Yesterday during lunch I was chatting with a colleague about collaboration and the importance of the vision, but of the organization chart too. You can set up any kind of social platform, if you don’t align your organization (and of course the business process as well) you’ll fail. Let see that in more details how it can works.
Yesterday Dion Hinchcliffe has retweeted discussions about that too
Usually your enterprise is an organization where decisions are delegated. Means a pyramidal structure. This classic model, described by Henry Mintzberg has more or less 5 components:
- The Top management, responsible for defining the strategy and objectives and impose them in authoritarian manner.
- The chain of command responsible for transmitting and ensure the implementation of these objectives.
- Operational base, which executes the decisions taken at the summit.
- Technostructure responsible for developing and enforcing standards that govern the organization and procedures and work processes.
- The logistics unit, which provides the means to achieve the objectives.
In traditionnal organizations the power is distributed among the various actors described above as follows:
- Legitimate power is held by the management
- Positional power is held by the hierarchy
- The capability power is held by the logistics unit
- The power of influence is held by the techno
This model has shown the limits of its effectiveness for the following reasons:
- Management is often disconnected from ground realities.
- Hierarchy, an intermediary between the power source and the performers, experiences a significant frustration that causes rivalry between peers.
- The operational base is subject to a multitude of authorities and merely runs. This leads to a complete inhibition of creativity and robotization « disempowering. »
- Technostructure needs to recognize his expertise and impose standards. His power comes from his expertise, not its position.
- The unit gets the supply means and seeks to negotiate everything all in « give and take »
This model is partially/totally incompatible with the culture of Social Business/Enterprise 2.0. Indeed, the strategic vision and objectives of the organization are defined by the top and imposed an authoritarian manner. However, this constraint helps to significantly reduce the individual risk-taking and innovation. Meanwhile, the cooperation is generally imposed and working methods and logistics and rivalries generated by the hierarchical system creates conflict and competition. Despite these findings, the pyramid model does not totally exist. Actors compensate the deficiencies of the system with « corrective » practices and create an « adhocracy » system with ad hoc teams formed, combining the skills needed to solve a given problem.
This type of behavior tends towards the usage of a social culture, however, it is limited the creativity, agility and prevents it from spreading to the whole organization. The pyramidal system tolerates marginal these forms of cooperation, when they do not really disturbing the hierarchical organization. That’s why part of the answer is in the implementation of a social organization or enterprise 2.0
Social enterprise or Enterprise 2.0
In contrast of the traditionnal model of the organization, it’s a network structure in which information technology and communication is a powerful tool.
Identity and community
This social form of organization is based on the notions of identity of actors and multi-communities. The organization is built with individual actors and less on a pyramid model.
Each player builds its uniqueness through its membership in multiple communities. The individual thus exerts several functions (if they are align on the business process) within the organization and brings to the group, creativity that organization needs. And enterprise social network facilitates belonging to multiple communities.
Power and hierarchy role
Legitimate power was held by the management is no longer fully legitimate. All actors are autonomous and shared responsibility for projects in which they participate, they are beyond the hierarchical pressure. Thus, the overall objective is the sum of individual objectives (then the pressure still exist if you want to reach your goal, the social one). It’s more or less the management model develop at Morning star or part of the one at HCL Technologies Ltd
Each player takes into account the strategies of its peers at a business, territory, or the entire company, which is made possible by collaborative tools. Digital workplace expands the space and reduces the time : everyone has a vision of the business actions of others employees and has indicators on its own action real time. Thus the meaning of the action is obvious to all and becomes more coherent with the overall strategy.
The role of the manager necessarily evolves in this type of organization. The manager becomes the catalyst of potential conflicts, the harmonization and a team leader. He must find a new legitimacy, a legitimacy ground rather than position.
The space is now open to critical, tensions must be expressed to be evacuated. It is in this sense that the manager must learn to abandon its role as organizer to make way for the facilitator. He became the conductor: its performance depends entirely on that of its team. It can be evaluated as compared to the group that he leads.
Conditions for success
The establishment of a collaborative organization can be successful at four conditions:
- Confidence : It is not built only through the image we refer others, but projecting into the future and by measuring its ability to achieve self-set goals. This means being able to develop self-management tools.
- Respect for others. It is a question of maintaining a degree of doubt in all circumstances (« the one who is incompetent never doubt himself) and learn to listen to those around us.
- Give confidence to others. It is set up in active communication which defines and exposes its singularity. The current communication tools multiplies the possibilities for implementing this communication and foster creativity.
- Business : if this new organization is not business oriented, it won’t produce added value. At best a fluidification of the information streams and of some processes. At worse chaos.
Of course this organization model is not THE organization model. It’s just an illustration, cause you don’t begin from scratch and your existing culture is very important. It means you need a strong leardership at the top to support that kind of project. You have to build your own model, and more important the way you’re going to build it will influence the final result.