Here class counts for everything. A child of privilege can afford strategic confusion, a child of the masses cannot. Chance opportunities are likely to come to the child of privilege because of family background and educational networks; privilege diminishes the need to strategize. Strong, extensive human networks allow those at the top to dwell in the present; the networks constitute a safety net which diminishes the need for long-term strategic planning. The new elite thus have less need of the ethic of delayed gratification, as thick networks provide contacts and a sense of belonging, no matter what firm or organization one works for. The mass, however, has a thinner network of informal contact and support, and so remains more institution-dependent. It’s sometimes said that the new technology can somewhat correct this inequality, electronic chat rooms and affinity groups supplying the information a young person would need to seize the moment. In the work world, at least at the moment, this is not the case. Face-to-face matters. This is why techies go to so many conventions, and, more consequently, why people working from home, connected to the office only by computer, so often are left out of informal decision gathering and decision making.
In general, the lower down in an organization, the thinner one’s network, the more a person;s survival requires formal strategic thinking, and formal strategic thinking requires a legible social map.
From Richard Sennett’s excellent book, The Culture of the New Capitalism.