[Air-l] more on road warriors

cindybean at mindspring.com cindybean at mindspring.com
Tue Jun 4 10:01:11 PDT 2002


Cindy Bean here, Ph.D. student (Org. Comm.) at Univ. of South Florida. 

Just now, I am in Norway studying (for my dissertation) an organization that is nearly 3/4 thru the process of taking their 7500 Olso based employees to a 'nomadic work' situation -- very akin to what I understand SUN is doing (but not using SUN platform).  

I am not sure that I would classify them as 'road warriors', however.  I do not think they or their firm would accept that term.  Nor do I think I would classify what the SUN employees will be doing as 'road warriors'.   I think that these people are doing 'nomadic' work or working 'nomadically'.  

They differ a lot from what we might consider road-traveling workers like musicians, salespersons, etc. They do not go from place to place, town to town, to conduct their work because the work itself demands that level of travel. They may sometimes be home-workers, sometimes be office workers, sometimes hang around at 'Starbucks' or an equivalent, and yes, they have some travel for the job --- but -- the travel is not the driving force here as it is with the 'road warrior', eh?

Based upon what I am seeing here, and interpreting from the SUN news that I saw, these folks are not mostly *not* road warriors with 70-80-90% travel demand jobs.  

BTW - those jobs that are 'road warrior' jobs (travel is the driving force, job demands the travel, demands they be out-of-office - my interpretation of the term)....

.... those jobs were, in fact, creating road warriors long before information technology enabled other types of work to become nomadic or home based.....the traveling salesman(woman) was a road warrior before she/he had a laptop....eh? I hate to admit to this, but I am old enough to remember pre-technology road warriors.

I have been following this thread with great interest (since it is near and dear to my dissertation work) and I would like to see more disscussion that unpacks the terms ....road warriors to me are not merely: - telecommuters - home-workers - teleworkers .... rather, they are those whose jobs demand travel and technology happened to come along.  

Many other workers now, however, are *able* to do their work anywhere/anytime -- and companies are seeing the lure of reduced real estate costs and increased flexibility in turbulent markets (esp. high-tech) so creating nomadic work environments (reducing their operating costs and increasing their flexibility in terms of managing their labor force). It will be very interesting to see these new workplace options develop.  

Both the firm I am studying (Telenor) and SUN are 'walking the talk' of their own IT solutions that they - presumably - will want to sell as solutions to their customers.  Interesting!!  

Finally, I cannot resist Yet Another shameless plug for the NCA panel in New Orleans -- a panel devoted to telework .....It will be the debut of my diss. work and the other panelist have been in the field so have experienced and examined some of these issues .... I look forward to it! and hope to see you all there!!

Cindy Bean
cjbean at chuma1.cas.usf.edu

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