Welcome to week six, screenside chats. The first question I want to answer this week is from Peter Tansik and he wrote about corporate culture and teleworking. And Peter writes, in Forbes, there's an interesting article about rather surprising phenomenon that even top IT companies like Yahoo, Google, that they're discouraging working their employees from home, teleworking. Though they acknowledge that the remote workers may indeed be more carefree, happier and productive, there's a fear that negative impacts on corporate culture like the sharing of ideas in meals, identity, collaborative creativity and institutional memory outweigh positive aspects of teleworking. And a lot of you guys up voted this. And so I think it's a great question and it has to do with basic understandings of how culture is created through interaction, through collaboration, all of those features that require communication and require the use of symbols, the use of artifacts, the exposure to artifacts. So let me go through a few of your ideas and just list them out and talk about them. In particular, Bas Van De Haterd wrote that teleworking is not so much an issue of culture, but of managing. So there was this kind of conducting the workers and their work was really the issue. It wasn't so much that culture was lost. So he took issue with the post itself on Forbes claiming that that culture was in question, claiming that really, if you read the article more carefully and the problems that Yahoo was had to do more with the fact that people weren't doing work, that were teleworking, or weren't held accountable. And a variety of you kind of mentioned how people pick up a paycheck if they're never monitored and that can be a problem. And that can kind of contribute to the notion that teleworking undermines a culture. But in some ways what Bas Van De Haterd argued is that the culture fits the work process, so if the work is kind of deficient and has free riding, It's just a reflection. So it's just a reflection model of organizational culture, reflects the kind of community, the kind of people, and the work processes or practices within that firm. So that's one route. I don't think it changes the fact that we can organize the work practice to reflect a culture, to generate a culture. And that if we don't monitor it, either way, that this is a problem and particularly it still doesn't, to me, take away the fact that when you're remotely situated that maybe the culture creation is not as integrated or as monitored as it could be. Now of course some of you take issue with this kind of claim and that's Lindsay Moore who says teleworking can be effective at generating culture. And she argues effectively, I think, that look, all these people can chat on IRC, blog, Twitter. They can have week-long collaborations where they meet up or week-long retreats. On Facebook, they can communicate and email. That's the kind of technologies we have in possession. Even this course with forums, and group chats, and screen side chats, etc, etc, that it can facilitate some sense of a culture for the organization. So, I think there's something to that, but notice all of those features are about how technology can mediate or how it can facilitate the kinds of communication that typically occur face to face. And a lot of you probably remember when a lot of these things like conference calls first came online and people worked remotely, and how people would be doing their dishes or laundry while they teleconferenced. Or someone would say are you there and they weren't there or the line would be dropped, and all kinds of issues arose. Plus people didn't understand each other morally. So an email, some of the emails seem really angry right? Where as they're not really mean that way. So we had to become much more explicit about our normative intentions and feelings through these kinds of channels to kind of create a sense of community and culture of values and symbolic value. So, I think that's actually been developed more and more over the years from early teleconferencing and I think it's kind of advance. So, we do see more this interactions it's closer to kind of face to face in divers and by the water cooler. That said, I always thought to some degree that maybe you know work from home was great if you were trying an exploit, if you were trying to accomplish things effectively without being interrupted. Or that being together that you would explore that through collaboration in the same proximity and it sounds like. You know the things Lindsay mentioned of a week-long collaboration versus working from home when you have projects and not being interrupted. That kind of reinforces that. However, Stephanie Oberlander says no, that's not quite. She kind of felt that work from home works great for team collaborations. And so this kind of made me think, it's still debatable to me, I'm not sure which way it goes that facilitates more of a culture because some people argue that innovation requires collaboration. Other people argue, no it requires a balance of collaboration and alone time that you have to retreat to have that. And this fits a particular kind of industry, too, in terms of knowledge creation or a knowledge economy. And a lot of the jobs that people are referencing, like startups and the like, are concerning that, right? So it kind of fits that model of having that combination. And that work from home through, a lot of these companies are technological so a lot of these things are mediated through that. Now, others of you say no, absolutely no way work from home is better. And Jordy Balera argues it makes people isolated freelance workers. So you do see quite a bit of that as well, that you have more of a subcontracted feel, that people don't commit as much. They don't have a moral sense of obligation to the company, that they don't have a culture in the sense of an identity, per se. So it may not be the case, particularly for wage-to workers as opposed to the top wage-for workers. That joint, being in the same place would actually facilitate that for people lower down the hierarchy. And that Lindsay's comments about this integration through technology and higher up the hierarchy it maybe more feasible to have this work from home with higher paid, higher expectation, higher accountability kind of roles. To me though the freelance worker there is an asset to work from home and you notice that a lot of you remark not just the commute but how you have cultural freedom. And it's true that the less your integrated into an organizational culture the more you have this choice that you can express yourself, you can be yourself, you can choose how you use your time. You have far more cultural freedom. And yet at the same time, conversely, you feel like you belong less. So it's kind of a double edged sword, right? It's not always all perfect. Anyhow, Gary Cohen also supports this. He claims that, the more you're colocated and collaborative, the more you have a chance to generate an opportunities to generate an organizational culture. I think that's the case even remotely that the more you interact the more you can generate it. The thing is that, in colocation, the same place there is something strong about a place that can generate this. And so I think that I am still persuaded that place has quite a bit of effect and when we look at, say, faculty knowledge creation, even though everything is done by email and through Skyping and the like now. People who are colocated tend to have far more productive and repetitive collaborations and contact, and more of a norm and much more productivity. That we're finding, at least in our analyses of faculty who are doing high quality research. So it is kind of interesting that place still kind of matters even in this age. Now whether that will always be the case we'll see, particularly as these technologies get better and better at making it feasible to be distantly situated and still have a sense of connection and communication that's quite rich. So thank you for the question, Peter, and hopefully we kind of got somewhere on it.