There are many reported instances of employees being fired for blogging. All too often these cases become very public. Partly as a result of the public nature of a private blog, and partly as a result of the surveillance methods used by corporations, employees are understandably fearful of being too public about their discussions about there work.
However, according to Bruce Barry in an interview on Business Week, such a situation is unhealthy for society. Whilst he agrees that it’s quite within the legal rights of an employer to keep a watch on what is said about their company through a variety of surveillance methods, he questions whether this is wise business practice. He points out that employees have been gathering around water coolers and in other private public places discussing their work for decades. He argues that blogs are simply a new form of water cooler (my term not his) and as such bosses should be a little more circumspect when responding to blog posts. After all, he believes, blogs are simply old speech in a new setting.
Barry’s views very much accord with my own view of blogging. Whilst my hypothesis is that blogs are conducted as a means to personal emancipation, the act of recognising the message beyond the words of a blog post is a skill that upcoming managers do well to develop. By reducing or eliminating fear in the workplace managers and leaders improve the relationships they have with their employees and thus improve the conditions for productivity and team cohesion.