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piano-315012_1280by Kim de Laat

Postbureaucratic work environments are flexible, project-based settings characterized by consensus-building. They are often hailed as an improvement over the rigid job hierarchies and inflexible working conditions found in most white collar and manufacturing sectors.

Unlike traditional forms of product manufacturing, postbureaucratic work settings, such independent contracting, website design and film projects, can involve a creative process that is unpredictable. The final output is often the result of decision-making processes that are negotiated on the fly (for example, Robert De Niro’s improvisation of the line, “You talkin’ to me?” in Taxi Driver or the Beatles’ use of some accidental feedback at the beginning of ‘I Feel Fine’). In addition, the temporary nature of much postbureaucratic work, particularly in creative industries, creates uncertainty. One’s next paycheck is never guaranteed, and so there is a constant need to pursue work opportunities. It falls on the individual to maintain relationships and ties that can lead to future job opportunities. An unruly creative process and the individualization of risk means that teamwork and cooperation are especially important in postbureaucratic work projects.

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