This lack of clear overarching structure can result in information confusion, duplication and internal competitive behaviors. Given the many organizational structure models different companies employ – flat, matrix, lattice, team, network, virtual and the hierarchical bureaucracy most people immediately associate with ‘business’ – the skeleton types analogy is very broad. We may be talking about huge mammals or tiny ones…
If you don’t have a clear idea of the overall shape and structure of the business you are inside it is very hard for an individual to contribute and innovate outside your immediate surroundings, and if information isn’t flowing through well organized veins we are starved of contextual information.
The concept of a form of ’sociocracy’, where employees and participants participate in decision making by consent, has been fashionable in 2.0 technology circles. The reality is that career middle managers will protect their hierarchical position – or ideally improve on it – by quietly pouring weed killer on grass roots adoption of this type of thinking, even if it is validated by executive level sponsorship.
Despite this reality, this type of thinking is often a ‘feel good’ sales component when pitching enabling technologies. If you’re inside a company you’ve probably been propositioned about the wonders of a modern ’social’ address book with lots of user contributed information along with the wonders of wikis and forums for disseminating and updating centralized information.