Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology

Information and productivity

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The growth of U.S. productivity has been declining for several years. The reasons for this decline are complex, and there is little consensus among experts as to the real cause. Part of the difficulty lies in accurately assessing the productivity of today's workforce. Much of the work being done in today's society is based on services, communications, and information and, therefore, no longer fits the traditional production processes and techniques used for measuring productivity in an industrial society. Traditional input and output measures do not work for measuring the productivity of most white collar workers. New measures and definitions are needed to measure productivity more accurately. Information technology and the effective management of information resources are beginning to play a significant role in reversing the declining rate of U.S. productivity growth. Traditionally, the introduction of new technologies into the workplace has focused on the blue collar worker or, within the office environment, on the secretarial or clerical population. However, the bulk of U.S. salary expenditures is spent on the managerial and professional population. The greatest productivity gains can be realized by improving the productivity of this group, often referred to as knowledge workers. By improving knowledge workers' ability to communicate more effectively and to find and use information more efficiently, significant improvements in productivity can be realized. Copyright © 1985 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., A Wiley Company