Social engagement : from internal to external

self-organizationThis post is part of a longer article published in a white paper (in french) dedicated to collaborative enterprise trends and sponsored by box. I don’t publish here the definition of collaboration and state of collaboration inside enteprise which was the beginning of the article.

New organization and engagement

We are no longer in the era of Taylorism, where each one performs a task repeatedly (at least among white collar). Today, the added value is based on autonomy, creativity, innovation and agility. Employees must be commited in their company, not just to put in an appearance. However, many studies show that 70 % of employees are disengaged from their business. There is a need of reversing the management to change this mindset . But, many companies are not start-ups and can’t ignore their own history (the benefit of start-ups is that they start from a blank page) by making a clean sweep of the past. Everyone is a prisoner of its history and its culture. This does not mean that nothing can change, moreover, companies in history have demonstrated their ability to adapt, but the copycat of a model is particularly not productive. At this moment, particularly in the media, Zappos holacratie model has the wind in its sails . The idea is to have a fractal mode organization where teams are self-organized and are no longer under the supervision of a manager. Basically, more or less on the model of the human body where cells respond independently but are linked together to form a coherent whole.

In my humble opinion, before speaking organization (even if this one suits me well ) we should talk about culture and management. Otherwise, it comes quickly to empty shells. Or otherwise, under the guise of participatory, it goes to a leader, which, if he is not hierarchical, would be the one the most invest and would be a technocrat. Without mention the model of charismatic leadership. But can we completely emancipate models leaders described by Max Weber ? This is another question. This self-management model and empowerment can be a nightmare for employees. Social pressure is not better living, perhaps even worse, than managerial pressure. In addition, no manager position, does not mean absence of management. As in power games, which will be set up at different  level for each group, in compensation for the lack of rules imposed. This means engagement  of each one to build together, rules and control process within the group. So, we return to the previously mentioned engagement. As one of bases of self-organization resulting from this type of model, is engagement. This type of organizational model on paper works fine, but takes time to function in daily life smoothly. So these are the power relations that need to be redifined to allow engagement of each one. But then again, rightly, that weakens the company in these uncertain and shift time. But is it not the symbol that we are entering in an era of constant change ? It’s mainly another factor, that it will be difficult for companies not to change their model.

Impact of the external on internal organization

If companies can doubt on the internal side of collaboration, they don’t about impact of social networks on sales. If, for a long time, an internship was in charge of this task, more and more dedicated teams within companies exist. But again, the scalability of these modes of collaboration shows that resource requirements are becoming increasingly important. So, the establishment of an ambassador program becomes more and more significant. But this new situation, can not succeed without an overhaul of silos, process and existing modes of management within organizations. Indeed, a simple reproduction of the « press release  » or voice of corporate communication, could be at best ineffective and at worst, counterproductive. Because it goes against the web culture and external stakeholders can easily criticize companies trying to mimic the modes of operation that are unconcerned by them.

In contrast, think that the internal ambassadors will mobilize themselves and operate without any form of organization is equally illusory. Today, in many cases, an employee has more to lose by being collaborative and engage in this way, rather than preserve the old way. So without a clear sign of the enterprise, the establishment of governance, and a support program and the commitment of the top management, it seems difficult to achieve a real change. Here again, the main themes mentioned above, leading to new forms of interactivity, which are too often far from leaders interest and understanding, and who just see the foam of the waves without actually measuring the ins and outs . But this emergency should require companies to take up the subject.

Rather than focus on the recent literature on social media, perhaps, should rather go back to classics of management like Druker or sociology like Michel Foucault. After all, this is what we are talking about. The relationship between individuals and the paradigm of a certain domination reaches its limits in society and in the world of the enterprise. This is a « new » model of leadership that is emerging in which the concept of community can not be absent.