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The Paperless Organization: Improved processes and reduction in paper usage through wider use of electronic documents and tablet computers

This qualitative, descriptive research study aimed to investigate the way in which documents were handled in an organization in relation to how much paper was wasted, and opportunities presented to save paper via new technologies. For the purposes of this study, an example organization was chosen, being the University of Waikato in New Zealand. However, the findings of the investigations comprising this thesis can be considered generalizable across organization types. The results of the investigations revealed that the university wasted a great deal of paper in the process of performing the three example activities: producing the university calendar, distributing meeting agendas and processing PhD student reports. These activities have been chosen, as an example of other practices, as they involve documents processing, several committees, and diverse types of tasks and includes staff and students working in different positions. This wastage was as a direct result of the inherent drawbacks of working with paper documents. These drawbacks were found to include: the high cost of producing, storing and maintaining paper documents, the risk of lost documents, the difficulties in sharing and tracking the documents, problems of security and delays caused by difficulty accessing the documents in a timely fashion. It was therefore suggested that working electronically would reduce paper wastage, and streamline the performance of the activities in the process. Specifically, this thesis presents the tablet computer as the key to moving organizations towards their paperless futures. The research explores the potential of using tablet devices in general and the specialist facilities of the iPad in particular as an example of modern technology. Participants in the unstructured qualitative research interviews stressed the functionality provided by the iPad, which overcomes many of the drawbacks of using paper documents. They also highlighted the effectiveness and advantages of using an electronic system as comparing to the current paper-based system. The final investigation presented in this thesis highlights the tools and applications of the iPad most promising for helping to reduce the use of paper documents in the workplace.
Type of thesis
AL-Qahtani, S. H. (2012). The Paperless Organization: Improved processes and reduction in paper usage through wider use of electronic documents and tablet computers (Thesis, Master of Science (MSc)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/7023
University of Waikato
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