There has been a surge of passionate debate and discussion about “social business” and related topics. Over on the ReadWriteEnterprise, they make a brief attack on ‘management’ and argue that none of this is new – there is lots of interesting reading to follow up if you have the time.
However, I think RWE and others are working from an assumption that everyone who talks about ‘social business’ (or what ever you want to call it) is working from a blank sheet. Nothing could be further from the truth.
For example, there is a great series of posts (essays?) by ThoughtFarmer’s Gordon Ross describing the history of mechanistic versus organic thinking and social intranets. I can see many common influences here, but even Gordon’s reading list is incomplete (and that isn’t a criticism). You can check out more book reviews and past recommended reading lists here and here on my old blog. Again, none of this is exhaustive.
One of my posts that I would like to highlight in particular is Social Business Design as a metaphor. Social Business Design simply puts a name on a particular way of how we go about understanding the world around us, in particular one that is being changed by Internet technologies and social software in our very recent living memory (as opposed to the world that Taylor and others from earlier generation of management inhabited). From this perspective you either believe that some level of change is happening or you don’t. If you believe it, do you want to try and take advantage of this fact? The choice is yours.
BTW The image above is from a set of Connected Company visuals that Dave Gray has released under a creative commons license.
Image credit: Time to re-org the org Dave Gray & Dachis Group CC-BY-2.0