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the traditional model of information flow within organisations

From How Google Works loc 2454-2466:

Here’s a way to think about corporate communications: Picture a twenty-story building. You are on a middle floor, say the tenth, standing on a balcony. The number of people on each floor decreases as you go up. The top floor is occupied by just one person, while the bottom floor, aka the “entry level,” has hordes of people. Now imagine you are standing out on a balcony when the person above you—let’s call her your “boss”—yells something and drops a few documents. You catch them, being careful not to let them flutter away in the wind, and take them back inside to read. There’s some good stuff in there, and you carefully parse out a few bits that you think the people on the ninth floor should see, given the carefully pre-scripted boundaries of their jobs. So you go back out to the balcony and drop a sheet here and a paragraph there to your team below, who consume them as if they were the proverbial cold waters to a thirsty soul. 136 When they’re done, they turn around and perform their own parsing ritual for the benefit of the thirsty people on eight. Meanwhile, up on eleven, your boss is starting the process all over again. And up on twenty … well, who knows what that guy’s doing.

This is the traditional model of information flow in most companies. The upper echelons of management gather information and carefully decide which bits to distribute to those that toil beneath them. In this world, information is hoarded as a means of control and power.

Categories: Corporate Culture, Elites and Their Self-Understandings The Intensification of Work

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