Theory X, Theory Y

Apr 20, 2007 11:45 · 387 words · 2 minute read

In the space of one day comes two posts which sum up the opposite ends of the whole “how does my working pattern fit into your culture” debate.

Web Worker Daily has come up with the concepts of busyness versus burst - or to put it crudely, bums on seats versus getting the job done. The core of this is that there’s a disconnect between the two - that if your corporate culture is based on busyness, or presenteeism, or clocking-in and out, or another form of “I care less about what you’re doing than I about the fact that I can see you”, then the ways of working of an always-on, always-connected pattern of activity are in conflict with the

In some respects this is just a Web 2.0 rehash of the Theory X, Theory Y debate, but some of the comments on the WWD article mention the age factor - that the over-45s are likely to want to see people in seats, and the under-45s are more comfortable in the “production economy”. That seems like a drastic oversimplification, but there’s a core of truth here - if you’ve grown up in an always-on world with ubiquitous mobile phones, IM and web, then moving into the typical corporate environment of locked down desktops, email and crippled read-only intranets is going to seem like a step into an alien world. The danger for corporates is that the brightest and the best simply won’t step into a world which has more in common with their parents’ working patterns than their own.

The other post is a fairly typical example of “dodgy research and press release masquerading as news”, but it’s worth some attention nevertheless - “Websites based on user-generated content, blogging, or participation are frequently visited by office workers, but content security firm Clearswift’s survey claims that firms are failing to see the risks of data leak posed by those sites.”

The alarm bells should start ringing as soon as you come across the words “content security”, because there’s a major vested interest here - security firms trade on corporate paranoia, and their major sales tactic is covering executives with copious quantities of FUD.

Euan Semple has a far better way of looking at this whole issue: “[The 100% guaranteed easiest way to do Enterprise 2.0?