|Networks, Complexity, and Relatedness
Inquiry and learning into social networks, organizational network analysis, and the relationships among people and systems in complex organizations and networks.
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Monday, June 25, 2007
Connectivity Trumps Productivity: The Online Social Life of Stowe Boyd
We went down to the Boston waterfront last week to check out the exhibits and see a few talks at Enterprise 2.0 (formerly called the collaborative technologies conference). We apparently missed some awesome keynotes, which are fortunately all available on the site. The exhibit space was very cramped and unpleasant, so we pretty much skipped it. But I did get to catch up with a few folks -- Jessica Lipnack and Jeff Stamps, Geoff Bock, and Stowe Boyd.
Patti, two books I've read recently touch on some of these thoughts, and may interest you and your readers--"x-Teams" by Deborah Ancona and Henrik Bresman talk about how to create high-functioning teams, and developing numerous, strong connections within and outside the company is a key. "Smart World" by Richard Ogle gets into some social network theory in describing how creative breakthroughs happen. I liked both books a lot and would be interested in your reaction. (I actually have an extra copy of "Smart World"--if you're interested, email me your address and I'll send it to you.)
A study in the early 90s sought to find out why some AT&T engineers were more successful than others, even after education and experience were equalized. The study concluded that the successful engineers built their personal networks before they needed them. That way, not only did they know who knew what, but they'd already established trust and communications channels.
(I read a hardcopy version of the study about 10 years ago. If anyone could point me to an online version, I'd be most grateful.)
Karl, I think the article you are referring to is Kelley, R. & Caplan, J., “How Bell Labs creates star performers” in Harvard Business Review (July-August 1993, HBSP). I only have hardcopy myself (and have had this same copy since the early 90s!). Thanks for reminding me about this piece of its content.
John, I can't email you because I can't see who you are. Thanks for the link to Ancona. Her research in teams (again, stuff from the early 90s) reflects much of what we know today about the role of boundary crossers in organizational networks. I am not familiar with Ogle's work.
Hi, Patti, I had left the comment above. I wrongly assumed blogger would transmit my entire profile when I made my comment! I posted on my blog a reference to this post today as well. Hope all is well with you.
Thanks for the lead. I'd been searching for AT&T, not Bell Labs. [Insert rant about how badly Google and other search engines handle non-alphanumerical characters.]
For $6.50, we can buy a PDF or hard copy version of the study: http://tinyurl.com/2zs6so. For an extra $4.50, you can get permission to make copies.
Of course, Ron Burt has been saying this for years as have other social network researchers. Arent Greve also did some reserach on this, looking at the importance of human capital and social capital. Most come to the conclusion that you get the best return on your human capital by maximizing your social capital. BTW, maximaizing your social capital is not just quantity... but, you know that.Post a Comment