Among experts who work on the important area of organizational behavior and development, there’s a model for evaluating corporate culture called the Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument (OCAI). A good description of the model and its application is available here.
An interesting evaluation model came out of the OCAI work, called the Competing Values Framework, which establishes two dimensions along which an organization’s culture can be evaluated:
The result is a 2×2 matrix, and the ability to map an organization in a kind of radar plot, based on the degree to which it operates in each quadrant. And example model is shown below.
The four resulting types of organizational culture, shown in each quadrant above, were given names and attributes:
Cultural Dimensions and Social Platforms
From our perspective this framework seems to beg the question: which organizational cultures are best suited to adopting social business networks?
Though we at Convo are naturally oriented toward organizations that adopt a social platform, it’s clear to us from experience that some cultures are less conducive to the value inherent in the more open, collaborative and highly communicative environment that Convo enables.
Stated the other way, some organizations may have a culture that makes it more difficult to adopt a social platform.
Flexibility vs. Control
The dimension that seems to have the most obvious correlation with the value of social business is the flexibility end of the vertical axis. The two upper quadrants have values such as cooperation and communication, on one side, and creativity and innovation on the other. These are clearly where social platforms can add tremendous value.
This is not to say that the two other quadrants – Hierarchy and Market – will be unable to get value out of social platform. It probably means that in those cases, the processes and policies must be more clearly spelled out before the organization will be comfortable with the adoption.
There doesn’t seem to be much written out there that correlates organizational culture and the Competing Values Framework with adaptability to social business, but it seems to be an important consideration.
Making it Work
The bottom line is, as with everything, the key is to “know thyself,” as the ancient Greeks used to say. In this case, it’s important to understand the kind of prevailing culture in your organization before adopting a social media platform.
Some high-level guidance on adopting social business based on your organizational culture:
There’s certainly room for all cultures within the social business environment. But playing to your cultural strengths will increase the odds of success.