New standards & Old Culture

In Enterprise2.0 on September 6, 2010 by nickejones Tagged: , , ,

About Micro-blogging

More and more tools are tossed into organisations with little consideration of the deliverables. The ideology of these tools in work context is that they can create better communication, network and provide an information infrastructure that is not possible in traditional work place email or organisational archiving. One of the goals of micro-blogging is to create a conversation that in is not fragmented and easily accessible. It promotes a message with greater context and value as an informational artifact. Informational artifacts (meetings, a memo or emails) will continue to remain important in enterprise communication but they fail be truly establish an effective information system as information is in disarray from each other.

Considering a micro-blog as an information system whereby the message is a part of an array of relevant information, users are able to submit opinions that could influence the discussion beyond the platform and into the artifact information system. It also supports accessibility of information to stakeholders, and reduces the constant strain employees have with email fragmentation.

Studies on Micro-blogging and emails

To further emphasis the email bog-down that experienced by people Fuser released a study of over 1000 people finding that internet users spend at least seven hours a week managing their emails. This raises the question of what tasks are consuming the time spent in the email and how many of these tasks are repeated or unnecessary? The best measurable outcome for an organisational micro-blogging system is the time that is saves in emails. If the time spent managing emails can be reduced through micro-blogging it can be justified. But is this the only way to measure success? According to a study by Cody et all (2010) employees sending a message or asking a questions on via a micro-blog created a less formal and more convenient channel of communication. This is a less tangible benefit but can have direct improvements on productivity.  A further result from the study compared Yammer and twitter from the perspective of work related and personal use. Higher personal engagement was experience on Twitter rather then Yammer, and Yammer had a high percentage of user discussions where on the platform related topics indicating a process of discussing and negotiating workplace concerns in this context.

Problems that occur

There are some common issues that micro-bloggers have with the integration of platforms in the workspace. It is clear that everyone has his or her own criteria on how to use it. Hierarchical boundaries may play a key role in the exchange of information. This is a potential problem for micro-blogging as there are no standards for participants. Furthermore, to create specific standards and policies is to restrict the creativity, flexibility, and enjoyment of the exercise and thus reducing its value as an informational artifact. Observing the activities of micro-blogging could also help understand the organisational culture from divisional or from entire organisational viewpoint.  It is very likely that some organisational cultures are hesitant to use this form of information exchange due to its informal and vertical communication characteristics.

Time productivity is the one of the goals of micro-blogging but what could be a consequence of various standards for user interaction could equate into a loss of purpose, and therefore lower productivity levels. The problem of this is that restriction could make the platform unattractive to employees but no standards could make the system information disjointed and time consuming.

Successful adoption

To make it a information system successful the standards should represent the organisational culture. This is the best way to ensure participation. This requires employee to represent their requirements on how they believe the system could be useful. In the study on successful integration of enterprise web 2.0 tools by MckInsey (2008), the most successful tools that where implemented were not by the IT department but by the business divisions themselves. This clearly represents the failure of understanding requires of the key stakeholders in the implementation process but also represents culture of business divisions. Their culture is better understood by the business divisions and strongly influences the successfulness of adoption. So next time the IT department recommends a new tool or micro-blogging platform, make sure that their analysis and directive meets the expectations. If the right model of adoption and platform suitability has been analysis, it is likely the platform will be a success and reduce the email bog-down experienced by employees. Finally, creating new and supportive information artifacts could have great benefits for the company. Upholding excellent knowledge sharing among the organisation and its divisions, provides a competitive advantage for an organisation and brings to light new and exciting possibility for organiational dynamics.

Yammer is a popular micro-blogging tool that has been successful in orgnaisations. Watch the CEO of Yammer discuss why he thinks micro-blogging works in business operations by clicking below.

–Mckinsey (2008). Building the Web 2.0 Enterprise. Goble survey Results

–Cody, J. Qu, Y. Wu, Y. Zhang, J. (2010). A Case Study of Micro-blogging in the Enterprise: Use Value, and Related Issues.


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