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Chapter 4. Changing Work: Role of the Internet > The Issue of the Net - Pg. 68

Changing Work: Role of the Internet 68 subject only to the constraints of local regulatory practices and market realities. When considering downsizing to reduce overall expenses, a global company looks at such actions around the world, not just in one country, although senior management may elect to downsize only in one nation. But the point is that companies normally look at the total picture before making a decision. At the same time as the classic industrial model of management is alive and well, with many forms of traditional work hardly modified or only slightly transformed by technology for instance, new ele- ments are bearing down on the nature of work. Some of these have been discussed in earlier chap- ters. Many are profoundly significant. The one new element that is of greatest interest to manage- ment and the source of much curiosity, of course, is the role of the Internet. [2] As suggested earlier, it is an important consideration worthy of our attention, worry, and excitement. Because it is such an important new component in the work equation, we need to focus our attention on it. I describe some of the questions managers and employees are dealing with when figuring out how to mix work and the Internet to create competitive ways of generating profitable revenue. This chapter is, there- fore, only a slice of the broad topic of work, but about the one of greatest importance at the moment, one that will probably continue to draw management's attention at least through the second decade of this new century. By then management should have worked out many of the uncertainties pre- sented by the Internet for both the nature of work and the tasks of management. The Issue of the Net The reason the Internet, or e-business, gets so much attention is because business people realize that this networked collection of technological innovations is changing many things so quickly that traditional activities in the physical economy are being displaced by this new situation. We know that enterprises are evolving when they use this technology for greater uses of collaboration and alliances. They rely on more knowledge work, mobile workforces, and rapid communications. Work