Organisational communication strategy

How does your organisation work? Does it promote informal communication, blogging and wikis? Do you spend your free time doing most of your research/blogging to help you be a better employee for your organisation?

Do you engage in the community, without backing from your team/department?

There’s some interesting research out there on this particular topic, you’d be right in thinking that Google operates as a type 4 organisation (see below) and that some of the less successful IT companies are type 1 and 2. I’m proud to say that mine is somewhere in between 3 and 4 and hopefully becoming more 4, and given some more time a 5.

Types of organisation (… and typical retention of talent and empowerment profile shown in Figure 1)

  1. Formal organisation
    • Communication top down
    • Communication mediums are controlled top down
  2. Forums, wikis and chat
    • Enablement of online knowledge transfer between workers
    • Efforts to take control of the knowledge capital by structuring top down
  3. Blogging tolerated
    • Value of the voice of the workforce appreciated outside the organisation
    • Blogging code of conduct is defined
  4. Internal social interaction space exists but no funding
    • Internal blogging space supported
    • No official funding for user generated content
    • No top down direction on its use
  5. Social capital integrated into organisation strategy
    • Empowerment of employees is written into company strategy
    • The infrastructure is provided and funded top down.

Figure 1: Empowerment of the employee journey. Adapted from Karen Lawrence, published in BCS ITNOW May 2009

Measuring social capital in the workplace

A way of getting buy in from the owner/CEO/shareholders is to present information as metrics. Lots of metrics are out there, but this is a good basis for a good argument for moving to become a type 5 organisation.

Employee Social Capital (ESC) = Employee * Weighting1
Weighting1 = Knowledge Capital * Linkage * Relationship Building * Information Seeking * Information Sharing
Employee Knowledge Capital (EKC) = Employee competencies * Weighting2
Weighting2 = Intellectual property created * Project specific knowledge * Internal knowledge
Team Social Capital (TSC) = ESC * # team members
Employee worth of Social Capital to Team = ESC / TSC

A team with lots of social capital is going to more successful and content. This is only a taster, and I’ll have to buy the book like everyone else to get the big picture.

Read Karen Lawrence’s book: Virtual Shadows: Your Privacy in the Information Society – I haven’t got a copy myself yet!

Further research in other fields can be found on this topic. A particularly interesting one is an investigation into the correlation of workplace social capital and depression.


You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Organisational communication strategy”

  1. Talk differently « Virtual Shadows Says:

    [...] article is about. It is missing some text and a diagram from the original publication. Although a blogger has tried, and quite successfully managed to capture the essence of the article. Send me an email if [...]

Leave a Reply