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Social Business: Flat or Hierarchical? A Surprising Answer

Gerald C. (Jerry) Kane: The most effective social businesses may start to look more like organizations that long predate modern corporations — so-called “loosely coupled” organizations such as military, education and religious institutions.

“Social media represents an enormous opportunity for most organizations, particularly knowledge-intensive ones. While marketing applications of social media are getting the most attention today, the greater impact may come from applications internal to the organization. The McKinsey Global Institute, for instance, estimates that social media is poised to unlock $1.3 trillion of economic value, mostly through the improved efficiency of knowledge workers. Despite this considerable potential, I suspect that most organizations will have significant difficulties leveraging social media for internal collaboration. This suspicion is borne out by Gartner research, which touts a very high failure percentage for internal initiatives. The reason: strategy is too often stuck at the executive level.”

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