Mapping Employee Collaboration – 2/3/09
A mapping technique, called social-network analysis, is increasingly being used by corporations to understand how their workers communicate with each other. Under the rather simple method, employees are each asked who they turn to for help. A map is then drawn revealing dark patches around employees who work closely with others and lighter areas where there’s little interaction.
According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, companies are using such mapping techniques to understand weak points in internal networking activities. It also promises to help identify “unheralded stars” as it has been shown that the best collaborators in organizations aren’t discovered in performance reviews.
The article states that collaboration efficiency has become more important as workers are spread across the globe.
Discussion questions: What are the best ways for managers to encourage employees to collaborate with each other? What do you think of the potential for mapping techniques around social-network analysis for organizations?
My experience shows that “mapping” of employee behaviors is extremely limiting in drawing conclusions about employee communication tendencies. The real issues lie in two areas:
First, a cohesive company vision or lack thereof determines the important behaviors of leaders and therefore impacts employee behaviors. A scattered vision creates scattered leaders, which creates employees with erratic communication habits.
Second, and more importantly, people are who they are. If an employee is naturally collaborative, they will create the networks and means to communicate that they need – whether or not the company puts in programs and systems to facilitate that behavior. Likewise, an employee who is unsocial or quiet will not take advantage of company systems.
Tools like “social-network analysis” are brilliant sounding products that consultants can sell to companies that lack a cohesive vision and/or fail to hire employees who naturally collaborate.
Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! TM strategist
Go to the full discussion at RetailWire.com:
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