John Rollwagen, chairman and chief executive officer of Cray Research Inc., a $170-million computer manufacturer based in Minneapolis, has something in common with, of all people, Ernest Hemingway. He does paperwork in the same manner that Hemingway is said to have pecked out his prose: standing up.

Rollwagen, whose company has appeared five times on the INC. 100 list of the fastest-growing public companies in America, runs Cray's operations from a stand-up desk, a type of workspace that has become a minor fad among chief executives. Why does he do it? "I find sitting in a chair all day very uncomfortable and restraining," answers the restless Rollwagen. "It makes me feel trapped. Pacing around helps me think."