exclusions, i.e. new
that is indeed what it is. How can
would be that we would speak in
general terms or provide individual
examples. Any collective reflection, whether in companies or
In terms of the organisation,
7,500 people near Paris. Prior to
forms of segregation within firms
business deadlines which have to
this change, such activities were
separating computer buffs from
How can we obtain more
information about the
concept of ergostress?
be met, and which are becoming
spread out in 60 centres. I could
reflection – one that is based
unbelievable, also admittedly add
also give you examples where the
on the most precise available
to stress. The mere weight of the
opposite was done.
hierarchy is also another factor,
Moreover, the union survey
You therefore strongly recommend that all managers
do this type of exercise?
as is the new style of business
that I mentioned before demon-
relationships – dealings with
strated that in France, ICTs are
clients and suppliers are much
basically used in the work environ-
Absolutely. Among others, a
more frequent than they were, a
ment. I must say that we only
major French union has purchased
factor which also adds to the
have a small number of online
part of the system. The union
mental load of a number of play-
used it to conduct a major survey
ers. Finally, management by stress
on time distribution, just prior to
(benchmarking, management by
the adoption of the law in 1999.
project, flux tendus or just in time)
This will provide a very strong
decreases feelings of security and
reference document for future sur-
as a result increases the level of
veys. Moreover, EDF (Électricité de
unions, must start by personal
France) is now conducting another
There is another important
With regard to extra-profession-
survey using our questionnaire
al activities, a new phenomenon is
among its teleworkers, a survey
on the increase: lineal ascen-
that will certainly be instructive.
dants’ responsibilities (ageing
I am publishing a book in
Januar y: L’ergostressie,
syndrome de la société de
l'information. It will contain all
relevant information including our
research findings. ■
Yves Lasfargue
Yves Lasfargue, Director of the Centre d'études et de formation
pour l'accompagnement des changements (CREFAC), France
(…) Ergostress refers to “work” (ergo) and to “stress”. (…) as we pass
from an industrialized society to an information society, we have to change
the way we measure the work load.
Prior to this, the only measurement unit used was the “work time”.
However, in an information society, production and stress are decreasingly
linked to the hours the individual spends at the office.
As a result, ergostress allows us to understand the following association:
physical load experienced, mental work load experienced, stress and …
pleasure. As surprising as it may appear, we do have to take into account
this last element because, in the information society, pleasure can compensate for the other three factors.
(...) Five major sources of ergostress were identified. (…) the work station,
(…) corporate organisation, (…) environmental factors, (…) extra-professional activities, (…) a list of stress symptoms.
For more information,
refer to complete
interview on page 18.
Centre francophone d’informatisation des organisations (CEFRIO), 900 René-Lévesque East, Suite 717, Québec City, Québec G1R 2B5
Telephone: 418.523.3746 Fax: 418.523.2329 E-mail: [email protected] www.cefrio.qc.ca