Perceptions of technological change : the attitude of managers towards group technology in the United States food equipment industry
In the center of today's continued and rapid technological change and ever competitive environment of the next millennium, manufacturers must realize that unless they are ready to consider and evaluate new technologies brought onto them, they may fail to adequately respond to the challenges that lie ahead of them. This research was designed to determine the consistency of the perceptions of technical and non-technical administrators, in manufacturing environment, towards technological change and group technology as an advanced manufacturing system. This research has included a review of literature with references to technological change, justification and implementation processes, and various manufacturing systems including group technology and its benefits. This research has used the research method of empirical analysis (quantitative) and case studies (qualitative) to research perceptions of technical and non-technical administrators towards technological change and group technology. Sixty-four (64) technical and fifty-one (51) nontechnical administrators from fifty (50) manufacturing organizations in the United States of America responded to the mail survey questionnaire used in this research. Responses were analyzed using the Repeated Measures ANOVA procedure to compare mean responses of each group. Two correlation analyses, Cronback Coefficient Alpha and Pearson Correlation Coefficient, were also performed to determine the reliability of the questionnaire as well as the degree of correlation of perceptions between these two groups. This research, through the empirical analysis, has found that perceptions of the technical and non-technical administrators towards group technology were not consistent. In other words, they did not perceive the benefits of group technology in the same manner to the overall organizational performance. This finding was significant since it provided the first clear and comprehensive view of the technical and non-technical administrators' perception towards group technology and technological change, in Food Equipment Manufacturer Industry, in United States of America. In addition, a number of cases were analyzed and the results have supported those of the quantitative analysis. Therefore, this research not only has provided basic data, which was unavailable prior to this investigation, but it also provided a basis for future studies.