Information overload, the inability to absorb and process all the information we're exposed to, can be deadly. Ok, maybe not in the literal sense, however the idea of becoming at the least, ill, because of an over-abundance of information is not implausible. Americans are being overwhelmed with information. Each new day introduces an unrelenting flow of data. Consider the volume of data produced from the start of civilization to the year of 2003. According to research Google CEO Eric Schmidt, the world is now producing that equivalent volume of data every two days (Siegler, 2010). In addition, our current society is overcome with a constant surge in technology. Major ...view middle of the document...
Analysis of the Problem
As determined through prior research, the terms data, information, knowledge, and wisdom all seem to interrelate. Data in its rawest form contains unprocessed information. Once Data has had the opportunity to be refined it has now converted to information. Knowledge and wisdom is simply the catalyst that helps continue to manage information over time. In general it is an organization’s duty to have certain standards and policies in place used to manage and bind the amount and type of information funneled through their system. While, most organizations would like to believe that they have a strong grasp on managing the copious amounts of information that comes at them, even the best methods can be unsuccessful. This has certainly been the case in recent years. Many organizations are experiencing the adverse effects of information overload. Their employees are experiencing a reduced amount of concentration. They are inclined to ignore important information, delaying responses to messages they consider unimportant.There is also a tendency of employees answering only parts of some messages, responding inaccurately, taking less time, and reacting to quickly to all messages.
Another common consequence of information overload within organizational structures, is the fact that there are major delays in decision making when an individual is awaiting a response to a previously sent email. (Stone, 2009) The employee don’t know whether or when someone will answer an e-mail message. Majority of the time they are left wondering and asking themselves a variety of questions that inhibits their overall work productions. Questions such as, was the message directed to the junk mail folder? Was it left for later response? Or is it simply being unnoticed because the recipient is inundated by other e-mails?
As the previous paragraphs point out, Information overload affects and afflicts both individual knowledge workers struggling to perform their jobs while drowning in data, and entire office organizations, whose productivity and customer care suffer as a consequence. However, as indicated earlier, actual people are the ultimate processors of information, and ultimately people are the only ones who can effectively integrate and produce what they know to make effective management decisions in the light of their business environment. Those companies that learn to deal with this information outbreak effectively will have a major advantage in the next few years.
So, what can organization do to improve the way they deal with a world of massive information input, and in turn, create the ability to use this trend as a competitive edge? While, there is no quick fix, enhancing one’s knowledge and skills requires effort and is an ongoing process. Implementing some of the following solutions can make a real difference to an organization’s effectiveness in dealing with the new reality of information overload.