Find – Hashtag Anthrocubeology

AIN anthrocubeology
#appliedimprov #servantleader #behaviordesign 

These are the three areas that frame the context for anthrocubeology.


This is an anthrocubeologist’s muse.


Observations, perspectives, and stories discovered and explored include –

  • interactions
  • workspaces
  • choices

APPLIED IMPROV – or applied improvisation – is the  use of improv exercises, activities, and skills in non-performance settings.

SERVANT LEADERSHIP – the phrase coined by Robert K. Greenleaf – involves the expression and practice of a combination of characteristics that lend themselves to a particular approach for interacting with people.

BEHAVIOR DESIGN – as characterized by BJ Fogg – incorporates creating systems to change human behavior, which includes considering motivation, ability, and triggers (also known as a call to action).

As an anthrocubeologist shares field work, these three main areas provide the setting for stories about workspace experiences –

  • the sociocultural experience (interactions)
  • the physical setting (workspaces)
  • the decisions each person makes to connect or disconnect with others in cubeopolis (choices)

Create and contribute to the conversation on twitter for all things anthrocubeology.


6 thoughts on “Find – Hashtag Anthrocubeology

  1. I am enjoying the topic but still trying to wrap my ahead around the many facets of Anthrocubeology per your definition.
    The framework construct is too rich in its breadth to cover in a single comment feedback. The sub-elements within the three converging streams themselves deserve so much fun discussion.

    As with any approach to innovative knowledge there is the “goodness of fit”. (i.e., what is the scope of applicability?). I am slowly digesting the suggested themes/propositions and reflecting on them based on my own personal work experiences. One area that did strike me was how “cubeology” plays out in a global/localized context. I had the good fortune of global travel with my prior work and have spent extended work assignments in India, Tokyo, Singapore, Malaysia, England , and Germany. In Tokyo for example, they commonly have office space with open bays of desks lined up and with the supervisors desks facing everybody under their direct report. You can imagine how the office culture dynamics can be different on so many levels as influenced the physical work environment.

    Also- another lens of inquiry I had is the “post-Dilbert” work environment where organizations are supported by a much more diverse workforce in terms of work arrangements such as remote/mobile workers, offshore, compressed scheds, telecommuting, hotel ling desk assignments etc. In my previous company I worked in a “collaborative workspace” where things were a bit more agile and temporal –work relationships were highly matrixed; teams, work space and reporting structures are reconfigured with every project. If culture is largely defined by “shared social rituals” it becomes a challenge to truly entrench a sense of place because of the dynamic nature of work relations and workspace.

    1. Eric – Thanks so much for your VERY THOUGHTFUL and INSIGHTFUL comment. And I agree with you that I have presented –

      “The framework construct is too rich in its breadth to cover in a single comment feedback. The sub-elements within the three converging streams themselves deserve so much fun discussion. ”

      – and THEREFORE am in fact using my furlough time to better express my point of view. Yes, it is expressed in too broad of scope, albeit, the framework I am using to capture my perspectives. Also, I VERY MUCH appreciate your “innovative knowledge” reference (… a good self-esteem boost for me) and that motivates me better hone in on the “scope of applicability”.

      YOUR STORIES: At a minimum, YOUR considering your OWN experience is what I am seeking. In fact, your multi-cultural experience is like a bit of a TRAVELING EX-PAT, so this is a fascinating thought. And with your references to “collaborative workspace” and “shared social rituals” – yes! the physical and spatial (literal and and figurative) elements are certainly relevant. Imagine, however, when the culture does not fit the “workspace” – chicken & the egg? Or how much is it up to the individual to determine his/her experience in the workspace.

      SIDE NOTE: I had been looking at whether there were graduate studies to pursue to further my exploration. While that has been under consideration, for now, I am continuing with this effort (which I am looking to step-up).

      That said, my furlough time is spent actually going through a behavior design of anthrocubeology. This means looking at this “abstract” thing and getting specific to design for whatever aspirations. More on that soon – perhaps a video, even!

      Keep ’em coming!

  2. “Imagine, however, when the culture does not fit the “workspace” – chicken & the egg? Or how much is it up to the individual to determine his/her experience in the workspace.”

    It’s interesting how culture plays out in the workplace. I’ve experienced extremes. And yes I agree- we do determine which ones to adopt and accept.

    Once I accepted a job at a new company which required a move from Washington DC to the SF Bay Area. Talk about change in work cultures!
    I went from an East Coast conservative work environment( PriceWaterhouse) to a relaxed hippie-dippie one (PeopleSoft circa 1997). From daily suit & tie business attire (everybody’s a Republican and casual Fridays meant you are allowed to wear an ugly tie) to my new Bay Area job where I can come to work at anytime in a T-shirt, shorts, flip-flops AND bring my dog to work. This company (then) prides itself with a flat organization with no titles, no secretaries, EVERYBODY had an actual office (not cubes) because that would be democratic. Friendliness was institutionalized and the CEO likes to mop the bathroom himself. He even allowed the employees free use of his Tahoe ski lodge. We even had an office house band that plays during lunch and on Fridays afternoon.

    It’s funny- I remember on my first day at work at the new job. An overly-friendly obnoxious HR staffer visited me and introduced himself as the company “Fun Police”. He reminded me that he will be patrolling the office and checking-up on new employees to make sure that we were having fun. He said (I swear ) “If word gets to me that you are not having fun I will personally go to your office and tickle you!”- Where do these people come from? are they ex-Children’s party clowns? Another HR dude gave me a visit and asked me if I had a “Star Wars” name and that if I didn’t have one he was going to assign me one. I felt like I had joined a cult.

    1. Eric, I look forward to more of your insight and experience. REALLY! What you have shared is EXACTLY the kind of thoughts and perspectives I am seeking to explore and express for anthrocubeology. In fact,

      East vs. West – direct vs. fuzzy/wuzzy … SOMETIMES one can even see the difference in the structure of people’s resumes. I have seen it – how accomplishments are written, diction, tone, etc.

      You bring up a really good point in what you shared –

      ” … patrolling the office and checking-up on new employees to make sure that we were having fun. … I felt like I had joined a cult.”

      – your comment inspires me to continue writing.

      I have a friend who has been told (suggested strongly) to participate in social activities with others at his work; he was told it made others uncomfortable that he was *NOT* hanging out with them. Yes, **HE** was told to consider changing to make others feel comfortable.

      I’ll leave that as food-for-thought.

  3. Re: Yes, **HE** was told to consider changing to make others feel comfortable.
    As much we want to promote and foster social unity in the workplace, forcing people in into an unauthentic “togetherness” just doesn’t work. It’s like “every party needs a party pooper that why we invited you”. Inclusivity needs to be handled with more tact.

    Re: “insight and experience”

    Shirly, one thing why I’m grooving with this blog is, like you, I am also a “student of the workplace”  Some of my most rewarding work in the past has been serving as a technology partner with the Human Resource leadership in addressing the lofty mission of, among many things,…how do we create and maintain a work environment where people are fulfilled professionally and socially. Lots of heady stuff but sometimes it is the small everyday stuff that matters to employees. (e.g. don’t bitch at me for using Facebook at work because taking a FB break for 5 minutes relaxes me and keeps me from punching Bob from Accounting).

    As we make sense of our workplace sometimes as we get inundated with sexy management theories and anthro-pop lenses. I think what matters more in mitigating the “suckiness” at work are the honest and authentic dialogue about work experiences. I believe sharing and hearing the everyday stories are the most useful tools in making sense of work. But, if anything, hearing people bitch and moan about work is always entertaining. What you hit on the mark Shirley, and have never lost appreciation of, is incorporating the power of authentic voices as you build up your Anthrocubeology thoughts. Right On!
    No better cred than keeping it real, ya’ll!

    Regarding “authentic voices” of work –a couple of fun reads I highly recommend are:

    (one of my fav oral historian and workplace book) Studs Terkel—“Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do”

    Mark Albion —-“Making a Life, Making a Living: Reclaiming Your Purpose and Passion in Business and in Life”

    1. well … your comments are like improv – word suggestions (albeit more than just suggestions) from with to create.

      and ANY book (or resource/reference material) recommendations you have, i am in. i feel like i get the benefit of YOU being my “faculty advisor” in this pseudo-study i am creating as i … create. ACTUALLY, it’s basically also mining the stuff in my head that is/has been swirling around and continues to evolve.

      hats off to you!

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