How computer technologists developed an occupational identity that persists in cyberspace long after the dot-com bubble has burst
The Company We Keep
Occupational Community in the High-Tech Network Society
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At the birth of the Internet Age, computer technologists in small, aggressive software development companies became part of a unique networked occupational community. They were creative, team-oriented, and enthusiastic workers who built “boundaryless careers,” hopping from one employer to another.
In his absorbing ethnography The Company We Keep, sociologist Daniel Marschall immerses himself in IntenSivity, one such technological workplace. Chronicling the employees' experiences, Marschall examines how these workers characterize their occupational culture, share values and work practices, and help one another within their community. He sheds light on the nature of this industry marked by highly skilled jobs and rapid technological change.
The experiences at IntenSivity are now mirrored by employees at Facebook and thousands of other cutting-edge, high-tech start-up firms. The Company We Keep helps us understand the emergence of virtual work communities and the character of the contemporary labor market at the level of a small enterprise.
"This is a fascinating study... It adds significantly to the body of case studies that are already shedding light on high-tech work. In addition to the longitudinal and founder-based perspective, the book provides telling descriptions and analyses of a number of other issues.... [T]his is a sharply written ethnography with significant insights in every chapter into the ongoing puzzle that is occupational community in the high-tech network society."
Daniel Marschall is a Professorial Lecturer in Sociology at The George Washington University. He works for the AFL-CIO as the Federation's Policy Specialist for Workforce Issues.