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What to do about loafers in commercial open space teams?

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I'm telling you guys - it's *that* way to Times Square. by Ed Yourdon via FlickrHave you used open space technology in a commercial setting?

I’ve been thinking about the emblematic situation of the network age.  We get together and we figure out what we are going to do, and, then we do it.

Anyone who has been to hacker’s day is familiar with the process.  And if you have been to many hackers’ days, you will wonder what the fuss is all about.

But let me tell you when it all falls down – when we have two questions:

  • What are we going to do together?
  • Who are we going to sell our output to?

As soon as there is money involved, people start ‘social loafing’ and maneouvre to get the most money for the least work.

Learning from Shakespeare: dealing with ‘social loafing in networked supply chains?

I haven’t tested this solution but some lines from Shakespeare might provide the answer:

“That which hath no stomach to fight

Let him depart; his passport shall be made,

And crowns for convoy put into his purse:

We would not die in that man’s company

That fears his fellowship to die with us.”

Henry V, Act 4, Scene 3

What do you think?  Is this crass “with us or against us” or the very principle of open space technology:

  • Whoever are here are the right people
  • Whatever we do was the only thing that could be done

Solutions to social loafing  commercial open space technology?

Is the simple solution to social loafing in networked businesses to

  • Refuse to talk sales until the hack is made


  • Define the sale and then ask who can contribute and what they can contribute?

Can we ask First Who, then What when we still have to define the work?  And which question is the better?

What do you think?

Published in Business & Communities


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