The writing is on the wall for organisational boundaries

2013-02-12

From Danah Boyd's talk at the American Society for Training and Development's TechKnowledge conference:

Inside big companies, we take organizational boundaries for granted. Traditional organizational logic suggests that most employees of big corporations should primarily only talk to other people at their organization to do their work and should only engage with "competitors" when a deal is being brokered or there is a particular need for cross-sector collaboration. In this frame, companies are quite protective of their intellectual property and company secrets and see any knowledge sharing between "competitors" as a weakening of their core assets.

To a teenager growing up in a networked world, this model makes absolutely zero sense. Even if they've been trained in a traditional educational environment where collaboration is pooh-poohed, if they have access to the internet, they've developed a sensibility for obtaining knowledge from a wide variety of sources. More importantly, many youth in creative class environments are growing up with the idea that knowledge is something that you tap into, not something you innately have. Knowing where to turn to get relevant information is often as valued as knowing the answer. This is completely sensible when you grow up in an internet-saturated world where technology puts information at your fingertips. But it completely contradicts the notion in many organizations that you can only access information from people within the bounded world of the organization itself.

Don't assume this is just about the teenagers who might enter the workforce in some distant future - remember that software developer in the US who was caught outsourcing his own job to a Chinese subcontractor?

We are truly entering the age of unreason, although those who know where to turn will still need to work out a way of getting paid.

comments powered by Disqus