Can Social Networks Solve the Great Dilemma?
One of the greatest challenges to any large or distributed organization is that people work in silos. They focus on their specific group or task and are astonishingly ignorant of other groups that are contributing toward the same goal. The results of silos can range from annoying to disastrous. This is not just a symptom of geography but is very much human nature.
All manner of things have been tried to change management and processes to overcome the silo trap. None have really worked. Almost all of these have been driven from the top down.
Social networks may be the answer. I say "may" because I've yet to see a sustainable example of silo busting through social networking. The reason I believe they may be the answer is two-fold. First, social networks can work from the bottom up. They allow the people actually doing the work to connect in an informal manner instead of through some artificially contrived process. Secondly, social networks appeal to a different aspect of human nature - the desire to rebel a little. Going across silos to a colleague at an equal level in an organization and doing "what feels right" in spite of official processes is often the best answer to busting silos while being fun and empowering.
If you have an example of a social network that has successfully broken down entrenched silos, please share it. I believe this is the golden bullet that will bring social networks into the forefront of organizational management.
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