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Opening the Box: Information Technology, Work Practices, and Wages


  • Larry W. Hunter
  • John J. Lafkas


Using 1994–95 survey data on customer service representatives in 303 U.S. bank branches, the authors investigate the effects on wages of information technology (IT), of work practices, and of those two factors in combination. Offline high-involvement practices (measured by the presence of quality circles) were related positively to wages, as was more extensive use of IT that supports sales efforts. Where IT was used more extensively to automate routine processes, wages were lower in branches that did not have high-involvement work practices. The effects are partially explained by higher education requirements and more extensive introductory training in higher-wage jobs.

Suggested Citation

  • Larry W. Hunter & John J. Lafkas, 2003. "Opening the Box: Information Technology, Work Practices, and Wages," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(2), pages 224-243, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:56:y:2003:i:2:p:224-243

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    Cited by:

    1. Adam Seth Litwin, 2013. "Not Featherbedding, but Feathering the Nest: Human Resource Management and Investments in Information Technology," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 22-52, January.
    2. Peter Skott & Frederick Guy, 2005. "Power-Biased Technological Change and the Rise in Earnings Inequality," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2005-17, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    3. Virginia Doellgast, 2010. "Collective Voice under Decentralized Bargaining: A Comparative Study of Work Reorganization in US and German Call Centres," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 48(2), pages 375-399, June.
    4. Frederick Guy & Peter Skott, 2008. "Information and Communications Technologies, Coordination and Control, and the Distribution of Income," Journal of Income Distribution, Journal of Income Distribution, vol. 17(3-4), pages 71-92, September.
    5. Michael J., Handel, 2004. "Implications of Information Technology for Employment, Skills, and Wages: Findings from Sectoral and Case Study Research," MPRA Paper 80241, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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