Month: September 2012

Population Ecology Theory in Real Life: How The Globe and Mail Misunderstood its Environment

This week the Internet has been alive, at least in my part of the world, with the unfolding drama of Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente’s alleged plagiarism. Since one of Ms. Wente’s favorite targets is university professors, who she characterizes as grossly overpaid and lazy, and not teaching anything that’s relevant to the real world, I thought I’d use population ecology theory – one of the allegedly irrelevant topics in my Organization Theory course – to analyze why her and her employer’s real-world responses to the plagiarism issue have been so ineffective. (more…)

Crowdsourcing and Unpaid Workers: When Worlds Collide

A while ago I wrote about crowdsourcing, which is becoming more and more interesting to me as an organizational theorist. Crowdsourcing bypasses traditional organizational structures and processes by creating what organizational theory would likely identify as a “networked organization”, Crowdsourcing creates a network of supporters around an artist or a project, and that organization can be temporary (for a one-time-only project) or ongoing (when the artist calls on those supporters whenever they have something new they want to pursue).

Thanks to the lively minds over at The Afterword, I was recently alerted to a situation that we might call “crowdsourcing gone wrong”. (more…)

Jonah Lehrer’s ‘Imagine’: How Did This Happen?

This past week, I had the opportunity to read Jonah Lehrer’s Imagine –  the book that’s part of the controversy about plagiarism and fabrication in Lehrer’s writing. Imagine has been pulled by its publisher as a result of that controversy, so pointing out additional problems with it may now be somewhat redundant. (The copy I read came from my public library.) Nevertheless, after reading it, I want to outline the problems I found with the referencing in the book – an area which other commentators have also raised concerns about. (more…)

Rocky Mountaineer and Locked-Out Workers Reach Tentative Settlement

According to this story, the Rocky Mountaineer rail service has reached a tentative contract settlement with the onboard workers it locked out more than a year ago. The ratification vote on the contract will take place on Saturday. I’ll post information on the settlement as I come across it.

UPDATE: According to this story from Monday, the workers ratified the contract. A message  on Twitter indicated that the new contract includes a 10% pay cut, a requirement that onboard workers share their tips with other staff,  and a “payout” (I’m not sure if this is a contract signing bonus, a buyout option for employees who want to leave, or something else), but I haven’t seen any official confirmation of any of these details.

Labour Day News Review

Well, if Labour Day is indeed the time of the year when labour and workers get the most media attention, we might as well take advantage of it and take a quick look at some of what was said. (more…)