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Semiotics as a sign of things to come and things that have come

There is such a thing as a semiotic view of culture. Practitioners of semiotics sharpen their awareness of how people construe the world through what they refer to as “signs,” not merely by means of verbal and written clues but also by reference to objects from everyday life. These ideas came from a selection in the New York Review of Books, Jan. 11, 2007 at 32.

When a law department changes its dress code to casual, a semiotician would take note (See my post of Oct. 22, 2005 on dress codes.). When most lawyers are assigned offices of the same size, there is another sign, another reference to culture and values (See my post of Feb. 20 and Nov. 8, 2005 on cubicles in law departments.). People in law departments take note of who sits near whom at meetings. Posters and pictures in offices tell semiotic tales.

Lawyers love and rely on words, but semiotics teaches managers of law departments also to pay attention to artifacts and behaviors in the department. They are all signs and clues to its culture, morale, teamwork and productivity.