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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.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A 'new paradigm'?

The CIPD in the UK (Chartered Institute of Personnal Development) has commissioned Capgemini to produce a research report on Smart Working.

Smart Working: The impact of work organisation and job design, is the outcome of the first phase of an investigation to explore the hypothesis that "a new organsisational paradigm is emerging". The report concludes that the research "gives weight to the hypothesis that a new organisational paradigm is emerging" and that phase two should "assess and validate the existence of a new organisational paradigm of smart working".

Not before time

According to the Future Laboratory's Mobile Work Futures report for Microsoft in January 2007:

"organisational and behavioural structures take longer to change than technological ones. While the UK has unusually high levels of technology take-up, British businesses have shown lower-than-average ability to achieve the managerial innovations that could exploit it to the full."

This echoes a conclusion from the 6-year long ESRC Future of Work programme, which said that:

"the research points to a dramatic increase in the diffusion of new information and communications technologies in a wide range of jobs and occupations, but less dramatic advances in the management of people, which might ultimately hold the key to the performance gains that so many companies wish to achieve."

Slow to change

I helped to facilitate this knowledge exchange workshop last week, on the theme of 'Open Your Mind To Smarter Working'. The workshop was energetic and the content well-received by workshop participants. I was presenting case studies that I had created as part of a research programme I led four years ago, and what I had to say was new for the people who attended.

Establishing the existence, or not, of a new paradigm is of course interesting to consider.

But getting to grips with how we can best go about communicating what we already know, and making it usable and customisable to help businesses adapt to the tsunami of changes that are coming at them (technological, demographic, economic and organisational re-structuring) - now that is urgent and more worthy of the CIPDs efforts than proposing supposed new paradigms.

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