Open working
Open Woking environments have implications for openness

The transparency trap. One decade you’re sitting at a desk hemmed in by four-foot-high walls, the next, your desk is one of hundreds in an open workspace the size of an aircraft carrier hanger. Today’s cult of transparency rests in a belief that openness makes for easier collaboration and idea-sharing. Ethan Bernstein, an organizational behavior expert at Harvard Business School, finds a paradox. “In my research, I found that individuals and groups routinely wasted significant resources in an effort to conceal beneficial activities, because they believed that bosses, peers, and external observers who might see them would have ‘no idea’ how to ‘properly understand’ them.” Privacy is just as important for performance, he writes in Harvard Business Review. Mr. Bernstein suggests that organizations establish “sweet spots between privacy and transparency,” where boundaries are drawn to allow a free flow of information sharing. One practitioner is Sir Alex Ferguson,  former manager of the Manchester United football club. “Though he championed the use of vests fitted with GPS sensors, which allowed analysis just 20 minutes after a training session,” Mr. Ferguson chose not to criticize players during training, Mr. Bernstein writes. “That’s where they try the irreverent things that will, and won’t, work during a match.”  Extract from The Wall Street Journal

The transparency trap