Microsoft Office

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Office anthropology™
Backpfeifengesicht rendered as software, yesterday

The JC puts on his pith-helmet, grabs his butterfly net and a rucksack full of marmalade sandwiches, and heads into the concrete jungleIndex: Click to expand:

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There is a branch of software anthropology which categorises office workers by reference to the Microsoft application through which they understand the world.

The theory goes that different individuals, learning different office disciplines, become familiar with, and develop an early dependency on, a different “host” Microsoft application. For example:

The host application plays an active role in the worker’s intellectual and technical development. As the worker grows this attachment becomes increasingly hard to de-program (though there are generally accepted methods of doing this). Soon the worker will be unable to articulate her needs or expectations except by reference to her host. Mean time, those needs and expectations, thus articulated will contribute to the ongoing development of the application. This is a positive feedback loop of epic proportions.

Workers of the different persuasions (or “tribes”) will adapt their own host applications in extraordinary ways to do their bidding, unable to conceive of the idea that another Microsoft application might be more suitable. An Excel user will somehow contort a spreadsheet until it functions as a word processor, or a flow diagram generator. PowerPoint experts will communicate with a different vocabulary altogether, and will tend to see almost everything in the world in terms RAG statuses, cycle diagrams and Gantt charts.

Needless to say, interesting situations develop when hotly loyal tribal members then interact.

See also

See also