Organizational trends and electronic media : work in progress

by Tora K. Bikson

Organizations are experiencing rapid and widespread growth in the use of information and communication technologies, with associated changes in the ways work is organized and carried out. These changes--apparent in trends toward greater flexibility, denser connectivity, broadened participation, more team work, and more permeable boundaries--have yet to appear in formal policies, procedures, organization charts, and reporting relationships. Given the inherent synergies between networked media and the design of work, all prescriptions for future organizational forms should be viewed with skepticism. Rather, organizational decisionmakers should give greatest attention to understanding and managing open-ended change processes. Further, as these processes unfold, they should exploit the capabilities of new technologies to document and store information about emerging organizational forms and functions. Besides serving the needs traditionally filled by records and archives, such information can provide the material for organizational memory and organizational learning.

Originally published in: American Archivist, v. 57, no. 1, Winter 1994, pp. 48-68.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.