So what has happened to the workforce? Well, it has changed its image of itself. The modern workforce–which will soon include most of you, scholars–is undergoing a sea change. As Tapscott & Williams point out, "Whereas previous generations value loyalty, security, and authority, the N-Gen's norms reflect a desire for creativity, social connectivity, fun, freedom, speed, and diversity in their workplace" (248). Net-genners don't necessarily expect an organization to keep them, protect them, and tell them what to do. Rather, "having been nourished on instant messaging, chat groups, playlists, peer-to-peer file sharing, and online multiplayer video games, they … increasingly bring a new collaborative ethos into the workplace" (247).
And what is pushing this change in our workforce? Tapscott & Williams say its the new web-based tools and the nature of work itself. "Blogs, wikis, chat rooms, peer-to-peer networks, and personal broadcasting are putting unprecedented power in the hands of individual workers to communicate and collaborate more productively" (247). Not only is the workplace enriched, but the kind of work is also more rich and complex, demanding different skills from workers. "Work has become more cognitively complex, more team-based and collaborative, more dependent on social skills, more time pressured, more reliant on technological competence, more mobile, and less dependent on geography" (246).
Tapscott & Williams provide a long example of how the workers of Geek Squad have taken it upon themselves, with encouragement from and cooperation with their bosses, to change the way work is done at Best Buy. So here is the big question for the whole semester:
- Workers at Best Buy use modern technology to communicate across organizational boundaries to organize their work and to get it done. How can you students use modern technology to communicate across the boundaries of the University to organize your work and get it done? How can professors and other staff communicate across boundaries?
- What are the boundaries at GCSU?
- Workers at Best Buy participate in the development and marketing of new products and services to the company's customers. How can you students participate in the development and marketing of new educational products and services here at GCSU? How can the faculty and staff participate?
- Best Buy is using its workers to better understand its customers and to provide them with the goods and services the customers want in the way they want. How could GCSU use its faculty, staff, and students to better understand its customers and to provide its customers with the goods and services they want?