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Glasnost Comes To Big Blue

Bits & Bytes


Is IBM really changing? A breeze through its newly made-over internal magazine, called Think, at least shows a certain glasnost in the air. The employee magazine, back from a seven-month hiatus, has been transformed from a relentlessly cheerful glossy publication into a more hard-hitting and cheaper-to-produce broadsheet. One article, entitled "How Arrogant Are We?," explores what new IBM CEO Lou Gerstner calls "an institutional problem" among employees.

But the most telling part of Think is located on the back page. In a list of what's hot and what's not, the magazine says IBM's rigid dress code, symbolized by the starched white shirt, is out, replaced by a more casual striped shirt. Also considered "out" are bureaucracy, "blind autonomy" (defined as "the opposite of teamwork"), and "fancy foils," which are the overhead transparencies long used by executives in presentations. Also considered "in" are direct marketing and speeding products to market. During its hiatus, Think's editors had to rethink their own business. With IBM's downsizing, the magazine will have lost over 75,000 readers by the end of 1994.EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG

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