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High tech's double edge: creating organizationally appropriate responses to emerging technologies

Daniel Barwick (Based at Alfred State College – SUNY, Alfred, New York, USA)
Karla Back (Based at Alfred State College – SUNY, Alfred, New York, USA)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 6 February 2007

1230

Abstract

Purpose

The recent literature advising higher education leaders is deficient in its discussion of the challenges and opportunities presented by new technologies. This article seek to describe one such technology, the blog, and suggest ways for approaching its use.

Design/methodology/approach

A case at Alfred State College is outlined, in which an employee started an anonymous blog as a vehicle for criticism of the administration. This incident is then used as a device for examining issues of communication and trust‐building in electronic venues.

Findings

The challenges and opportunities presented by openly critical academic blogs are in many cases unique to academia. The mistakes an administration may make include conceptual mistakes that academic leaders can make about the academic environment, technical mistakes that amateurs can make when attempting to manipulate a technical medium and, most importantly, process mistakes that leaders can make which deeply affect the trust levels in an organization. Although the blog medium is often portrayed as a “problem” for administrators, it is the philosophical orientation and communication principles of leaders that determine whether blogs truly present a problem for an administration.

Originality/value

There are a number of new technologies appearing in higher education and, although a great deal of attention is paid to how these new technologies are used to educate, little attention is paid to the leadership opportunities these technologies create. In contrast to the way they are presented in the educational media, blogs are an enabling technology that actually serve as magnifiers of communication, increasing the speed, distance, and intensity of the information transmitted.

Keywords

Citation

Barwick, D. and Back, K. (2007), "High tech's double edge: creating organizationally appropriate responses to emerging technologies", On the Horizon, Vol. 15 No. 1, pp. 28-36. https://doi.org/10.1108/10748120710735248

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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