Don’t trust, just verify

Francois Gossieaux, president of Corante, Inc., has an interesting post about lack of community spirit and trust in corporate cultures. He points to some interesting statistics from a study by American Management Association.

…76% of companies monitor employee web site connections and 55% retain and review email messages. The number of companies tracking telephone calls, including amount of time spent on the phone and phone numbers called has grown to 51%, up from 9% in 2001. And this does not include companies who require periodic medical checks and random drug usage tests.

This is a disturbing trend that runs quite contrary to the idea of karma capitalism (check out the BusinessWeek article that coined the phrase).

On the one hand, open source model of software development that relies on trust in the community, is gaining prominence. Google is a media and community darling based on its “don’t be evil” mantra. Wikipedia is becoming one of the most important and useful source of information on the web. Cooperation is becoming more and more important in the concept of coopetition. E.g. check out Matt Mullenweg’s take on competition in a recent interview.

On the other hand, enterprises are still looking for ways to extend their command and control influence. Remember the Walmart and Edelman PR fiasco or the lack of trust mentioned in the report above.

Best example of trust

This is going to be an interesting tussle…Already, the public opinion is changing to reflect a growing dissatisfaction with business-as-usual. I hope that overtime, this is going to force enterprises to face up to the limitation of command and control, and lead them to appreciate the power of trusting their employees and customer communities.


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