Feeds

The 'Funky Business' consultants want to poke you

Back to work, back to Facebook?

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Column Recently, we've seen a spate of reports of employers blocking the use of social networking sites at work. With one estimate suggesting that sites such as Facebook cost UK employers over £130m a day in lost productivity, this is perhaps unsurprising.

But the response from unions and technology commentators has been less sympathetic to the bosses. Employers who ban Facebook are painted as luddites who are out of touch with the times. There is the additional implication that they could pay a penalty for their conservatism.

In many respects, this is the charge 21st century businesses least like to have levelled at them. So, social networking sites are opening up interesting faultlines in the presumed relationship of business and new technology.

How many businesses are there that don’t claim to be in favour of technological change? One might think of the producers of classic goods such as traditional watches, classic clothes and wines. But elsewhere, the service industries that create around three-quarters of jobs in the Western world trade on an optimistic rhetoric of technological innovation.

To resist the sparkling newness of high-tech gadgets is to risk the apathy of investors, consumers, and employees. On the other hand, where businesses claim to be universally in favour of innovation, this is a recipe for hypocrisy.

Why hypocrisy?

Because businesses cannot help but be defined, at least in the medium term, by certain techniques of production. When these are superceded, it is hardly something for them to feel cheerful about. If the manager of a steel mill claimed to be excited by an innovation that made his mill redundant, he would most likely be a liar.

And yet the veneer must be maintained.

CEOs appear in Business Week in golfing wear, reciting the shareholder-targeted mantra that their management philosophy is ‘innovate or die’. Coming from a CEO, this philosophy is about as surprising as discovering that a football manager is asking for ‘110 per cent commitment’ from all his players.

The consumer must also be given the impression that, where a brand is concerned, they are never stepping in the same river twice – the product will change from one visit to the next. The words ‘new’ and ‘improved’ are now about the only features of supermarket packaging that never change.

As for employees, management rhetoric views them as an asset whose innovative potential must be nurtured. Nobody, apparently, wants to work for a company that is stuck in its ways.

So who is being lied to?

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
Microsoft exits climate denier lobby group
ALEC will have to do without Redmond, it seems
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.