When Gifts Say More

Written by Robert F. Abbott


What's a gift mean? If you're like me, you probably focus onrepparttar giving andrepparttar 141583 getting.

But, have you thought of gifts as a medium, a channel, for communication? In a book called The Gift, French anthropologist Marcel Mauss argues that gifts are universally used to create and manage relationships.

For those of us interested in business communication,repparttar 141584 idea of managing work relationships with gifts brings several interesting issues to our attention.

The most obvious notion is that in sending gifts, we communicate our appreciation for what someone did. It signals awareness thatrepparttar 141585 recipient did something exemplary. Usually,repparttar 141586 communication is implicit, perhaps even subtle, even thoughrepparttar 141587 gift may be tangible.

In a workplace context, bonuses are often seen as gifts, a discretionary act onrepparttar 141588 part of a manager to show appreciation. It is inrepparttar 141589 manager's power to reward or not reward, and hencerepparttar 141590 gifting effect.

Stock options, onrepparttar 141591 other hand, represent something different; there is no managerial discretion in their value, but there may be discretion involved in giving them.

And don't we all considerrepparttar 141592 type and value of a gift as an indicator ofrepparttar 141593 strength ofrepparttar 141594 relationship? I think we've all been through those debates about how much we should spend when a staff member gets married, has a baby, retires, or quits.

In each of these examples, it's not hard to see gifts as a tool for strategically managing relationships. We can also see gifts as a medium (like a newsletter) for exchanging messages.

Middle-Aged Managers, the Forgotten Digital Divide

Written by Mary Carroll


The digital divide is defined byrepparttar role computers play within widening social gaps in our society, asrepparttar 141582 condition of one group having an advantage over another group in regard to computers, technology skills and Internet access.

This is usually thought of as being a divide betweenrepparttar 141583 white middle class and minority communities; but there is another often overlooked class of nonusers,repparttar 141584 middle-aged corporate manager. As computer skills play an increasingly important role in building careers, many have not acquiredrepparttar 141585 necessary technological skills needed to keep up.

Being computer illiterate in todayís high-tech business world is almost indistinguishable from being functionally illiterate. And itís difficult to believe there are successful people inrepparttar 141586 business world who do not know how to use a computer. Unfortunately, these corporate managers are mistaken inrepparttar 141587 belief that they can avoid computers and remain successful inrepparttar 141588 workplace.

Inrepparttar 141589 late 1990ís, I was hired by a successful direct sales catalog company to design their sales catalogs. The Director of Advertising was in his mid 50ís and had, overrepparttar 141590 years, had a successful career. He was in his late 40ís when desktop computers first came intorepparttar 141591 workplace and he had no interest in learning a new technology. He assumed, that because he had never needed computer technology to succeed inrepparttar 141592 past that he didnít need it now.

At first he escaped learning computers by joking aboutrepparttar 141593 new technology, and later he relied on his employees to write his emails, schedules, spreadsheets etc. Eventually, he becamerepparttar 141594 only company executive who didnít have a computer on his desk. In his stubbornness not to learnrepparttar 141595 new technology, he had become a dinosaur.

He resisted and resented learning how to use a computer. Atrepparttar 141596 beginning of every year he made a resolution to get a computer and learn all about it; but he never followed through.

When he attempted to modify a computer file himself, he would holdrepparttar 141597 mouse backwards. When he didnít getrepparttar 141598 response he wanted, heíd slamrepparttar 141599 mouse down hard onrepparttar 141600 desk in frustration.

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