New work, new attitude

Nine Shift has a couple of posts on the changing nature of work and how the idea of responsibility usurped morals during the industrial age (See Part 1Part 2Part 3).

In the Industrial Age of the 20th century, you didn’t have to be of good moral character to work in the factory. But you did have to be responsible.  And so teachers in the 20th century schoolhouse and college taught (still teach) responsibility.   And by that  teachers mean specific behaviors.

Those behaviors are now obsolete. They made sense in the factory …  But not in the virtual office.

This post had me thinking about our approach to work literacy, and its foundation on skills, such as how to deal with information flows or personal knowledge management. What if the real challenge to be productive in the new workplace will be an attitude shift? Organisations may not be concerned if you work a full shift or are spending time at your work space. Compensation may become focused not just on results but creative solutions to the organisation’s issues. The required attitude may be creativity, as in “what have you done that’s different?”.

As we moved from morality to responsibility one hundred years ago, are we now shifting from responsibility to creativity? If we do, then most of our organisational tools and measurements about productivity may have to get thrown out.

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