MAD Perspectives Blog

{tag_postlist,1}
 Adjusting your Organization Structure with Digital Media

Peggy Dau - Monday, February 01, 2010

So you’re thinking about jumping on the Enterprise 2.0 bandwagon.  You’re not only thinking about incorporating social networking into your marketing plan, you are thinking about how Web 2.0 and social networking platforms can facilitate the way you do business.  You may be thinking about enhancing your customer support capabilities through customer support forums.   Or, you may be considering how you can create an internal social network to simplify the ways employees connect, collaborate and communicate with each other.  Or, you may be considering a plethora of other ways that you can enhance the way your business works.

If you believe that Web 2.0 tools and platforms can help your business, you are right!  However, be prepared to invest the necessary time to build a strategy and consider the organizational impact.  OK, now you’re thinking, am I biting off more than I can chew?  No!  It’s only that in many ways implementing these solutions can change the way your current business processes work.  In fact, it can streamline many of them.  This is why it is important to think about how these solutions may change existing formal or informal organizational structures and processes.

The organizations that we work within have evolved based on number of norms.  These norms are institutional, social, community and individual.  They informally define how we process information and interact with others.  They are the underlying factors that drive the structure of an organization   Look at the differences between how Baby Boomers and Gen Y work, learn and motivate:

 

Baby Boomer (born:  1946- 1964)

Gen Y (born: 1978-1994)

Work Style

Time management

Multi-tasking

Learning Style

Instruction

Experience

Collaboration

Collaborative

Independent (resists collaboration)

Motivations

Independence

Competition

View on Authority

Respect for others is earned

Respect for Authority

Structure

De-centralized, non-hierarchical

Centralized, hierarchical

Information Access

Access for all

Access to those in power

   Source:  http://ekarine.org/wp-admin/pub/IAMOT_DN_2008.pdf

Today, much of corporate America reflects organizational structure and business processes that reflect the influence of the Baby Boomer mindset.  However, with the increasing adoption of digital media solutions which inherently broaden communication, increase collaboration and expand employee connectivity, traditional structures will need to adapt.  There has been much talk within the Fortune 100-500 in the past decade about the Adaptive Enterprise.  This term was coined by Stephan H. Haeckel in his 1999 book the Adaptive Enterprise.  Much of Haeckel’s theory resonates today when speaking of sense and respond organization.  However, have organizations really adopted employee empowerment,  de-centralized hierarchy and open communication, only to retrench to what is familiar and comfortable.

Digital Media, through its use of video, instant messaging or chat and blogging, increases the capacity for any company to quickly understand shifting market trends, customer concerns, product adoption, technology innovation and more.  When moving forward with digital media solutions think about the impact on your information systems, organization culture, communication practices, employee abilities and reward structures. 

The knowledge you can gain as a business and as an employee is increases dramatically when using social networks.  As the saying goes, “knowledge is power”.  Think about how to engage to gain beneficial insights and how this will shift the conversations in your business.  How will it impact your organizational structure?  How will it provide process improvement?  How will it improve employee productivity?

What’s your perspective?