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April 06, 2010


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Michael Risch

It may be because I've only seen one episode, but I tend to disagree with this characterization. I think the show is a great social experiment. I think CEO's are often out of touch with what happens in the field, and giving them a taste of the day to day operations that make their company work is important. Sure, the employees are selected for their side stories, but the work stuff is important. Though unspoken, I have to think that CEO's walk away thinking that many employees are underpaid.

This reminds me of Michael Moore's TV show - where he challenged the CEOs of the big three auto companies to change the oil in a car. Only one CEO agreed to do it - Ford. Looking back now, that was a pretty telling result. I view undercover boss the same way.

Howard Wasserman

Talking about the show the other night, my wife and I came to the same basic split that Miriam and Michael did, with me on Miriam's side and my wife sharing Michael's view. And like Michael, I made the link to Moore's old show ("TV Nation," where he repeatedly wore a Northwestern baseball cap). But Miriam is right--everyone employee they pick has a sick spouse, special-needs child, dream, or other gripping piece of narrative. Plus, it gives the company and CEO the chance to play hero by "rescuing" the individual. There are is no attempt to capture the systemic "reality" of the ordinary worker within these companies, a reality the company is not going to work to change.

Michael Risch

I agree a bit with Howard that the reality isn't going to change. The gifts the CEO's give are nice, but how but just paying the employees more?

Miriam A. Cherry

I really liked the premise; it was just the execution and the formulaic nature of the show that was a bit off for me.

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