Home' Independence : Independence Vol 36 No 2 Oct 2011 Contents TECHNOLOGY
Impact on work practice
As technical infrastructures within
organisations mature, we will
see a greater degree of workplace
democratisation take place.
Technology is already driving
flatter management structures, a
greater focus on collaboration, and
increased participation in knowledge
sharing and decision making.
Organisational structures are, on average,
25 per cent flatter than they were 20 years
ago.3 The nature of work has changed
with the rise of knowledge-based work.
For example, project work, which is
non-routine in nature, has increased
40-fold over the last 20 years, making
collaboration and teamwork more
important than ever.4
Social media technologies can be
particularly influential across
organisations. They create less hierarchy,
improve knowledge sharing, increase
the speed at which knowledge flows,
and build greater connections between
people, organisations and specialisations.
A recent survey by McKinsey found that
companies using Web 2.0 technologies
gained greater market share and higher
margins.5 This study further showed
nine out of 10 organisations who were
using Web 2.0 technologies to connect
employees had greater engagement and
Having clear objectives is an important
element to successfully using social media
tools in the workplace. Encouraging
and motivating participation by using
incentive systems, analytics and a
feedback mechanism is also important.
Incentive systems should be designed
to drive collaboration and encourage
individuals to get closer to the goal that
has been set. These systems should also be
transparent and staff should have a clear
understanding of how they work.
Non-financial incentives are generally
geared towards helping participants build
their social capital and personal goals.
Awarding recognition and status based
on a participant’s contributions and
qualifications is something that is growing
in acceptance and popularity. Some
networks aim to motivate by building a
sense of belonging or via recognition.
While employee opinion surveys have
been around for a long time, social media
provide increased opportunities to collect
more immediate data. Staff engagement
can be measured and tracked like never
The ability to collect data on employee
engagement and track this across staff
satisfaction measures helps to give leaders
a well-rounded view of what’s working
and what’s not in workplace practice.
Results and momentum can be achieved
in much shorter time frames due to the
instantaneous nature of social media. It is
also common for organisations that use
180- and 360-degree feedback to plan
for the collection of data in intervals of
six to 12 months. Social media provides
the opportunity to do this with more
frequency and immediacy.
Monitoring how developments are
progressing over time is crucial.
Organisations are dynamic and
circumstances change, so leaders need
to respond to issues as they arise.
Monitoring responses is important to
determine if people feel supported, that
their contributions are valued and they
feel like something is progressing.
Changing organisational culture takes
time. The consistency and frequency
of communication is important but
perhaps the single most important aspect
is demonstrating the behaviours that
support the vision. Executives and leaders
are the people in organisations that have
the most influence. The behaviours they
exhibit are the ones that will dominate an
organisation’s culture. These behaviours
need to be consistent with the vision and
fully align with the organisation’s strategy.
Communicating the vision is one of the
most dynamic ways leaders can use social
Kathy Phelan is the founder and director of
social media company Small World Social
and a co-founder and Managing Director of
the Social Media Education Group, a social
media training company. Kathy has advised
Australian federal and state governments on
technology and communication policy and
provided digital strategies and online services
to a range of Australian and international
corporations. For further information about
the Social Media Education Group visit www.
The Social Media Education Group is facilitating
the practical learning component of AHISA’s
Social Media Forum, ‘The Complexities of Social
Media, Kids and the Classroom’, Brisbane, 17
1 Thomas, D.B. and Barlow, M. (2011) The
executive’s guide to enterprise social media
strategy: How social networks are radically
transforming your business. New Jersey: John
Wiley & Sons.
2 Mitchell, M. (2011) @ASTA online social
media survey. Australian Science Teachers
Association. Retrieved 19 August 2011, from
3 Benko, C., Anderson, M. and Vickberg, S.
(2011) The corporate lattice: A strategic re-
sponse to the changing world of work. Deloitte.
Retrieved 19 August 2011, from http://www.
4 Benko et al, ibid.
5 Bughin, J. and Chui, M. (2010) The rise of the
networked enterprise: Web 2.0 finds its payday.
McKinsey Global Institute. Retrieved 19 August
2011, from https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/
Independence Vol 36 No 2 Oct 11 43
Links Archive Independence Vol 37 No 1 May 2012 Independence Vol 36 No 1 May 2011 Navigation Previous Page Next Page