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Information Systems Have Changed the Way We Collaborate and Work in Significant Ways

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Nowadays, the change of the social life is inseparable from the contribution of social science and technology. Information systems as a dominant force generated by the Information Science and Technology are the leading factor in the advanced modern science and technology system. The power of information has quickly changed the society, has influenced people’s ways of living and ways of working. Modern information system relies on technical part including information technology and information contents such as people’s activities including decision making, management and support operations. The information system promote efficiency of work and improve quality of life. This article will address the information systems that have changed the way we collaborate and work in significant ways from two aspects: the printing press and the virtual organisation.

The invention of the printing press and its dissemination around the world is hailed as one of the most influential events in between the tenth century and the twentieth century. The printing revolution has a great influence on people’s lives. It helped society enter into the modern period of information. (Eisenstein, Elizabeth L. ,1980)

Printing press has promoted the popularity of books in an extraordinary way. It helped to produce books in large quantity at low cost in a short time. In return, availability of books to ordinary people in society stimulated the development and reform in religions. Printing press is regarded as an important step in the democratization of knowledge (Howard Rheingold, 2009) due to the mass production of the printed version, printed books retained its momentum to thrive. Printed version over took the handwritten version, which faced to extinction because of its low productivity. Owing to the wide dissemination of printed books, the number of book readers increased. Church academic monopoly had been challenged in the past. Sacred writings priority is gradually replaced by the humanist scholar works. The success of printing was widely disseminated advocating religious reform in Europe. In 1517 before Martin Luther’s protest, printed Bibles in different native languages were available, religious reform matured.

The truth of the Gospel was no longer an exclusive use among a small number of privileged people. Ordinary people could also access to printed books. however the spiritual beliefs were different in different countries. The Roman Church could no longer maintain its supreme hierarchic leader ship. The purpose of the protestant reformation is to correct those flaws of the Catholic chuck, especially the sale of indulgences. Since the printings of indulgences were available, sales of indulgences became profitable. At the same time, the Protestants also used printed brochures, flyers and notices, etc., to widely disseminate their ideas and proposals. If there were no printing press, protestant claim could only be heard in local areas. Without the formation of an international important movement, to end the monopoly of the clergy on the academic, and to demolish ignorance and superstition, Western European would not be able to emerge from the “dark ages”.

Printing press changed the cooperation between authors and publishers. Before the invention of the printing press, there were national literature existed, however printing press stimulated the development of national literature. Spoken languages of all ethnic groups in Western Europe evolved into the written word in the 16th century, at the time medieval writing text disappeared. Latin, used to be as an universal language, was no longer popular. Emerging countries were supporting fever for the unity of national language. At the same time, the authors were looking for the best way to express their thoughts; Publishers encouraged authors to use their native language to write books, in order to occupy more market. The wide circulation of the publication of the novel, the plain language status had been consolidated. Unified common languages were promoted the development of national literature and culture. Printing press can also help people to change their work status.

Printings promote the spread of education and the promotion of knowledge. when book’s price is cheap, people can afford to buy and therefore acquire knowledge, thus affecting their life and view of world. Books boost people’s literacy rate high. In return, this stimulated the requirement for more books. In addition, handicraftsmen could make them a fortune by selling early printed manuals and advertising. Printing press helps some humble people to improve their social status. Such as in the immediate the Church Reformation in Germany. There was a priest and pastor born from a shoemaker and blacksmith family. This demonstrates that the printing press can provide the opportunity to improve the social status of those from lower class. Printing press helped in the revival of cultural, and religious reform. With the printing press, the cooperation among the people becomes more convenient, the way people work has changed fundamentally and thus speed up the spread of knowledge and information.

By the end of 1950s, with the development of the computer technology and increasing popularization word wide, the information society as a whole showed its impact to society gradually. The amount of information, dissemination of information, the speed of information processing and the extent of the application of information are all increasing with high speed. Mankind enters into the information age. Immediately, the Internet started to emerge.

In the nineties of the last century, the internet became more and more popular in the world. From 2000 to 2009, the number of Internet users rose from 394 million to 185.8 million globally (International Telecommunications Union,2010). In 2010, 1.5 billion people could access internet around the world, 30 billion Google searched every month, 2 billion videos viewed on YouTube every day and 300 million people accessed online blogs ( Antara News,2011) . Internet shortens the distance of the world, as well as entertain the life of the people. It derives a lot of derivatives, such as virtual organisation, which is also called network organisation. When a virtual organization forms an independent organisation through share resources to achieve their goals. it becomes the virtual enterprise. The operation of the virtual enterprise’s technology is based on a computer network. The development of market economy and network technologies mature in the new stage, to lay the foundation for the emergence of the virtual enterprise. If there is no network technology, there would not be the presence of a virtual enterprise. However, the virtual enterprise, how to change the traditional business model? This article will address this in the following three points.

First, the virtual organisation changes the way of company’s management, in particular the management efficiency. Entity business enterprise management is divided into three parts: top leaders, intermediate leaders and grass-roots employee. Top leaders pass information to intermediate leaders, grass-roots staff’s opinion is fed back to top leaders. For intermediate leaders the most important functions is to transmit information. At the same time, every one working in business enterprise is assigned to different grades, to some extent restrict the innovation capability of the staff, also reduce the enthusiasm of grass-roots employees to participate in enterprise management. This management makes each members has more freedom and independence in business enterprise. The enthusiasm of the staff increased, and the information delivers moment completion and ensures that the companies catch information in the market accurately, at the same time this management model enables employees quickly work out a problem and raised the work efficiency.

Second, virtual enterprises operating in the context of globalization, maintain a low-risk status. Entity business enterprise wants to carry out globalization management, not only face various large expenses, information feedback slow, Personnel management become very difficult, the market adapts to a difficult etc. Problem, and confront complicated foreign laws and government policy, the risk of international management is very high. However, the virtual enterprise through the telecommunications network within the worldwide business activities, combining different resources quickly, complete the design, production and sales of the product. Virtual enterprises take advantage of the advanced network applications, to expand the simulated sales market, greatly reduce the transaction costs of the enterprise.

Finally, it is the sharing of advanced technology. In the era of knowledge-based economy, mastery of advanced technology is a prerequisite for business to occupy the international market. However, such as the KNOW-HOW or its related technology belongs to corporate confidential. Enterprise technology is merely for an enterprise exclusively. If other companies wish to obtain this technology, they need to spend a lot of money. The result is that each enterprise technology is difficult to come together, it is difficult to create new value for the development of enterprise. Virtual Enterprise is an alliance with resources advantages. Union side to complete each task in the case of the protection of their intellectual property rights. Many enterprise security technology set simultaneously to create value for the virtual enterprise, greatly enhances the competitiveness of enterprises.

Virtual organisation changes the way of work. It brings many advantages as well as some disadvantages to the company’s management. Some of the tasks have to be performed by others, therefore this structure is very easy to lose control (cited in Fitzpatrick and Burke, 2000; Daft, 1991). It may result in chaos, if someone on the internet is not up to standard, all the advantages of such flexibility, fast turnaround and quality will disappear due to the weak link in the network. Same time also weakens loyalty of employees, reduce the participation of the employees of the organisation (cited in Fitzpatrick and Burke, 2000; Daft, 1991 ). Trust between the partners in the internet occupies a very important role, because the independence of the company involved, the elimination of powers from a single entity ( Pihkala et al., 1999; Franke ,1999). Relationship of mutual trust can eliminate the need for a lot of the official contract, If they fail, then the conflict will undermine the validity of the whole process.

The development of virtual organisations is just the in an earlier stage. Especially in some developing countries, there are still a lot of problems. However, the contribution of the virtual organization of modern society is still very important. Virtual organisations change ways of working and improve work efficiency. More and more online shopping provides convenience to consumers. If the government can establish the virtual organization law, virtual organizations can control the market.

Printing press and the virtual organisation are products of the two eras, they form part of the information system, change the way of collaboration and work. Today, when we sit in an office, surrounded by countless machines, and enjoys the convenience information technology brought to us. Information systems penetrate into people’s lives and work. on the one hand, bring a lot of convenience to the community, but on the other hand, also bring some adverse effects to the society. Information technology may have some negative impact. We must have a deep understanding to try to eliminate the adverse effects. Information systems are everywhere, in a very wide range. The information system of enterprise, along with its development and improvement of the information system to provide more convenient service for our lives. In conclusion, the application of information systems has been rapidly changing the way people live and work. Information system will continue to develop, and will be in more aspects of the benefit of mankind.


Eisenstein, Elizabeth L. (1980), “The Printing Press as an Agent of Change”, Cambridge University Press.

Howard Rheingold (2009), ” Moblogs Seen as a Crystal Ball for a New Era in Online Journalism “, Online Journalism Review, Jul. 9, 2009.

Internet users graphs (2010), ” Market Information and Statistics “, International Telecommunications Union


Fitzpatrick, W. M. & Burke, D. R. (2000). ” Form, functions, and financial realities for the virtual organisation “. SAM Advanced Management Journal, 65, 3, 13-20.

Pihkala, T., Varamaki, E. & Vesalainen, J. (1999). ” Virtual organisation and the SMEs: a review and model development “. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 11, 4, 335-349.

Franke, U. J. (1999). ” The virtual web as a new entrepreneurial approach to network organizations “. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 11, 3, 203-229.

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