ICT, skills, and organizational change: evidence from Italian manufacturing firms

Strategic Direction

ISSN: 0258-0543

Article publication date: 23 May 2008



Giuri, P. (2008), "ICT, skills, and organizational change: evidence from Italian manufacturing firms", Strategic Direction, Vol. 24 No. 7. https://doi.org/10.1108/sd.2008.05624gad.008



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

ICT, skills, and organizational change: evidence from Italian manufacturing firms

Article Type: From: Strategic Direction, Volume 24, Issue 7.

Giuri P., Torrisi S., ZinovyevaN. Industrial & Corporate Change, February 2008, Vol. 17 No. 1, Start page: 29, No. of pages: 36

Purpose - To investigate relationships between information and communications technology (ICT) adoption, workforce skills, organizational change and productivity. Design/methodology/approach Refers to prior studies of complementarity between the variables at industry and individual levels, focuses on small- to medium-sized enterprises (SME), conducts a brief review of skill-based, technical and organizational theories, states that testing of these theories has usually involved large firms, and observes that SME cannot usually afford ICT solutions, and that ICT solutions do not account for the characteristics of smaller firms. Hypothesizes that human capital productivity increases with adoption of new technologies, that complementarity between skills, use of modern organizational practices, and/or organizational change, improves productivity, and that the productivity premium of simultaneous investment in ICT and human capital is increased by organizational change. Analyses survey data on 680 Italian manufacturing firms acquired by an Italian bank, calculates correlations between the variables, and lays out the mathematical model used to estimate the effects of paired variables on productivity. Measures workforce skills in terms of employees’ educational level, and organizational change in terms of reported product and process innovations, seeing team-working, quality circles, information-sharing and company/supplier employee exchange as modern work practices. Findings Finds that ICT is positively correlated with skilled workers and organizational change, reports that evidence of complementarity between ICT, skills and organizational change was not found, but records that, for SME in the sample, pair-wise complementarity between organizational change and modern practices/skills enhanced productivity. Originality/value Shows that SME may gain only limited benefit from ICT investments.ISSN: 0960-6491 Reference: 37AE089 DOI: 10.1093/icc/dtm038

Keywords: Communications technology, Italy, Organizational change, Organizational performance, Productivity rate, Small to medium-sized enterprises