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Comment This has been done, it works well... or not... :-) (Score 1) 297

The example we talk about in business school is Ricardo Semler's 'Semco' company, in Brazil. Read "Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace", authored by Semler, R, ISBN 0446670553 (paperback). Semler is the poster child of MBA and Graduate Business schools worldwide. He's written other stuff on the topic, and there are other examples. Semco is a good start though.

Semco has a very open arrangement. A revolving board of directors, so each guy is only CEO for six months (focus on the position, not the man). The books are open, and the staff are given training courses in accounting, etc, so they can read and understand the books. Everyone knows what everyone earns, everyone chooses their own wages. The company openly supports private enterprise, and will support (financially as well) anyone who wants to take a Semco machine out and start his own business selling goods back to Semco. It sounds like a nice system.

The goal is to remove something that Max Weber called "The Iron Cage of Bureaucracy" - the restraints of industrialised society. It works, perhaps...

Once you've read Semler and you think that he's on to something, then read Barker, J. R. (1993). Tightening the iron cage: Concertive control in self-managing teams. Administrative Science Quarterly, 38, p. p. p. 408. What you see from that is that so-called empowerment is worse than just being told what to do by a single boss. Workers in empowered self-managed work teams felt under more pressure than they did before. One guy said "before, it was just my boss watching me. Now, everyone is watching me".

Email me if you'd like help finding a copy of Barker.

Oh, also, David Boje has interesting things to say on the subject. Maybe 'empowerment' is now what the world needs! See: Boje, D. & Rosile, G.A. (2001). Where's the power in empowerment? Answers from Follett and Clegg. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 37, p. p. p. 90. (email me for help finding a copy)

New Windows Media Player Leaks 363

TacoLL writes "A new version of Windows Media Player, Windows Media Player 11, is set to be made public on Wednesday, however, it has found its way into the hands of internet users before its public release. Flexbeta has some early screenshots of the next Media Player for Windows users."

Wi-Fi Routers - The Differences for Each Region? 46

Wi-Fi Wonderer asks: "I've been wondering what the difference is between the different regions that can be set on a Wi-Fi router? I know the region determines which channels are available, but I can't find any concrete information on anything else. Do regional settings also determine power output, bandwidth, and/or encryption mechanisms? If you are in a Wi-Fi dense area does it make sense (legal ramifications aside) to choose a different regional setting so as to avoid interference? Will one region give a greater broadcast range than another? Is there any documented information on exactly what configuration settings go with each region?"

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"