IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Productivity and Information Technology: The Elusive Connection


  • Maryellen R. Kelley

    (H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213-3890)


This study analyzes the effect of information technology on the efficiency of production operations in a specific manufacturing process. Survey data from 584 establishments engaged in the machining process in 21 different industries are used to construct and test an empirical model that takes into account product characteristics, the type of technology (computer-programmable automation or conventionally controlled) machines, the extent of technological change at the plant, process-specific characteristics such as the scale of operations and degree of customization, labor policies, and structural features of the organization of work. The results indicate that there is a significant efficiency advantage from using programmable automation technology and that technological advantages accumulate with experience and with the repeated opportunities for learning associated with large volume and frequent product changes. The most efficient use of this technology occurs in plants with work practices that involve a higher ratio of machines to workers (as in a cellular approach to manufacturing) and allow production workers to perform programming tasks to a greater degree. Unionized plants are also significantly more efficient than non-union plants.

Suggested Citation

  • Maryellen R. Kelley, 1994. "Productivity and Information Technology: The Elusive Connection," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 40(11), pages 1406-1425, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:40:y:1994:i:11:p:1406-1425
    DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.40.11.1406

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:40:y:1994:i:11:p:1406-1425. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Matthew Walls). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.