Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Economist warns of Hyper-connectivity

A recent column in the Economist (Schumpeter, 10 March 2012), entitled, 'Slaves to the smartphone: The horrors of hyperconnectivity--and how to restore a degree of freedom,' lists the advantages that smartphones have brought to working professionals, but also laments the problems that hyper-connectivity brings, as summarized in this quote:

"Hyperconnectivity exaggerates some of the most destabilising trends in the modern workplace: the decline of certainty (as organisations abandon bureaucracy in favour of adhocracy), the rise of global supply chains and the general cult of flexibility." 

The 'cult of flexibility' is a great term capturing the phenomena of employees who practice impression management by being the latest person to send emails at night and/or the attention-seeking manager who expects others to drop what their doing on short notice when they fire out an impromptu email.

The author suggests that individuals need to take responsibility for disconnecting (agency), but that resistance will be futile unless organizations also curb the cult of flexibility and unreasonable demands on our time.  

Darl Kolb

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