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Challenged hierarchies

A few days ago Riccardo asked:

We all know of cases where an employee has been fired because of her blog… but does anybody know of managers being fired or the hierarchy of an enterprise affected by a negative “peer review” through the comments of an internal blog?

I’m not that sure about the internal blogs, but I have some examples (here) of how external blogs influence the hierarchy inside. For example, one of the stories I’ve heard during my Microsoft study was from a blogger who was in a conflicting situation with his more experienced colleagues about features of a product, but managed to convince them by showing a discussion on the issue with external readers of his weblog.

Last few days I was thinking a lot about it – thinking about parallels with my own work. Given how our company works (with multiple hierarchies in projects that could make you a manager and a lowest-ranking team member of the same person at the same time) it’s not a big issue.

However, in doing PhD research it is – the hierarchy is not only well defined, but also embedded into the practices of academic work. For example, many PhDs I know get their own professional network via introductions by their professors. When you are beginner in the field, it’s very natural to get to know it (people, themes, events, politics, etc.) via someone more experienced and well established, and your supervisor is a very natural figure for that role.

Blogging changes that – it gives you an alternative way to connect to the professional world. In my case it has all kinds of effects, but right now I’m trying to figure out how to deal with one in particular – deciding what to do when my supervisors and external people in my blogging world have pretty different perspectives on part of my work…

Archived version of this entry is available at http://blog.mathemagenic.com/2006/11/26.html#a1861; comments are here.

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