Mutterings of a consultant

June 2, 2008

Does power really go to the people?

Filed under: worklife — grantfrear @ 2:00 am
Tags: , , ,

We all have an ability to voice our views through blogs, facebook and various other web2.0 mechanisms.  This ability is however restricted (if that is the right word) to the public domain.  Very few of us have the ability and permission to engage in a similar way within the organisations within which we work.  While arguably the social domain is more interesting than the enterprise domain it seems that enterprises are missing out on a great deal.  

This was the recent topic of a post by Andrew McAfee from Harvard Business School.  He was invited to discuss management challenges and positioned this issue at the centre of the issues that he sees.  For those who have not heard of Andrew McAfee he coined the term Enterprise 2.0 and is the leading thinker in adapting Web2.0 and applying it within an enterprise.  

He makes a very good point about the use of Web2.0 within enterprises.  It does not transfer decision rights, the management team are still responsible for the decisions and management of the organisation.  In this way management power does not go to the people.  What these tools can do is connect the management to the people and to harness the enthusiasm and commitment of the people for the benefit of both the organisation and the individual.

Most organisations persist in one-way communications (top down) with a slight interruption in the form of management 360 degree feedback surveys.  Enterprise-discourse (the enterprise equivalent to social discourse) is left to the lunch room and coffee breaks.  As such it very rarely makes it to the attention of management.  The net result: lost ideas, disaffected staff, disconnected management.

Enterprise2.0 is not about handing the keys over to the team, rather a more positive and inclusive way of engaging the team.  Lets hope that today’s leaders can recognise this and have the strength to embrace it.

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