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I am interested in exploring how workplaces are actually changing (not the hype). This blog is my place for thinking out loud about what I see happening - or not happening.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

What's it all about, Alfie?

I get frustrated at the amount of uncritical stuff I read about how workplaces are changing radically in the face of rapid technological and global economic re-ordering. There's no doubt that far-reaching changes are happening in our workplaces - or will. For the moment, the evidence is that change is more evolutionary than revolutionary.

I would really appreciate your comments, information sources, criticisms and whatever other things you feel like contributing to help me explore what's hype and what's happening in UK workplaces - and beyond. It would be great if we could all do it together.

3 comments:

Mario said...

I think you have a point in this ~the ease and speed of modern communications should let us focus on changes in human interaction, which always takes time.

Jon said...

Sentence #1:

I get frustrated at the amount of uncritical stuff I read about how workplaces are changing radically in the face of rapid technological and global economic re-ordering.

Sentence #2:

There's no doubt that far-reaching changes are happening in our workplaces - or will.


Arguably, might cause slight degree of cognitive dissonance ??

I am always conscious of the following (not verbatim and widely attributed) quote:

We tend to overestimate in the short term the degree of change due to disruptive new (insert words such as technology, paradigms, etc.) because we "forget" (or overlook) the force and inertia of the myriad of details and habits, etc., and we tend to underestimate in the long term the scope and amount of change due to said disruptive forces because we overlook or don't take account of the accumulated consequences and incremental changes as things evolve.

Yes, the "changes" are more "evolutionary" re: the future of work because we are so habituated to understanding work as it has been designed and interwoven with the institutions of our society, and yes, the changes that have been instantiated due to networks and digitsal infrastructure stand a decent chance of amounting to revolutionary change ... as many of the so-called techno-utopian wags are wont to say ... it's "both / and".

In my opinion.

Anne Marie McEwan said...

Hi Jon

Thank you very much for your comment. Having decided to hold my nose and jump into the blogosphere, it is both exciting and scary to make my frequently muddled thoughts public.

Cognitive dissonance? Yes, caught bang to rights! As well as giving me a voice, I suppose the blog will help me to articulate more clearly what I think. And I also need to be a bit more careful in how I express myself.

On reflection, what I might have said is that "These shifts have the potential for leveraging far-reaching change in workplace design and working practices - but I take a cautious view of how, where, and how quickly this change might happen".

Your observation that we are 'habituated to understanding work as it has been designed and interwoven with the institutions of our society' hits the spot with me, as does "we "forget" (or overlook) the force and inertia of the myriad of details and habits".

To me, these statements articulate the complexity inherent in adopting and habituating new ways of working. We can speculate or imagine what future workplaces might be like (job design, working practices, support systems etc) but I do not believe that we can extrapolate from extraordinary case studies that serve to say, "See, this is how it is going to be."

btw, I am a great believer in "it's both / and". I have thought this way for a long time and was therefore pleased to hear Roger Martin speak at the Workplace 2017 about the need for business leaders to have 'opposable minds' and to be able to hold contradictory views simultaneously.

Thanks again, Jon, for taking the time and making the effort to comment. Your observations have given me the opportunity to reflect on what I really meant in that first post.

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