Jonathan Mahler tells an interesting story about the open plan or cubicle office in the world’s publishing houses. The article Cubicles Rise in a Brave New World of Publishing on New York Times predicts that the open plan office “may be the future of publishing”, although this change might take a while for editors to get used to.
My personal experiences working at a Hong Kong local publishing house and work-shadowing at the Asian headquarter of Oxford University Press seem to speak against this point of view, but to be honest, I will need more industrial experience to find out the answer. What I would like to point out is that the workplace culture varies greatly across different publishing houses, and it is even true for transnational publishing houses whose publishers might need to travel across several cultures. It will not be surprising to find out that the collectivism-oriented eastern countries may prefer the open plan, which encourages close collaboration among colleagues, while western publishers and editors may be more delighted to retain their privacy by working in a cubicle office.