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信任你 还是监控你





When Spotify workers need a new keyboard, they goto a shelf and take one. There are no forms to fill inand no one to ask. There is just a sign saying howmuch each keyboard costs.


Kristian Lindwall, whose title at the music streamingcompany is “agile coaches team lead”, told us this ata human resources conference in Barcelona lastweek.


His talk was about Spotify giving teams autonomy. His job seemed to be to help the teams,but not to hover over them. “People are self-motivated and they want to do great work,” hesaid.


Setting up elaborate approval processes for workplace equipment not only interfered withthat aim; it ended up costing more. “It’s cheaper to give someone a keyboard than for people togo through two sets of approvals that take a week,” he said.


Judging by reviews on the Glassdoor jobs website, some employees find these autonomousteams “chaotic”, with “duplicate and uncoordinated efforts”. But 87 per cent say they wouldrecommend the company to a friend.


As a consumer, I find Spotify’s service entirely satisfactory. But I feel the same about Amazon,which only 64 per cent of employees would recommend to a friend, according to Glassdoor.Employee reviews — “people making minor mistakes are punished; breaks are limited,exhausting the workforce and making people hate work” — reflect recent press coverage, whichAmazon contests, stating that it used detailed data to monitor both managers and lower-levelemployees’ performance.


Spotify trusts you; Amazon monitors you. The companies are both stars of the digital age, whilealso illustrating the sharp divide in today’s world of work. Some companies give their workersfreedom while others use modern technology to track their every move.


Traditionally, this trust divide existed inside companies rather than between them, according toan excellent and prescient 2001 paper by Cambridge’s Judge Business School and theStockholm School of Economics. Managers were trusted, but workers were not.

根据剑桥大学(University of Cambridge)贾奇商学院(Judge Business School)和斯德哥尔摩经济学院(Stockholm School of Economics)在2001年发表的一篇富有远见的高质量论文,传统上,信任度方面的鸿沟存在于公司内部,而不是公司之间。管理人员受到信任,下属员工不被信任。

Max Weber, the great German analyst of organisations, “identified the fact that senior figuresin bureaucracy operate with discretion, since it is they who formulate, rather than follow,rules,” the paper said.

论文指出,德国组织管理分析大师马克斯•韦伯(Max Weber)“发现了一条事实,即官僚机构中的高层人物在工作中拥有自主权,因为他们是规则的制定者,而不是遵从者”。

Senior figures did not always deserve that trust, of course. In any event, the idea that someshould be above the rules began to break down in the 1960s and especially in the 1980s, withthe rise of the idea of corporate culture.


Popularised by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman’s In Search of Excellence, corporate culture“was understood as an anti-bureaucratic move” that aspired to substituting values for rules,the Cambridge/Stockholm paper said.

论文指出,汤姆•彼得斯(Tom Peters)和罗伯特•沃特曼(Robert Waterman)在《追求卓越》(In Search ofExcellence)一书中普及了公司文化的理念,它“被理解为一种反官僚主义运动”,希望以价值观取代规定。

Those values bound everyone in the company together, both workers and managers. It meantemployees could be empowered and “less directly managed”. Rather than establishing rafts ofrules, employees were educated in the culture. They grasped the values and could then be leftto get on with their work without excessive oversight.


It was not always this way. Many companies still had plenty of rules. But this was the ideal. Nowthe old corporate culture model is breaking down under the strain of global competition, anend to final salary pensions, insecure employment, agency working and outsourcing.


If people are no longer secure in a company then everything changes. “Why should individualsbe committed to the values of an organisation to which they have only a fleetingattachment?” the paper’s authors say.


Amazon’s close monitoring is one response; Spotify’s autonomous teams are another. Whywould its people in their autonomous teams behave in a trustworthy way? Because, in a worldin which they will probably move around, their own reputations, their personal brands, are avital asset.


When you move on, you want to be remembered as someone who was trusted. The more skilledand mobile you are, the more your employer will believe your reputation matters to you.


Everyone’s reputation matters to them, but not everyone is as mobile or has skills that arerare or transferable. The further down the work ladder you are, the more employers willbelieve you need to be controlled.


There is a class element to this. The new world of work is horribly divided. Egalitariancorporate culture was just a passing moment.


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