Monday, 28 February 2011

Social Business Revolution

Social Business (R)evolution

by Martijn Linssen


The current world is abuzz about Social. Social networks, social media, Social Business: all things social. People, Twitterati and even a small number of companies embrace the diverse ideas and notions of Social, trying to sell and implement them

That movement is a natural counter reaction to the events that have occurred over the last centuries: industrialisation and automation has allowed industries, companies and societies to grow beyond belief

Where in the 1600’s the Dutch East India company was the largest private company in the world with 50,000 employees[1], nowadays a company like Walmart has 2,000,000 employees, and there are hundreds of companies around the world with more than 100,000 employees: the top 50 of the Global 500, sorted by number of employees, ends at 256,000 for Daimler[2]

Countries have equally super structured themselves: around 1600 China had 120 million inhabitants, and the whole of Europe 78 million[3]. Today, China counts 1,300 million inhabitants, and Europe 730 million

Countries and continents increased tenfold in terms of population, companies forty-fold: unbelievable edifices of organisation have become required to uphold them. Hierarchy, a seemingly endlessly scalable organisation form with one man and a Board of Directors, or a King or Queen and Parliament at the top, and the final product- or customer-facing employee, or person, at the bottom, many levels down

On the other hand, people have become much smaller organised on their own level: family size has imploded over the last centuries[4]. Where there used to live 3 generations or more within one household, that now is usually one or two. The average number of children per household has also declined from an estimated 5 in the Middle Ages[5] to 2.5 now

The distance between the two different parts of the equation has thus increased over time. Every-day society and company size grew larger and larger, while the direct and daily circle of close relatives grew smaller and smaller.

Like a rubber band this contrast has been stretched and stretched, and now seems to be snapping back. There is a call for Socialisation where the organising form is wirearchy[6]: horizontal networks over vertical pyramids

There are three kinds of Social: Social media like Twitter and Facebook, social networks that have explosively increased in size due to these media, and Social Business (Design). Whereas Social Business design is coined by Dachis[7], the term Social Business is now more generally embraced after Enterprise 2.0 – a highly tool-centric focus- has become less appealing over the years

... (click the book cover for the full PDF)


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