Re: Dress code

Subject: Re: Dress code
From: Barry Maid <BMMAID -at- UALR -dot- BITNET>
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 1993 12:34:50 -0500

I am relatively new on this list and to this point have just been lurking.
Unlike most of you, I'm an academic. For the past six years I've been chair of
the English Department at U of Arkansas at Little Rock and as of fall expect to
be chair of the new department of Rhetoric and Writing. I have been amazed at
the discussion this morning about dress codes.

As John, who initiated the discussion, has stated dress codes are merely one
manifestation of an overarching phenomenon present in some organizations. He's
right. Each group tends to define its own culture. Dress codes, work
schedules, organizational structure are all part of an individual group's own
culture. From my perspective, that's what's really the issue here.

We all have a tendency to think the way we work most comfortably and effectively
is the RIGHT way. Unfortunately, people aren't the same. Ideally, all of us
would find employment in an organization whose culture fits our personal
preferences. Sometimes economics forces us to make decisions we're uncomfortable
with. My sense is it is better to accept our situation or change our situation
than rail against it.

I suspect John and GE are a mismatch. That doesn't mean there is inherently a
problem with either. They're just different, and both might work more
productively without the other.

Sorry, for the length, but September's post just came through. What she's
observed, I think, is that there's a "rhetoric" to issues of dress and culture.
The fact that she's more productive dressed in a particular way with a defined
group of people is an example of "audience analysis" applied to contexts as well
as texts. It's this kind of thing that companies usually pay me to tell them
and their employees.

Barry Maid
bmmaid -at- ualr

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