Shifting to net work

[Update: Fixed the images] I have read several pieces recently that talk about a shift from "traditional" forms of doing work or being organized to a "networked" form.  Two of these are the 2012 State of Community Management report from The Community Roundtable and Anne Marie McEwan's discussion of the Learning Workplace. Go read the pieces to see if you see similar things in your mind.

Both of these contain the models that caught my eye.  Maybe it was because I saw both of these in proximity to one another that it sparked a thought for me.  The Community Roundtable has their Community Maturity Model, and Anne Marie McEwan has the Smart Work Framework. I have seen other pictures and discussions of how people and communities work together, and this idea of moving from single-actors and highly structured through a transition and into life in the network is very interesting to me.  Even some of the discussions of Tribal behavior suggests that the highest level of interaction are those where the entire tribe is working together for higher purpose, rather than just for themselves.  In the context of this reading, I hear "network" again.

Where else do you see networks as a stage of maturity or a step in progress of development? What comes after "network" or "hyper-network?"

Community Maturity Model by Community Roundtable
Learning Workplace model by Anne Marie McEwan

[I found the Anne Marie McEwan piece via Harold Jarche.]

2 Comment(s)

Hi Jack

Many thanks for referencing the Smart Work Framework. I did say in my original post that this was a work-in-progress.

I am considering changing the names of my profile categories.

I had not seen the Community Maturity Model. The profile categories I named are derived from an extensive literature review I did for the book that I am writing.

Drawing on a range of literature and research sources, it is obvious that networked collaboration, at an individual and business eco-system level is undoubtedly happening.

Knowledge complexity increases for two reasons: technical knowledge in the networked and hyper-networked becomes more complex, and the social interactions become more complex as integration and communication happens across multiple boundaries.

The reason I am thinking about changing the profile names is because it suggests - or is being interpreted to suggest - that business should be looking to shift to the right. This might be appropriate for some but not for others.

I devised the framework to illustrate contingency. I am suggesting very strongly that businesses with traditional hierarchical management can be high-performing and innovative.

For sectors with distributed supply eco-systems, the learning workplace characteristics are focused on cross-boundary issues - diversity of national, professional and demographic cultures, issues of integration, collaboration, disciplined autonomy (reference Morten Hansen) etc.

But many jobs remain process-focused, place constrained and time-constrained. This would be what I called traditional and emergent learning workplaces.

I do think, as I said in my post, that businesses will in time, as Harold puts it, shift towards the right. For the moment though, process, time and place-constrained jobs remain abundant. They can still be learning workplaces.

As I said, my thinking is a work-in-progress.

@Anne Marie Thanks for the extensive comment. It's a good point to say that companies can do well in any of the operating modes you have described.

The thing about the networked mindset is that there is a belief and some evidence that this can take companies in new directions. I've just started reading _The Elastic Enterprise_, which talks about this to some extent.

One of the things I saw in the "tribes" literature is that there is a connection to performance in that the least functioning of the tribal models is antagonistic, and the highest-functioning is generative. But that the middle models can work - as you say, it requires differing modes of operation.

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