Technology is a complex collection of practices, systems, and techniques used in the creation of new products or services or in their realization of existing goals, including scientific research. Technological change is constantly expanding and diversifying, but the history of technological change is also marked by profound transformations. Just as a bridge can be changed to make it more stable, a technological system can be modified over time to improve efficiency and productivity. Technological change occurs not only in relation to how technological systems are constructed and designed, but also in how they are deployed and implemented. As a result, some processes become specialized while others become generic.
When examining how technological systems and practices affect markets, it is useful to think in terms of systems instead of practices. For instance, while there is a common debate over whether tech firms should develop proprietary software to control their networks (an argument that I have never seen made by any tech firm), there is a clear relationship between that debate and a related argument about market capitalization. The more technical and highly trained an employee is, the more valuable he will be to his employer. A highly productive worker who refuses to take a standardized exam because of the belief that the exams are unfair is not highly skilled enough for that particular firm to justify spending the resources on training him. However, under a system of standardized tests, those employees who do pass the tests may well be worth the investment in terms of market capitalization and future profitability.
There are many ways that a company’s employees contribute to the development of its technology company. The most obvious is through their specialized knowledge of the technologies that the technology company facilitates. But a deeper contribution to a company’s success comes through the ways in which they use their knowledge. If a company does not use its technologies in a way that maximizes its potential, the company simply won’t be successful. But if the company does use its technologies in a way that makes its technologies useful to its customers and promotes innovation, then that company has a chance at becoming extremely successful.
Innovation is important in all sectors of technology, but it is particularly important in technology companies. In other words, it makes a difference whether your company is developing a new technology or making an innovation based on an old one. All ideas and inventions should have a clearly identified benefit to the users who will derive benefit from them. That’s why innovation is important at all tech companies – it’s part of the compensation package!
Another way in which the tech industry rewards employees is through corporate social responsibility and public relations. Tech companies have to be proactive in their efforts to support socially responsible causes and to become better environmentally friendly. People don’t like to buy products that do less than they’re supposed to, and tech companies cannot afford to alienate their customers over such issues.
Finally, there are numerous rewards for a tech company beyond the monetary ones mentioned above. A company with a good reputation is more likely to attract the best employees and to do a better job than its competitors. Additionally, an excellent reputation can give a company the prestige of being listed on the list of the most admired employers by The Wall Street Journal. That, in itself, can have very real corporate benefits. Just keep in mind that a tech company’s success depends largely on its employees, and if they do not perform, the whole operation could suffer.