Ready, Fire, Aim! - Mihail's Public Blog: Your boss next to you in the cubicle

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Your boss next to you in the cubicle

An interesting take -- the pros and the cons -- on the (especially) Silicon Valley culture (such as eBay) of having your boss next to you in a cubicle rather than his/her office. According to this Wall Street Journal story (subscription required):

Few management gestures can rival the we're-in-this-together symbolism of top executives who choose to abandon a plush private office to sit with everyone else. The move humanizes them and makes them easier to approach -- even though few people do. The big drawback: sitting near even the most relaxed boss can make for some awkward, nerve-racking moments.

In fact, executives have sat among the masses for more than a century in businesses ranging from banking -- J.P. Morgan himself had a desk on the trading floor, though he also had a private office -- to small companies. "I'm willing to bet that it goes back to the earliest parts of the Industrial Revolution, where you had sweatshops and the owner was right there cracking the whip," says Sydney Finkelstein, a professor of leadership at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business.

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