All those execs walking the beach with “crack-berries” in their hands, talking apparently to themselves through hands-free Bluetooth cellphone headsets? Business at the speed of light? Total responsiveness to customers and managers? Constant relationships with employees? The price of doing business in a connected world? In many cases, it may be something more like a pathological addiction to connectedness. So what’s the harm?
For the staff, it creates a constant dependence on the presence of the manager. This kills their desire to take initiative. They become much more concerned with carrying out the boss’s orders than with meeting the goals of the organization. If you can’t disconnect the electronic bands of connectivity for a couple of weeks or even for a few hours, you need to rethink your management approach. Hyperconnectivity could be a symptom of an important problem. Great managers create organizations that are resilient enough to keep moving ahead, no matter who is out of touch.
Sometimes I feel grateful to work in a place where even simple PDAs would be regarded as alien/unusual, and cell phones are uncommon. Haven’t seen a crackberry on campus yet, though I suspect it’s only a matter of time. I used to lament the limited amount of technology in the hands of faculty and staff, but lately have come to appreciate the mental health benefits of working in a less-connected environment.