Enterprise 2.0 transition

The E20 Meetup in Paris today discussed the role of “Organizational Development” (OD) and “Human Ressource Management” (HR) in the Enterprise 2.0 game play. The discussions focused on how and in what manner OD and HR can support adoption & transformation processes. Bjoern Negelmann was the host.

Jon Husband and I attended via Google Hangout. Others in attendance included some people I know online, such as Thierry deBaillon and Anthony Poncier, as well as many I have yet to meet, like Marc Bramoullé, Gregory LefortClaude Super, and Clemence BJ. It was a good series of deep conversations, mostly conducted in French. Here are my thoughts on some of the questions that were discussed.

What are the obstacles in the Enterprise 2.0 transition?

I have not seen organizations move toward a more social business model without changing management. That may mean reducing the number of managers; empowering people who are customer-facing; or significantly opening up the workflow and making it more transparent. Management is the problem and management is also the solution, if you change it.

Enterprise 2.0 will not fulfill its potential unless its foundation is more than just web technologies or connected businesses. We need to integrate democratic organizing principles into our discussions on Enterprise 2.0 as this is really what it is about,  democratizing the workplace, because in the long run, hyperlinks do subvert hierarchy.

Perhaps the largest obstacle for OD/HR at this time is that few in this field understand the nature of networks. They are mentally trapped in the “org chart/job/role/task” trap. I shared this image by Joachim Stroh to show that “matching roles” is a more network-centric perspective than “filling positions”. This got Jon Husband explaining the +50 year history of HR competency models, their inheherent problems, and how they significantly influence all work in large organizations today.

What is the difference between the adoption & transformation process?

Culture is an emergent property of people working together. Designing a new work system is only part of the solution; it merely sets the stage. Marinating in the resulting complex adaptive system is essential. Monitoring all systems by engaging with them is how we can understand the organization as organism. It cannot be done by managers or OD/HR disconnected from the work being done. It cannot be done from behind a desk. To know the culture, people have to become the culture. One cannot engineer human or organizational performance. [I noticed that the gardener metaphor to explain a new  OD/HR role was used more than once during our discussions]

What is the role of OD & HR within the Enterprise 2.0 transition process?

OD/HR need to connect with the work being done. First hand observation means getting out of the office, where a higher level perspective can help with pattern recognition not possible by those involved in the work. OD/HR should help identify gaps in knowledge networks and play the role of network weavers. They need to model network learning behaviours, such as learning out loud, personal knowledge management, and the narration of work.

What are the OD/HR implications for the Enterprise 2.0 transformation process?

The future will not likely be “HR 2.0″ but rather a new organizational development approach, where learning is integrated into the workflow, and OD/HR is much less directive. Many departments outside OD/HR are already staking this new ground and building their expertise, with social media as an enabler. It is like the Wild West and there may not be a role for those who do not understand and actively participate in the networked workplace. OD/HR may get left on the sidelines with Enterprise 2.0 if they do not engage now.

Update: Here is a newer version of the graphic by Joachim Stroh

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7 Responses to “Enterprise 2.0 transition”

  1. Jon Husband

    There are more and more aware and smart people out there seeing more and more clearly that eventually (as you say) “at some point there HAS to be a 9wholesale) disruption of the old system.

    Yup … we’ll need new and relevant core assumptions about (interconnected) work, the changes to traditional hierarchy, and the ways we ‘manage’ in the new context.

    I’ve suggested in the past (as I believe you know) that OD principles are a pretty darned good candidate for a set of new principles and a coherent framework for “management 2.0″ or “unmanagement” (pick your label). I haven’t yet seen or heard any reasons to change that perspective, IMO.