Another kind of virtual reality is introduced into today's business equation by the nature of the CEO who is willing and able to accommodate Wall Street’s new breed of investor.
Almost by definition, he has to have a certain aptitude for putting on a good show, and be fairly keenly attuned to what people will think and say about his actions. Also, dealing with the disparities between the perceptual world in which he is judged and the literal world in which his company really operates can cause him significant stress.
He may actually be more comfortable if by nature he is—how to put this?—not all that much of a stickler for literal reality to begin with. Or to put it a different way, in today’s corporate environment, a virtual reality CEO, who by nature tends to inhabit a world of images more than one of substance, may not only fill the bill just fine; he may actually be the fittest to survive.
Another influence on the contemporary workplace is that whatever time a CEO spends entertaining the galleries on Wall Street is time that he cannot spend being actually involved with his company. As a result, things that he would otherwise know from participating in the daily affairs of the enterprise now need to be summarized and presented to him. This function is typically performed by his own immediate subordinates.
Once a pattern of a distracted boss needing more "packaged" information is established at the executive level, it tends to propagate itself downward through the organizational hierarchy.
The logic by which it multiplies is all but inexorable: whatever amount of time any manager has to spend presenting and summarizing his unit’s activities to his own manager is time that he cannot spend actually involved with his unit, which creates a knowledge gap that his subordinates have to fill by presenting and summarizing the unit’s activities for him. But the time these subordinates spend presenting and summarizing for him diminishes their direct involvement with their own units, which places a demand on their subordinates to present and summarize information for their benefit, and so on.