By Steve Kelman

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Academic and Government Cultures

I had lunch recently with a colleague who came to the Kennedy School fairly recently from a political science department, and who still spends a fair amount of time hanging around Harvard's political science department. He was commenting on cultural differences he perceived between a more traditional academic department and the Kennedy School, which is of course part of academia but also a professional school that trains people for working in large government and other organizations.

My colleague was saying that the Kennedy School culture resembles that of government and industry more than that of mainstream academia.

His evidence?

His political science colleagues use iPhones; Kennedy School people use Blackberries.
His political science colleagues use Macs; Kennedy School people use PC's.
His political science (male) colleagues teach in open-face shirts and (sometimes) blue jeans; Kennedy School people in jackets and ties, even suits.

Tech choices make the person, it would appear.

I had never noticed this before!

Posted by Steve Kelman on Feb 10, 2009 at 12:08 PM


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