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Productivity Paradox

Pony Express ImageIn last Saturday morning’s lecture, our professor introduced the Productivity Paradox to us. Since the 1960s, productivity gains have not been correlated with investment in IT. As we have been introducing more and more technology into the workplace, we did so expecting that we could produce more output in our jobs.

However, our levels of productivity have not increased. They have remained constant. What is the reason behind this dilemma?

Additional Technology comes with additional costs.

When new technology is introduced, it requires training. It takes time and resources for everyone to learn how to use the technology and to use it efficiently. New technology also requires a support team to assist when it breaks or isn’t functioning properly.

Our professor provided us with a humorous example to prove his point. If you gave a Pony Express Rider a cell phone so they could call ahead to the next town to alert the post to have a new horse ready, it doesn’t improve the time the mail arrives to its final destination. Even with the technological benefits of a cell phone, the Pony Express Rider still needs to ride the horse to reach his final destination.

There is no denying that technology has made our jobs and lives easier, but that doesn’t mean we are producing more. In today’s world, the magic is fading and an extra dose of technology doesn’t guarantee more output. Our production levels increase as we personally hone new skills, knowledge, and resources.