In class we’ve learned that an innovation can be an improvement upon or a change in a certain product or process. Essentially, there are innovative ways in expand upon what is already available making those pre-existing products and processes more valuable. I came across an article on Instant Messaging (IM) in the workplace, which challenged my view on how the technology is currently used.
A study conducted by researchers at Ohio State found that IM may actually be less disruptive to the daily business operation than other forms of communication like telephone, email and face to face conversations. The study showed that employees use Instant Messaging strategically to find out the availability of their co-workers in lieu of causing a distraction by visiting personally.
I believe instant messaging to be a viable tool for office use. When considering the number of times that people could randomly “drop by your office”, thus distracting your work, instant messaging seems to be a lesser distraction. Ohio State Communication Professor R. Kelly Garrett, who co-authored the study, suggests that while “instant messaging led to more conversation on the computer, the conversations were briefer”. Often, a co-worker may want a short answer, for which instant messaging would be ideal.
The idea of using IM in the office sounds like the perfect way to communicate without delay and also a viable way to decrease inbox clutter. However, given the current reputation of instant messages as a tool for social communication only, do you think this innovation will be accepted in the average workplace? Can you foresee any major problems? In my opinion, the current stigma of IM as being a social outlet will slow its implementation into routine business activity. However, if companies can look past the stigma, IM could become a tool to save time and increase productivity.