The Anthropology of Work

From the blog

Walking the Talk



As I continue to make the effort to extend the culture of coworking to the broader world, I sometimes lose sight of the core values that have driven the success of the movement thus far.  I get caught up in the sale.

In its earliest iteration, the impulse behind coworking was a clear set of values:

  • Collaboration
  • Sustainability
  • Accessibility
  • Community
  • Openness

It is interesting to see how often these same (kinds of ) values are talked about in the corporate sector.  Yet, when you here folks on the corporate side of the equation talking about collaboration and sustainability, for example, I suspect that what they are really talking about are means-end relationships between behavior and profitability. Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with profitability.  Those of us in any industry (coworking or otherwise) know how important this is.  However, I do think there is a difference between words and actions.

While it’s not the case in all coworking spaces, to be sure, I do think that, for the most part, the above values exist in much more authentic form in coworking spaces than in your typical shareholder-value driven firm.  It is interesting to speculate what, if they were allowed to manifest themselves authentically, the core values of coworking would actually look and feel like in a big company.  How would they change the interaction, communication, and trust between colleagues?  What would be the knock-on effect on the company culture? Don’t know, but I suspect that this would be good for the company and good for the world.


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