MBA Research

Trend #13: Over-dependence on Technology

Business Trend

In our ongoing conversations with the business community, we asked them to identify business trends impacting the workplace. One of the most frequently identified trends: over-dependence on technology.

Workplace Implications

Digital natives entering the workplace have grown up with technology. They have not experienced life without smart phones, Google searches, and MapQuest. Unfortunately, many of them are not challenging or questioning what should be done, best ways to do it, or what information should or shouldn't be gathered. Many are not checking the accuracy of information prior to use and are not discerning when face-to-face communication is better than instant messaging, chat, etc. The over reliance on technology has led to new employees entering the workforce lacking presentation and social skills.

Classroom Implications

Although student understanding of business terminology is important, teachers should spend less time on rote memorization. They should, instead, have students apply terminology in the context of problem solving. Teachers need to use classroom activities that require students to apply critical thinking skills. These activities should be focused on real-life business problems that can be solved in multiple ways with and without technology.

Students should be encouraged to question their solutions and technology usage, asking themselves whether a better way can be found to solve the problem at hand. They should be taught that appropriate technology use depends on the audience and the situation at hand. Teachers can reinforce this mindset with their assessments through scenarios and case studies requiring students to develop or select the most appropriate responses. As a part of this process, teachers need to require students to substantiate their information and work with them to understand that just because something is on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true or accurate.

Classroom time can be spent on comparison of student responses so that they recognize multiple solutions. Students should be challenged to identify the best solution to problems from a group of potential solutions rather than expecting one correct answer. Students should support their selection of the best solution as compared to the other potential solutions.