Friday, January 02, 2004

Services and People

The service-based business can lead to what the American philosopher Albert Borgmann describes as "a disconnected, disembodied and disoriented sort of life". Our attention and action is diffused over an increasingly large space, and - both as consumers and as workers - we are reduced to a source of instructions, which the technology performs through a network of services. Borgmann calls this "the irony of technology".

For workers and individual managers, the service-based business typically deconstructs and fragments the traditional organizational structures and processes, which provided a sense of meaning and focus to their working lives.

One of the management challenges in implementing the service-based organization is to provide new forms of meaning and focus to individuals and teams, so that people can work happily and productively, and contribute intelligently to quality and process improvement.

Our best hope is that we can align the human factors with the general design principles of service value and service integrity, to produce organizational structures and processes that are good for consumers and workers alike.