Feeds

The 'Funky Business' consultants want to poke you

Back to work, back to Facebook?

The essential guide to IT transformation

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 When these are superceded, it is hardly something for them to feel cheerful about.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?

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.