Sunday, December 12, 2004

Ross questions

I was happy to see that Ross intended "no collar" ironically rather than as a description of an ideal historical state or status, like "post-industrial" or "creative class."

1. On p. 252, Ross describes the "needy" organization, where no-collar workers suddenly found themselves as managers reasserted control during hard times, as an experience of managerial power in the absence of authority. What are some of the sources of authority in organizations, as opposed to power? What are legitimate sources of authority, if any? What kind of power is more hazardous to one's health, filtered or unfiltered?

2. After a series of massive layoffs, Razorfish managers were telling their employees that the 1/6th who remained represented the network of "Competents"; similarly, a manager claimed that he kept on some of the trouble-makers because they provided "useful energy" to the organization. How convincing are these statements in terms of the evidence?

3. The big question left at the end of the book is whether or not the vision of a "creative class" or "no-collar" workforce or class of knowledge workers is sustainable for the foreseeable future in the United States. Is it? How are knowledge workers going to negotiate with the new managerial regime? Is workplace reform likely to continue in this country at some point in the near future, or do we have to look to Finland or someplace else for models?

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