Entries in "productivity"
June 27, 2007
an alternative to the SMART goal framework
I wrote up a post at my new blog, Work-Life Chronicles, about the alternative to the SMART goal framework that I have developed and used in the last year of teaching MGMT 250 and 251. I call it START NOW, which stands for:
To read more about each of the labels in the START NOW framework, and some funny stories about my adventures learning to ride my Vespa, click through to read "a different take on setting and achieving goals".
Please let me know what you think of the new blog, too! I'd welcome you to add it to your blogroll, or subscribe to the RSS feed, if you find the first few posts interesting.
June 23, 2007
perhaps the iPhone is not underpriced!
On Thursday, this Wall Street Journal article by Walter Mossberg was the second-most-emailed item in the paper. Mossberg reviewed the Blackberry Curve 8300 and the Nokia N95, two alternatives to the iPhone, and raved about the N95 with its very high-end camera.
Perhaps I was not that far off base in considering the iPhone as a rival for the Blackberry in my previous post about the iPhone vs. the Blackberry and the Treo. There was another article in the WSJ highlighting how much pressure business IT managers are getting from their employees. Many current Blackberry users want to ensure that they can buy a new iPhone on their own, and still access their Blackberry-based work email when they want. Whether Apple and Research in Motion will work out a patch that satisfies security concerns is an open question... I'm fortunate that the outcome of that negotiation will not affect my ability to use an iPhone for email.
I do still want to know what the monthly charge will be from AT&T for data charges, though. That would make me think... but not for very long. I hope there are still some iPhones available in Cupertino on Sunday, July 1!
June 19, 2007
competing in the war for talent
Susan Cantrell has written an insightful article in the latest Sloan Management Review highlighting four rules for retaining desirable employees in this age of tight competition among employers for knowledge workers and service professionals. Worth a read! I especially like her points about making HR policies more flexible, though of course that can always raise suspicions among employees about a lack of equity.
June 16, 2007
iPhone takes on the Blackberry and the Treo
I am by no means a marketing expert, but it doesn't take much education on the topic to figure out that products anyone can acquire are less desirable to trendsetters. Perhaps most users of the Blackberry and the Treo are not trendsetters -- perhaps they like to just follow the crowd. They may even be required to do so. (I have certainly been told that more than one employer requires the use of Blackberry, a dubious policy for organizations to adopt if they are to recruit and retain outstanding employees in today's world of work.)
The question is, how many people want to be trendsetters? My guess is, more than the number who will be able to acquire an iPhone between now and Christmas. Probably by a factor of three or four.
I'm definitely a trendsetter-wanna-be. The demo of visual voicemail was appealing -- I hate having to wade through seven voicemails without knowing if any of them were left by anyone I'm really waiting to hear from, or if they're just lower-priority communications that should have been sent through email. Appealing, but not compelling.
It was the demo of websurfing on the iPhone that was compelling. Clearly, I'm in the target market, because the webpage being surfed is not myspace -- it's the New York Times. The demo shows that Apple has applied the same attention to human-computer interface when designing the iPhone that they have become known for with their operating systems, laptops, and iPods. This commercial is really all the instruction in using the iPhone any typical user will need.
So, I have signed up for a Cingular/AT&T cellular account, and for email alerts with both the cellular provider and with Apple directly. I'm not going to be camping outside a cellphone store on the night of June 28, but I'd love to be able to figure out how to acquire an iPhone before I attend the Academy of Management annual international meeting in Philadelphia at the beginning of August. Perhaps I would not even need to take my laptop with me! It could be a new frontier in flexible work.
How much of the Blackberry and Treo market will Apple be able to take a bite of between now and Christmas? This report from last December doesn't even show Apple as a player in the "converged mobile device" market -- and in fact, the manufacturers of the Blackberry did not hold the top market share spot. That honor went to Nokia, with 38.7 million units shipped. Nokia also holds top honors in the smartphone market segment. The unknown is how Apple's exclusive partnership with Cingular/AT&T will affect trendsetters' willingness to go with the iPhone.
The logical followup question is, how much will the converged mobile device market grow between June 29 and the end of December? The 42 percent growth rate over 2005 sounds quite impressive. My bet is that the rate will be at least sustained, if not increased, through the end of 2006. In some ways, accelerating the growth of this market segment would be just as much of a victory for Apple as stealing market share away from the Blackberry or the Treo would be.
Once again, Steve Jobs' team will be creating an entirely new stream of Apple customers, who will almost inevitably be drawn to purchasing songs on iTunes and laptops at the Apple Store. Here's hoping that the product launch on the 29th doesn't cause any riots!
April 03, 2007
benefits of welcoming work environments for all
Two quick links to recent studies suggesting that work environments where members of demographic minorities are welcomed and fully integrated into work culture yield positive performance benefits for all workers:
- Bilimoria and Jordan study of bioscience department at a midwestern university
- Scott E. Page's 2007 book, "The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Schools, Firms and Societies"
March 26, 2007
"wasting time" at the office
As an update on my entry from early last Friday morning, here's a link to the WCPN podcast of last Friday morning's 90.3 at 9 show during which I was one of the guests to speak on the topic of "wasting time at the office".
My "maiden" experience on the radio waves as a guest was quite enjoyable, particularly because I had the pleasure of meeting the Friday host, Regina Brett. The show's producer, Paul Cox, and assistant producter, Marie Andrusewicz, both helped me to settle in at the studio. I even learned how to use a "cough" button!
Here are some background links to information I mentioned during the segment:
- Salary.com/America Online 2006 survey results on employee reported reasons for lost productivity at work
- Pace Productivity Report on Time Wasters amongst Employees
- Fast Company article -- Give Employees the Space they Need
- Dave Greenfield chat on computer addiction
The piece on wasting time at the office is in the second half of the podcast, and the first half is also worth listening to, with guests commenting on population loss in Cuyahoga county and how we can take action to counteract the current trends. One of the guests recommends this report, The Vital Center, from the Brookings Institute. The guest who was in the studio with Regina Brett and myself, Mark Rosentraub, has a number of worthwhile pieces published on the topic of urban and regional renewal, also worth reading:
- google Mark S. Rosentraub
- July 2001 Op Ed piece on Making Cleveland Family-Friendly
- Dean Rosentraub's books at Amazon.com
- Mark S. Rosentraub's articles at Getcited.com
March 23, 2007
WCPN at 9 this morning: workplace distractions
I have been invited to be a guest of Regina Brett this morning to talk about the topic of workplace distractions. Tune in to 90.3 between 9 and 10 to listen, and call in to ask questions if you'd like!
From WCPN's website: "All around us people are filling out brackets in a buzzer-beating frenzy. This is the week offices everywhere turn into casinos. Beware the Ides of March Madness. It can make workers take their eye off the ball. Parts of Cuyahoga County resemble a dry lake bed. People are moving out, often times to neighboring counties. Join Regina Brett and talk about workplace distractions and Cuyahoga County's human ebb tide Friday on The Sound of Ideas."
March 22, 2007
Handbook on Women in Business and Management
I just received a copy, hot off the presses, of the book that Diana Bilimoria graciously invited me to co-edit with her two years ago. It is even listed on Amazon! With a wonderful jacket quote on the back from Jean Bartunek, a former president of the Academy of Management and one of the scholars whom I most admire in my field. I'm floating around on air...
`This very impressive Handbook takes established research topics about women in management and treats them in fresh and novel ways. The chapters are intellectually interesting, sound, and provocative, and meet the editors' aspiration to stimulate high quality research on women's experiences in work organizations. I recommend it highly.'
- Jean M. Bartunek, Boston College, US
This comprehensive Handbook presents specially commissioned original essays on the societal roles and contexts facing women in business and management, the specific career and work-life issues of women in these fields, organizational processes affecting women, and the role of women as leaders in business and management. The essays shed light on the extant structures and practices of society and organizations that constrain or facilitate women's representation, treatment, quality of life, and success.
Despite decades of ongoing inquiry and increasing interest, research on women in business and management remains a specialized field without mainstream acceptance within business and management disciplines. The Handbook presents the current state of knowledge about women in business and management and specifies the directions for future research likely to be most constructive for advancing the representation, treatment, quality of life, and success of women who work in these fields. It provides the foundations for improved societal and organizational structures, policies, and relational practices affecting all in business and management. Thus, by enhancing the knowledge base that improves the work and life situations of women, it suggests ways to elevate the societal and organizational systems for all.
The Handbook will be an essential reference source for recent advances in research and theory, informing both scholars of organization studies, gender, diversity, and feminism; human resource specialists; and educators of and consultants to business organizations and management.
Contributors include: N.J. Adler, J. Beatty, D. Bilimoria, K. Bourne, R.J. Burke, M. Calas, C.L. Cooper, M.J. Davisdon, L.M. Dunn-Jensen, A.H. Eagly, C. Gattrell, L. Godwin, L.M. Graves, D.T. Hall, M.M. Hopkins, M.C. Johannesen-Schmidt, A.M. Konrad, M. Las Heras, D.A. O'Neil, S.K. Piderit, G.N. Powell, L.K. Stroh, V. Singh, L. Smircich, S. Terjesen, S. Vinnicombe, H.M. Woolnough, D.D. Zelechowski
I'm also having my first experience with the business of book publishing. I'm wondering who will ever purchase copies, given the astronomical price! (I'll be putting in an order in about 2 weeks for a big batch with my 50% editorial discount, so please let me know if you'd like me to reserve a copy for you.)
March 21, 2007
is the world testing you?
I've been struck recently, in my observations of students and of others at work, by how powerful the drive to please others by meeting high standards can be. Sometimes, even when the standards are outrageously ridiculous, we just keep trying to leap over the bar, slamming our heads on the upper limits of reality, recollecting ourselves, and then leaping again. Especially for students, the semester can become a series of hurdles to run up to, leap over (or crash through), and repeat, without time to catch their breath.
It's so rare to see someone mature enough to approach a challenge or a set of really high expectations with calm consistency in their attitude and in their performance. What we often forget is that striving too much can actually reduce our effectiveness. Even hurdlers take a breather at the end of a race, before approaching the starting line for another 100 meters. Sometimes, they even drop out of a race, if they have crashed into the third and fourth hurdles, and fallen at the fifth.
What makes a difference between those who chase high expectations frantically and those who can approach them with calm consistency? Well, to an extent, maturity comes with age... and part of the reason is that the typical 40-year-old is less wrapped up in a desire to please others than the typical 20-year-old. There are some undergraduates who really don't care what I think of them, or what grade I give them, but most have almost a blind desire for approval and positive reinforcement. In some cases, there are signs of almost an addiction to the positive reinforcement of grades. I can only imagine what the voices in their conscience tell them when they fall short of their expectations for themselves, which sometimes are even higher than my expectations for them.
Even John Mayer now has a song about the pursuit of success and distinction, and the price we pay for giving in to the pressure that others (and our own internal voices of conscience and of compulsion) put on us to chase perfection in our work... it's an invitation to reflect on how to keep our own "vultures" at bay.
Here are the lyrics from the song "Vultures", off his latest album, Continuum, and a link to the album on iTunes.
March 18, 2007
the rhythms of work and life
Remember when Sunday was a day of rest? Now, it seems, Sunday too is being eaten up by the 24/7 workload and the neverending workday. I find that if I don't check email on Sunday afternoon, Monday can be completely overwhelming (even though I don't physically head for campus until Monday afternoon).
Of course, consultants have long begun their week of travel on Sunday nights, so that they can arrive at their client's locations on Monday morning. The drawback of such travel is....
March 16, 2007
when do managers decide based on evidence?
In my workplace flexibility course, we had an interesting discussion of Bob Sutton and Jeff Pfeffer's Harvard Business Review article on evidence-based management a few weeks back.
More recently, I stumbled across the blog for the Evidence-Based Management book, and was intrigued by this entry on Lovaglia's law. Professor Lovaglia, a sociologist, asserts that people are least likely to make decisions based on evidence when it seems most crucial -- when the outcome of the decision seems most important.
With my students, I discussed when managers make use of the evidence about the benefits of flexible work practices, and when they ignore the evidence (and suffer the consequences in terms of lower morale and productivity, higher turnover and worker stress and burnout).
We also talked about the kinds of evidence available to managers, and the possibility of gathering evidence as organizational changes are implemented that would allow managers to assess wither the interventions are having the desired effects.
I'd be curious to hear from managers about how and when they use evidence in their decision-making, and from others about how they see businesses making decisions. What kind of evidence counts for you? What kinds of evidence get ignored?
February 28, 2007
telecommuting and the neverending workday
One of the themes in my course on workplace flexibility is the need to push back against corporate demands for a 24/7/365 workload. Doctors carry pagers, managers carry laptops and cellphones. How do they fight back when their coworkers or bosses seem to expect them to be available constantly?
There's a good blog entry at Web Worker Daily on 5 ways to get work under control. They are the basic tips, of course, and yet not practiced by many.
During my recent medical leave, I was off the computer entirely for about 10 days, and then checking email only intermittently for another few weeks. I was amazed by how much new time opened up in my day! In particular, about 40 percent of my email could be deleted unread if it was more than 48 hours old. So now that I have returned to health, I have resolved not to chase after the ephemeral, the seemingly-urgent, or the request-of-the-moment. I now check email only once I day (or at most, twice) -- and never after dinner.
While it is wonderful to have the flexibility that carrying my new laptop anywhere allows, it is important to use that flexibility to my benefit as well as my employer's.
Anyone who needs me more urgently knows my cellphone number. (And I do turn that one off, sometimes, too!)
So, how do others manage against the neverending workday?
September 09, 2006
vacation role model
Jim Twohie gave an interesting commentary on how little Congress works, and how much we work in America. (He was the Fresh Look speaker last night on the CBS evening news -- you can read or view his comments on the CBS website.) He names Johnny Carson his vacation role model.
Do you have a vacation role model? What helps you find a balance between the American work ethic and the French rest ethic?
September 05, 2006
are you looking for a better you?
In MGMT 250, we have begun the segment of the course which focuses on self-assessment and self-development. My students are thinking about how to make a good first impression on others, what their strengths are, and where they want to be in 5 or 10 years.
There are lots of supplementary resources out there to help people who aren't taking the course explore some of the same questions. One excellent guide which I just came across to some of those resources is the blog Lifestylism. If you're not sure what that means, just read the first entry in the blog, written back in July, 2004.
Another new resource is a spinoff from the increasingly popular site 43 things, which allows users to keep track of their goals and dreams and their progress toward achieving them, and helps them connect with others who have similar goals or dreams for support and mutual encouragement. (I have written about 43things before and about the sister site of 43things, 43 places, as well.) To celebrate the second anniversary of the founding of the Robot COOP, which houses the creators of 43 things, some of the key people in the COOP have launched a new blog called the Mutual Improvement Blog. It looks really fascinating.
Enjoy! And please be sure to let me know what your next steps toward a better you will be, and whether any of the links I recommended were useful.
August 01, 2006
Best Buy's best bet: Results Oriented Work Environment
I missed a really interesting NPR piece while I was out of the country, focusing on how Best Buy has implemented flextime. Here's the link to the audio of Wendy Kaufman's report. (The story is just over 3 minutes long, and includes an introduction by Renée Montaigne.)
Listening to the piece makes me long to learn more about how this change is really rolling out within the company. I assume that it is overseen by the company's top HR officer, Lori Ballard. I wonder how I could get connected to her for an interview that would let me write a little mini-case for my course next spring... any suggestions?
July 27, 2006
speaking of social change... how about mandating vacations?
We have just returned from 2.5 weeks in Europe. I spent all that time without a watch, without a cellphone, and with almost no plans for anything more than the day ahead. I kept no calendar of appointments. I read what interested me, I spent some time knitting, and I walked with my daughter to the playground, taking time to admire the neighbors' flowerboxes, pet the village dogs, and greet the neighborhood cats (those who were not too skittish, anyway). I enjoyed leisurely meals with my sister and brother-in-law and their daughter, and with my parents. I woke without an alarm, napped when I wanted, and went on a hike or two, enjoying views of the mountains.
I am amazed at how refreshed I feel. It is as if my body and mind have rediscovered the beauty of an adagio movement in a symphony.
In the Swiss newspaper, a small item addressed national differences in vacation practices (the headline asked something like "are the Swiss too plodding?" in an idiomatic French phrase that I can't remember.) The article stated that the Swiss take slightly less vacation than the French or Germans, but much more than Americans. Having experienced the benefits of vacation in terms of clearing the mind and revitalising the body, I understand why the worst fear of a typical Swiss person might be to become too American -- too workaholic.
Part of the issue is that we don't have a federal law guaranteeing workers a minimum number of vacation days per year. Here's a 2001 Vault.com article on vacation statistics by country -- which also notes that many European countries mandate a high number of paid vacation days per year for full-time employees. (France requires employers to provide 4 weeks of paid vacation per year, for example.)
The other challenge is that we don't always feel safe taking the vacation to which we are entitled. A federal law can't solve this problem, of course -- managers have to create the kinds of work environments that allow employees to feel that their coworkers can manage without them for a week or two (or maybe even three) at a time.
How do you, as a manager, arrange work systems for flexibility, so employees feel comfortable taking the vacations to which they are entitled? How do you encourage employees to support one another in their search for work-life harmony? What changes do we need so that the American culture will allow us to make time for personal renewal?
July 06, 2006
our rights to our own time
This is an excerpt from a very interesting new book, called the Motherhood Manifesto. The particular excerpt can be found here:
"It's Not Just Mothers"
by John de Graaf, National Coordinator of Take Back Your Time
Though working mothers may be the most pressed for time and in need of relief, America’s time poverty crisis affects nearly everyone. American work hours have been climbing slowly, but steadily since the mid-1970s and today, the average American works nine weeks—350 hours—more each year than the average Western European.
Increased working hours threaten our quality of life in many ways: Americans increasingly recognize the impacts of time poverty on their lives. According to a November 28, 2005, Fortune magazine study, even corporate CEOs now want more time outside work (84 percent), even if it means making less money (55 percent). The same article pointed out that many European countries are actually more productive per worker hour than the U.S. is. And a recent report of the World Economic Forum found that several of the world’s most competitive economies are in Scandinavia, where shorter work hours and generous paid leave policies are taken for granted.
Europeans enjoy multiple legal protections of their right to time, including four weeks of paid vacation after a year on the job, paid sick leave, limits on the length of their work weeks, generous paid family leave benefits (which also apply to fathers), and increasingly, the right to choose part-time work, while retaining the same hourly pay, healthcare, opportunities for promotions and other, pro-rated, benefits.
A new campaign, TAKE BACK YOUR TIME, has called for a “Time to Care” legislative agenda for the United States, including paid family leave, paid sick leave, three weeks of paid vacation, limits on compulsory overtime and policies making it easier to choose part-time work with healthcare and other benefits."
June 23, 2006
rethinking the pre-tenure process
A friend emailed me a link to a very interesting blog entry in an academic librarian's blog, commenting on the significant stresses that seem to descend on librarians pursuing tenure. Steven J. Bell asks an important question in his entry:
"Admittedly, the tenure track and its associated pressures are all about weeding out under performers to create an academic organization that benefits from having the best of the best. But what can be done to allow those on the tenure track to enjoy the process of research and publication, the way it was meant to be be experienced, without being made to feel as if they are on a vicious treadmill"?
I think it's time for this question to be asked in business schools as well. Some of the suggestions that Bell advocates for academic librarians might also be relevant in the b-school context, but we will have to come up with other remedies on our own.
I know that when the Weatherhead School here at Case extended the tenure clock from 6 to 9 years, one of the arguments for doing so was that the time that papers spent in review before being accepted for publication, and the time between acceptance and actual publication, had been increasing for the major journals in our field. I wonder, though, if this response of simply accepting the lengthening lead times and postponing the decision about a scholar's quality was really the wise choice. Perhaps we could instead lobby the major journals to set up a quick-response reviewing process, for those papers with authors who are untenured? Perhaps those papers could be given priority when moving from acceptance to publication? Since I have never edited a journal, I have no idea whether or not this kind of proposal would be considered realistic.
May 03, 2006
the metaphors of motivating change
"buy in", "get on board", "commit"
"selling", "signing up", "winning over"
Such interesting metaphors we use to describe what we want employees to do in response to a proposed organizational change, and what we as change agents need to do to get them to cooperate.
Yet one metaphor is even more pernicious than all the others, and potentially, much more damaging. "Overcoming resistance".
I'm going to leave you with that teaser, and come back to these ideas in about 10 days, when my grading is finished, my summer research projects are out for review in the human subjects committee or the grant approval committees, and I have had some time to recharge by visiting my sister, brother-in-law, and niece. The quiet phase should end around May 15.
In the meantime, please explore my other blog entries, and leave me a comment or two if you'd like? I will look forward to hearing from you.
Here are some old, but valuable, thoughts on organizational change and transformative cooperation:
- My Research Focus
- Voluntary Collaborations on the Web
- Speaking of Glacial Change
- What is it about College that Helps Students Learn?
- Is McDonalds socially responsible, or is it marketing greenwash?
February 18, 2006
innovations in motivating employees
This is the second of a series of posts introducing the NEO community to the intrepid students who have taken on an optional assignment this spring -- to choose a topic around which to blog in February, March, and April, with the aim of learning something, teaching something, and generating dialogue online. All these students were required to blog about the topics we discussed last fall in MGMT 250 (if they wanted to earn an A) and to comment on one another's blog entries, but this semester, their assignment is optional, and tougher. They need to include weblinks in most of their entries, and do some promotion of their blogs through participation in other online forums or through comments on other blogs. They will also be doing some in-person networking to promote their blogs. Part of my assessment of their work will be related to their ability to generate readers of and comments on their entries.
The second student I am highlighting is David Hastings, whose blog will focus on Innovations in Motivation. He has made two entries so far, and has generated a total of seven comments, which is impressive! Please click through to read his thoughts on businesses that buy lunch or dinner for employees. Do you have any suggestions about techniques your employer has used to try to motivate you? Whether they have fired you up or burned you out, David wants to know about them. Read his entry on perks and leave him a comment, please!
P. S. The first entry in my series highlighting students' blogs, which mentions Danny Pho's Exciting Companies in Northeast Ohio, is here. Did anyone guess the answer to his teaser post about a technology company based in Northeast Ohio, with employees working in Europe, Japan, and other foreign locations? Here's a hint. Click through to read his entry and give him any comments you have about this company.
December 22, 2005
sophomores are careful of some very careful thinking (and writing)
"Tom becomes bored with his work easily and his performance drops when this happens. Our half of the class suggested that the company look into adopting a method of allowing workers to change to different positions (i.e. operate drill presses for a period of time instead of only tightening nuts and bolts). Assembly line jobs are boring; ask any worker who has had to repeat tasks for long periods of time. I even injured myself out of boredom when operating a drill press for an extended period. By allowing employees to rotate through different positions, a company can change the rhythm of the work and keep workers interested in their job.
This procedure has risks. I'll rewrite that sentence with different styling: This procedure has risks. To execute this properly, management needs to set up a list of workers and desired rotation positions. Training and orientation sessions will then be given to all workers for each position they specify. Workers will be rotated in and out of positions over a regular and stated period of time and all positions will have trained and experienced workers at all times. That way, the number of people moving into a position that are relatively new to that position is small compared to the number of experienced workers at that position at all times."
November 29, 2005
tidbits for students
Lisa Haneberg, who blogs about the craft of management, is currently offering an e-book for free on New Year's Resolutions for Leaders which may be helpful to students as they are SMARTening their learning goals and filling in their action plans for achieving them. She offers good tips for how to avoid turning the goalsetting process into an exercise in stargazing, and some practical suggestions for the kinds of actions that can keep you moving toward a goal.
Terrence Seamon, a workplace learning and performance consultant, offers his vision of a better alternative to tying annual performance appraisals to a too-small pot of merit pay: spot cash awards, a raffle for award winners, and annual development planning that is less focused on the past and more focused on continuous improvement and skill development. He offers an important reminder that performance appraisal should always end with a conversation about how to convert the numbers to meaning and to constructive action in the future.
Oh, and if you're wondering why we asked you to blog this semester, and my post from back in August doesn't convince you that the assignment is worthwhile, then perhaps the fact that blogging is the topic of an article in Harvard Business School's Working Knowledge newsletter will convince you that learning to compose blog entries and connect with other bloggers is becoming an increasingly valuable skill in the workplace!
July 28, 2005
new ways of organizing work time
When I called for new ways of organizing careers in my previous post, I neglected to mention the desirability of new ways of organizing the work day. Both will help to address the underrepresentation of women in the upper echelons of business. For one interesting idea about reorganizing the work day, check out a recent article in Time magazine that talks about Best Buy's ROWE (results-oriented work environment) which sounds like the next generation of flextime. Yesterday on Talk of the Nation, Phyllis Moen (a prominent scholar of work-family issues) and two other guests discussed why so few workers are eligible for flextime and Best Buy seems to be finding a way of addressing those inequities -- their ROWE initiative is implemented for a whole work group at a time.
Aaron Shaffer commented on my previous post on the glass ceiling, asking how much of a change I would find reasonable, given the differences in testosterone levels between men and women (he linked to this 2000 article from the NYT magazine by Andrew Sullivan). I think the argument here is that men (with higher levels of testosterone) are more likely to aspire to win at all costs, and thus may have higher ambitions or more persistence in pursuing their ambitions, even in the face of competition from others who also aspire to sit in the CEO chair. However, there are specific elements of Sullivan's article that might contradict that argument -- in particular, his finding that blue-collar workers have higher levels of testosterone than white-collar workers. He offers no specific evidence that testosterone levels of successful venture capitalists or business leaders in other sectors are higher than they are for school principals or directors of nursing. In an unpublished draft of a chapter by Linda Dunn-Jensen and Linda Stroh, they present evidence from several studies that women's levels of ambition are as high as men's at the beginning of their careers, but may lessen over time. This is much more consistent with the notion of ambition being constrained by socialization as it is by the notion that ambition might be determined by hormones. Testosterone may be an influence, but I would expect it to be a small one.
What is most important to me is to see women rise to the top of the corporate world in sufficient numbers that they will be treated as individuals, and not as tokens. Here's a good summary of Rosabeth Moss Kanter's ideas about tokenism. With women representing less than 8% of top managers in the US workforce (as documented by the Economist article which prompted my comments yesterday), we are definitely still in the token role. We may not need that number to rise all the way to 46%, to be exactly proportional to women's representation in the overall workforce, but I think it's reasonable to expect it to rise to 30% or more.
June 30, 2005
the merits and drawbacks of laziness
Dave Pollard defends laziness and argues in favor of natural enterprises which do not require long work hours (while also criticizing corporate media for pandering to their audiences with bias). I found his argument shocking at first, so at odds with the Catholic values in which I was raised, which glorify hard work.
As I read his words again, though, I began to question those unspoken values. Why is it better to work long hours? There is more to life than a choice between hard work and idle hands. Relationship building takes time, and relationships must not only be built within work organizations, but all across the community. So, I invite you to read Dave Pollard's essay and consider the merits and drawbacks of laziness.