social businesses – the sociability of what?

I’ve recently come across a number of posts on the concept of the “social business” such as here as a social networks/ interactionist/ collaborative view of the firm (rather than as the more-than-profit organisation). It reminds me of the notion of informal coalitions or the shadow organisation, or “it ain’t what, its who you know” ideas. The sociability aspect appears to be highlighted and escalated by social media in and through the organisation. It seems to me to be a useful perspective for understanding operationalising the concept of the knowledge based firm and make the learning organisation realisable by highlighting the flows of connectivity and knowledge and information across organisations and networks.

The concept does raise a number of questions – of interest to me at least:

  • what is the organisation as locus of activity? What is the relationship between the individual, her network and her as an individual and do the boundaries matter any more? In otherwords, who do workers identify with, what does employee engagement mean if value is generated by engaging with the network rather than the organisation as such?
  • what do we mean by the workplace?
  • what does empowerment mean and what alternative forms of power relations are emerging?
  • can all organisations be social?

Fascinating stuff – lots of posts on social learning as well so I hope to have more to say on this in due course.

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