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To me this is less about 'beer and overtime' and more about conformity to pre-existing culture.

It doesn't matter if it's beer or if it's Star Trek or if it's an religious-like attitude to Cucumber Testing or even if it's a tech company or not, the fact is that some potential asshole who's on a slightly higher salary than you can decide to fuck with your livelihood if you don't tow some intangible line that matters to them.

I see it as a byproduct of capitalism, bosses will be bosses, and I've seen people trashed with 'fairness' as often as I have seen them trashed with non-conformity to whatever the ones in charge (or even the ones in the middle) care about.

As long as you have a list of conditions attached to your paycheck, this isn't going to change. It sucks, but it is how it is. You either have to play the game or find some place to work where the game is tolerable to you and your values. It doesn't matter how you cast it, but there's always a game to be played, some will seem more virtuous than others, and that will change from person to person.




Yeah, first? I agree that "cultural fit" is bullshit; It's the result of people placing the comfort of working with people "like them" over actually getting things done.

however...

>I see it as a byproduct of capitalism, bosses will be bosses, and I've seen people trashed with 'fairness' as often as I have seen them trashed with non-conformity to whatever the ones in charge (or even the ones in the middle) care about.

I don't see how you relate it to capitalism. This is about valuing 'culture' over money; you are going to see it even more in a co-op or commune.

Now, you could say in capitalism, this "cultural fit" is more top-down, but I don't think it's any less ugly or destructive because it's coming from your peers.

I mean, that's what some people like; some people only want to deal with people who are like them. But it's not a profit-maximizing move.


Ah, I suppose what I mean by capitalism is a more pathological optimisation of employees with authority. If you think of a company as something that is optimising for profitability through not only producing something, but by doing everything in their power to stifle competition, by preventing competitors from succeeding by any legal means, then you can look at an employee and their behaviour in a similar matter.

People often have houses to pay off, kids to feed, cars to buy, and they're interested in maintaining their foothold. They might say they buy in to a companies culture but the reality is, if they had to sacrifice themselves for said culture they'd always put their interests first.

So employees with limited power and authority over their little domain, are going to act in their own interests by as you say hiring people like themselves, by creating a culture that matches their values and keeps outsiders at bay, and by ousting anything that threatens the status quo.

It would be really interesting to see how things would work if people were able to separate costs of living and productive activity, but because they're tied up they're going to influence each other.

Why would someone over-quote on a job? Because they want more money so they can buy that thing they want or pay down their house quicker. Why would someone fire someone for not being a 'cultural fit', maybe it's because their behaviour threatens their position in some way. No questions are good questions. If Blackberry could have flipped a switch and prevented the iPhone from ever being made, by god they would have done it. It's the same behaviour and it's prevalent as hell.

So, that's what I mean.

EDIT: It ultimately does come down to money and protecting income streams (i.e. employment) while expending the least amount of energy as required. It's hard work for a manager to look after the needs of a team that has a cultural outlier even if they are ultimately improving business outcomes. It's easier to have people to nod their heads in agreement and show up 9 to 5, produce maybe 10 hours of true productive work a week. It's such an easy think to fake and it happens everywhere.


>So employees with limited power and authority over their little domain, are going to act in their own interests by as you say hiring people like themselves, by creating a culture that matches their values and keeps outsiders at bay, and by ousting anything that threatens the status quo.

The thing you are missing is that while I may benefit when /other people/ discriminate in favor of my group, as an individual? I actually lose out if I discriminate based on irrelevant factors.

(Now, if there was some kind of enforcement of this clan altruism; if I stopped getting the in-group benefits because I refused to place the interests of the group before my own interests, then it'd be different. But I haven't seen any cases, at least in my career, where that sort of defection is punished.)

Now, there are all sorts of emotional/cultural reasons to discriminate against outsiders, if you have a strong group identity, but it's certainly not in your financial best interest.

Trade unions don't have a significantly better history with discrimination than management does. This problem goes far beyond monetary self-interest.


"Cultural fit" isn't bullshit, it's just a euphemism for how reasonable someone's personality is. It's easier to say "I don't think they'll fit our culture" instead of saying "their personality sucks"


Agree with this completely. Cultural fit is (imo) the most important hiring criteria (way way more important than experience with the language).

Employees are going to be part of your team for at least two years. If your team can't stand them then that's going to be painful.

However, "Cultural Fit" used as an excuse to prevent team diversity is bullshit. Every study done on it has proven that diversity increases team productivity. If a team is mostly white middle-class guys and not hiring girls because of cultural fit, then yeah, that's bullshit.


But how do you tell? It's not the 1950s any more. Prejudice doesn't manifest itself openly, with people saying, "Oh yeah, there's no way that a darkie would be able to understand this work," or, "Yeah, we can't hire her because she'll get married and pregnant." These days, prejudice manifests itself far more subtly. It's a sense of discomfort that people get when they're seated across the table from someone who's different from them. It's questions that are more difficult, or answers that are more harshly judged. It's a matter of choosing which comments to focus on and which ones to let slide.

I think that instead of looking for positive "culture fit" (which just seems to encourage every interviewer to judge the candidate by whatever subconscious prejudices they have) we need to enforce "no assholes." In other words, we should flip the burden of proof. Instead of requiring the candidate to demonstrate that they are a culture fit, we need to have the interviewer demonstrate that the culture fit isn't there. In the debrief, when one of the interviewers says that the candidate was not a culture fit, I would ask them to back up that statement with specific statements or behaviors that the candidate exhibited in the interview. I think that would do a lot to counter our unconscious predilection to look favorably on people just like us and harshly on people who aren't


Every study done on it has proven that diversity increases team productivity.

There is a major file drawer effect here. Writing a study proving the opposite is a career limiting move.


Good old political correctness. I'd say the need to be PC is part of the reason why companies use the excuse of cultural fit as a reason to axe someone.

"We have these other prejudices but we can't tell you what those are because if we do, you have grounds to sue us, so instead, we're going to simply chalk it up to a poor cultural fit."


It goes the other way too. Good luck if all your COBOL programmers happen to be women, say. One of HR's main jobs in any layoff situation is to make sure it's racially and sexually plausible.


>Every study done on it has proven that diversity increases team productivity

Which studies?

They don't say that, exactly.

http://www.academia.edu/887990/The_effects_of_team_diversity...

Over the past few decades,a great deal of research has been conducted to examine the complexrelationship between team diversity and team outcomes. However,the impact of team diversity onteam outcomes and moderating variables potentially affecting this relationship are still not fullyanswered with mixed findings in the literature. These research issues were,therefore,addressed byquantitatively reviewing extant work and provided estimates of the relationship between team diver-sity and team outcomes. In particular,the effects of task-related and bio-demographic diversity at the group-level were meta-analyzed to test the hypothesis of synergistic performance resulting fromdiverse employee teams. Support was found for the positive impact of task-related diversity on team performance although bio-demographic diversity was not significantly related to team perfor-mance. Similarly,no discernible effect of team diversity was found on social integration. The impli-cations of the review for future research and practices are also discussed.

http://www.palgrave-journals.com/jibs/journal/v41/n4/abs/jib...

Previous research on the role of cultural diversity in teams is equivocal, suggesting that cultural diversity's effect on teams is mediated by specific team processes, and moderated by contextual variables. To reconcile conflicting perspectives and past results, we propose that cultural diversity affects teams through process losses and gains associated with increased divergence and decreased convergence. We examine whether the level (surface-level vs deep-level) and type (cross-national vs intra-national) of cultural diversity affect these processes differently. We hypothesize that task complexity and structural aspects of the team, such as team size, team tenure, and team dispersion, moderate the effects of cultural diversity on teams. We test the hypotheses with a meta-analysis of 108 empirical studies on processes and performance in 10,632 teams. Results suggest that cultural diversity leads to process losses through task conflict and decreased social integration, but to process gains through increased creativity and satisfaction. The effects are almost identical for both levels and types of cultural diversity. Moderator analyses reveal that the effects of cultural diversity vary, depending on contextual influences, as well as on research design and sample characteristics. We propose an agenda for future research, and identify implications for managers.

That being said, I still don't advocate a monoculture environment, if not for one reason, it isn't the right thing to do to discriminate.


wow, thanks for the info. I missed this reply completely. Very useful links.

There's also the huge risk of groupthink with a monoculture (something that doesn't strictly fall under the heading 'productivity').


We have an unofficial line in our contracts with both employees and customers that essentially just says "I will try not to be an asshole". It does not always work, but I like having an expectation set up front that everyone is going to put in the minimum effort towards being reasonable.


well, just be aware that when you say that you care about "cultural fit" I (and many others) assume it's code for "I'm a racist/sexist twit"


> As long as you have a list of conditions attached to your paycheck, this isn't going to change. It sucks, but it is how it is. You either have to play the game or find some place to work where the game is tolerable to you and your values. It doesn't matter how you cast it, but there's always a game to be played, some will seem more virtuous than others, and that will change from person to person.

A reasonable workplace would be able to accommodate people with different personalities and viewpoints as long as they treat each other with respect and consideration. Such workplaces are however quite rare.


No-where has "full capitalism". There are some conditions that you cannot attach to a paycheck.




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