Cultural change and conflict on Twitter

A.D. Shortly after joining Twitter in 2019, Denley Davis gathered his staff at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco. Twitter was great, he told the team, and he was there to change.

Davis, the company’s new vice president of design, asked the staff to walk around the room, praising and criticizing each other. Strong criticism will help improve Twitter, he said. The barbs soon flew away. During the two-hour meeting, many in attendance cried, including three.

Davis, 43, has played a key role in his efforts to revitalize Twitter over the past two years. The company has been building products for a long time, and has been under investigation by investors and consumer executives – the Twitter collaboration has been improved, and employees have refused to criticize each other. Davis believes the company was one answer to that problem.

The ensuing turmoil illustrates the misunderstandings and conflicts that arise when companies try to make drastic changes and put pressure on managers with strong noses to bring about that change.

Because of his blurred posture, Davis repeatedly clashed with staff. The treatment of employees was the subject of several investigations on Twitter and complaints from CEO Jack Dorsey that many people had left.

Company officials realized that Davis was sometimes too far away, and he promised to ease the way he criticized people. But they did not apologize and even gave him a higher position. They say that dissatisfaction with staff is sometimes the result of tremors.

“This is really a change in the culture of Twitter that we are trying to drive,” said Jennifer Christie, Twitter’s head of human resources.

Davis, a former Facebook and Netflix executive, now reports directly to Dorsey, the company’s chief design officer. When he was hired, he was told to re-invent the Twitter design team and make it more diverse. His work has been seen as a model for other Twitter executives, and the company believes his departmental differences have improved. Twitter reports diversity statistics every year, but does not delete numbers for certain parts of the company.

“This was a reversal role, and that means changes in staff, changes in our work, how we work together,” Davis recently said.

He talked extensively with his staff about the challenges he faced as a black and Korean man in the technology industry, and he was praised for his design work. He has intensified his efforts to clean up the conversation on Twitter, including questions that encourage him to walk through new media, such as audio tweets and conversations, and read articles before sharing.

But Davis’ leadership style was a bold change for staff on Twitter, where they often don’t pay the usual astronomical salary on other social media outfits. Instead, the company tried to attract employees with a hashtag called #Houth Where to Find Love. Fourteen current and former Twitter employees, who are not allowed to speak in public, spoke unusually to the New York Times over the past two years about working with Davis and the changes he has brought to the workplace.

As Twitter executives move to the scary version of their company, the tension is not limited to the design department and the neighboring research team. Workers are sometimes bitter, and they complain.

We find groups that report “We are worried about the future.” They talk about fear or psychological well-being.

Conflicts on Twitter have been echoed by other technology companies, where executives have a strong line with employees who are used to managing workplaces. Coinbase, a cryptocurrency company launched this year, has banned political discussions at work and provided exit packages for employees who disagree with the rules. And this month, Google will face trial before an administrative law judge, and the National Labor Relations Board has fired employees who objected to company decisions.

“Any change in the blues is risky,” says Robert Sutton, professor of organization at Stanford University.

It replaces traditional railway workers and sometimes causes financial instability, he said. “Is there always a balance – do we do it with social media and a strong culture or do we take action against money and people?”

Although some Twitter designer workers were upset at the meeting, Davis said many were grateful for the feedback.

“We are kind to each other,” he said. But being good means that you can say no to what you are told to do.

Davis told his staff that he was pushing for improved performance, and that he quickly criticized, downgraded, or cut employees. When the workers left, he and other managers sometimes followed up with emails to poor workers.

Many workers feared that they would be next. Davis, who manages 200 people, said it was important to provide critical feedback, but sometimes blamed staff who criticized him, staff said.

Others, however, believed that Davis’ changes were necessary for Twitter’s survival. According to one employee, the company had to be strengthened. A.D. By the end of 2019, complaints had been lodged with Twitter’s Labor Relations Unit, which investigates labor issues. The unit looked at allegations that Davis had created a culture of fear. One of his main concerns was his biased attitude toward another executive.

The comments came during a meeting by Liz Ferral-Nung, who heads the Twitter research team, about her concerns about diversity on Twitter and her experience as a woman. Three people familiar with the investigation say Davis will wear white if she wears Israeli American Ferral-Nung sunglasses.

A.D. Ferral-Nung, who left Twitter in 2020, declined to comment. Following the publication of this article, a Twitter spokesman said the company had no complaints about the incident.

Twitter users who know the show say they expect better than Davis because it’s not clear about diversity. While others have made little effort on diversity issues, white executives have been slowed down and defended his record on differences.


Leave a Comment