The Productivity of Information Technology: Review and Assessment
AbstractProductivity is the bottom line for any investment. The quandary of information technology (IT) is that, despite astonishing improvements in the underlying capabilities of the computer, its productivity has proven almost impossible to assess. There is an increasing perception that IT has not lived up to its promise, fueled in part by the fact that the existing empirical literature on IT productivity generally has not identified significant productivity improvements. However, a careful review, whether at the level of the economy as a whole, among information workers, or in specific manufacturing and service industries, indicates that the evidence must still be considered inconclusive. It is premature to surmise that computers have been a paradoxically unwise investment. A puzzle remains in the inability of both academics and managers to document unambiguously the performance effects of IT. Four possible explanations are reviewed in turn: mismeasurement, lags, redistribution and mismanagement. The paper concludes with recommendations for investigating each of these explanations using traditional methodologies, while also proposing alternative, broader metrics of welfare that ultimately may be required to assess, and enhance, the benefits of IT. KEYWORDS: Productivity, Computers, Performance measurement, Economic value, Investment justification.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by MIT Center for Coordination Science in its series Working Paper Series with number 130.
Date of creation: Apr 1992
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://ccs.mit.edu/wpmenu.html
Other versions of this item:
- Brynjolfsson, Erik., 1992. "The productivity of information technology : review and assessment," Working papers #130. Working paper (Sloa, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
- Brynjolfsson, Erik., 1991. "The productivity of information technology : review and assessment," Working papers #125. Working paper (Sloa, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Orlikowski, Wanda J. (Wanda Janina), 1999. "Technologies-in-practice : an enacted lens for studying technology in organizations," Working papers WP 4056-99., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
- Lal, Kaushalesh, 2005.
"New Technologies and Indian SMEs,"
06, United Nations University, Institute for New Technologies.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Thomas Krichel).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.