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A science to it

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Frederick H. Pitts

on 17 January 2013

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Transcript of A science to it

flexible time and flexible subjectivity
in the digital workplace Connectivity Policy implications
The spread of internet entrepreneurship and the replication of the Silicon Valley model needs to be accompanied by an attention to the potential ways in which working patterns might impinge upon lifestyles and bear implications for wellbeing.

The generalization of such models of work time should be kept in check, because wider acceptance of such time regimes will serve to chip away at any conception of statutory limits upon the working day. The project employed as a
case study a Bristol ICT
enterprise, using four members
of staff as participants in a mixed methods research design incorporating interviews, observation and time diaries. Silicon Valley a culture of flexibility abounds that harnesses the subjectivities and selves of individual employees to a cycle of ‘project time’ (Shih 2004)

an ‘objective work schedule’ is replaced by a ‘subjective demand for commitment’ (Shih 2004)

greater flexibility and variability of the working day actually erodes worker control over their own time

‘careful consideration to the social and individual costs of this region’s success’ must be given in order to ascertain the import of such temporal structures in other contexts (Shih 2004)

The UK’s ‘Silicon Gorge’ might present such an example of where the Silicon Valley model of work time has taken root. Immaterial labour post-industrial work based on the creation and manipulation of ideas, symbols, selves, emotions and relationships

therefore, the boundary between work and non-work time becomes increasingly indistinct

immaterial labour can be seen to transcend the formal confines of the working day to invest the whole of life Introduction Conclusions Analysis Methodology The paper presents the results of a research project carried out in spring 2012 on how work time is structured in the UK digital industries Elastic Brand an umbrella entity of three parts: Flexible subjectivity Productive procrastination Independence Multitasking Project time
Elastic City, an internet advertising consultancy
and production firm

Virals, who publicize advertising campaigns through a worldwide roster of bloggers
Decide, who develop electoral software Participants Moria, Studio Manager, Elastic Brand Mertyl, Publisher Manager, Virals Maurice, Test Developer, Decide Madeleine, Untitled, Elastic City Characteristics of the digital working day an attitude to work time which, whilst celebrating informality and flexibility, extends the working day under their auspices

the extension of the ‘solving of creative problems’ into one’s own spare time

an emphasis on the development of skills and social bonds that demands the investment of free time, stripping away the boundaries between work and non-work time

the incorporation of personalities, subjectivities and selves in the communicative and cognitive servicing of the labour task The project employed as a case study a Bristol ICT enterprise, using four members of staff as participants in a mixed methods research design incorporating interviews, observation and time diaries. Elastic Brand is an umbrella entity incorporating Elastic City, an internet advertising consultancy and production company, Virals, who publicize advertising campaigns through a worldwide network of bloggers, and Decide, who develop electoral software. The tendencies described in the empirical literature are in evidence as a more general tendency among firms outside the immediate contexts in which their empirical insights were forged.
Work time in the ICT sector is structured boundlessly and fleetingly both internally and externally, through a range of mechanisms that, whilst proffering apparent flexibility and opportunities for independence and creativity, actually procure the life of the worker, including spare time, into the service of labour.

The results of the data ultimately reveal work-time in the ICT sector to be structured by a framework of flexibility which incorporates ever further the life of the worker into time spent servicing the ends of production. Frederick H. Pitts
University of Bath
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