Πόσο έχουμε μπερδέψει τα προσωπικά με τα επαγγελματικά όρια στο facebook; Μήπως η διαφάνεια επηρεάζει την εντιμότητα; Είναι σωστό να κάνεις "φιλους" πελάτες ή κινδυνεύεις να χάσεις τα όρια; Πόσο σωστό είναι να κρίνεις το συνεργάτη σου από τις προσωπικές του στιγμές στο facebook; Διαβάστε μια ενδιαφέρουσα οπτική στο θέμα από το blog του Michael Schrage στο Business Harvard Review.
Should Honesty Be the Policy in Your Office?
Would I lie to you? Probably not, but forgive me for preserving the option. Would you conceal a damaging truth from your boss? I wouldn't presume to guess. But one person's "discretion" is another person's "dishonest." It's getting harder to determine where one ends and the other begins.
That's why the virtues of transparency have been wildly oversold by digital utopians. The (social) networks to organizational hell are wired with good intentions. The let's-hold-hands-and-sing-Kumbaya arguments that "the more information we share the better off we are" are demonstrably rubbish. All too often, far greater transparency guarantees far greater conflicts. In fact, legitimate tensions between professional privacy and personal visibility are unavoidable.
Confusing transparency with integrity and honesty is a recipe for disaster.
Everyone reading this post knows at least one unhappy story of a perfectly decent job candidate who got dinged because either HR or the interviewing manager saw something on that applicant's Facebook page — or the page of a Facebook friend — that undermined their professional desirability. Maybe a politically incorrect comment, boozy photo, or unflattering blog materialized via Google or Bing. Unfair? Unreasonable? Perhaps. But it's today's reality and tomorrow's norm. I find it sadly amusing how many college graduates honestly think prospective employers shouldn't be allowed to Google them or judge their Facebook profile. But wouldn't it be misleading, dishonest, and unethical to digitally conceal one's self from employment due diligence?
Just as BlackBerries and always-on mobile phones have obliterated the line between personal and professional accessibility, social media have introduced an inherent "creep factor" — in both meanings of that phrase — for colleagues, coworkers, and superiors. What do you do when your boss' boss asks to be your Facebook friend? Do you accept invitations from some subordinates and not others? A recent survey indicates that, currently, a significant percentage of people would not want their boss asking to be a friend. What about a client? How about a promising lead? Indeed, would you want your boss to know that you've taken the initiative to become Facebook friends with a hot prospect? Or should you stick to LinkedIn? How would you feel if your boss "friended" your best customer without alerting you — just as you declined friending them to avoid blurring personal and professional boundaries? Is the absence of disclosure a hypocritical double standard, dishonest, or simply none of your business?
Let's move from hypothetical to real: A Fortune 20 company division uses a web-based calendar management portal to schedule and coordinate meetings. A traditionally hierarchical organization, the system's been set up to allow higher-ups the right to schedule time on your calendar if it appears open. An increasingly irritated subculture of overscheduled subordinates has taken to scheduling fake meetings to prevent their superiors for scheduling their time. Their bosses — no dummies! — have discovered this subterfuge. The hardcases want the software option to override their subordinates' schedules. A slightly kinder and gentler executive group has proposed calling out the tricksters by sending emails to the people supposedly participating in the faux meetings. The confrontations and countermeasures seem destined to escalate. Who's the truly offending party here: the wily subordinates? The peremptory bosses? Or the software designers who've devised a system that makes conflict inevitable?
These are ethical questions as much as business questions: transparency-tropism has made explicit clashes of values and perceptions that could once be politely concealed. To put it in vulgar terms, just because someone passes gas at a meeting doesn't mean that everyone in the room should transparently acknowledge the source. There's good reason why the phrase "Too Much Information" enjoys popular currency. While importing reality TV sensibilities to the workplace may be great for drama and comic relief, it's destructively distracting. The pathological bias toward greater openness and transparency assures that business focus can't just center on the task or objectives but will inevitably elevate differences in values, perceptions, and process that generate interpersonal frictions. Do we really become better people and/or better colleagues and/or more productive if we all become "friends" and have transparent access to each other's correspondence? A surge of anecdotal data and increased corporate monitoring of people's social media would suggest not.
The perception that techno-transparency's benefits inherently outweigh its costs in the workplace is an ideological belief more than an empirical fact. It is not a quirk of human nature that some of our most difficult relationships are with those we know best and work most closely with. Do we honestly believe greater transparency will prove the best — or even a very good — approach to dealing with that reality? The easiest way to turn healthy professional relations toxic is to allow — or, worse yet, encourage — techno-behaviors that blur business and ethical behaviors. Innovations that incent people to tell a little white lie or subvert their bosses deserve careful handling, not viral promotion.
Transparency doesn't magically make organizations more egalitarian and flat; it makes the asymmetries of power and hierarchy more visible. Knowledge isn't power; the ability to act on knowledge is power and the tops of pyramids tend to have greater abilities to act than the bottoms. After all, job applicants are less likely to be deterred by an unflattering Facebook photograph or intemperate blog comment from prospective bosses than vice versa. Technology-mediated transparency too easily perverts promises of higher personal performance into power trips.
Is there a solution to this issue? Of course not. These conflicts are intrinsic to the human and organizational condition. Technology simply illuminates them in unusual ways and unexpected angles. We're not going to ban Facebook, LinkedIn, Yammer, or web-based calendaring software that's too clever by half. Here's what we should do: have the courage of the transparency you wish to impose. Ask people.
Employees should be asked — SurveyMonkeyed — both anonymously and for attribution a few of the questions posed above.
* Do you think it appropriate to be "friended" by your boss' boss?
* Should your colleague or boss notify you before seeking to establish a LinkedIn/Facebook connection with a key client?
* Is it unprofessional for a colleague to invite only people they like to join their social network?
* Should senior managers have the right to see your calendar and override schedules without your consent?
I'd argue that the firm would gain valuable situational awareness into both its people and its culture by asking a few simple questions and giving serious thought to the answers. More importantly, picking the right questions guarantees conversations about how organizations should negotiate truces, safe harbors, and rapprochements between professional productivity and healthy relationships.
Go beyond the legal issues of privacy, surveillance, and workplace monitoring. Use these technologies as media to facilitate healthier hierarchical relationships, not just power tools for professional productivity. I wouldn't lie to you about this.
Πηγή: Michael Schrage - Harvard Business Review
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