[Remember that even though I work for IBM I am an individual with my own thoughts and ideas. Anything I write here may not necessarily represent the views of the IBM Corporation or its partners... though I'm hoping that's only a matter of time before they catch up.]
As I participate in the W3C Social Business Jam, I'm going to put out little flurries of thought about topics as they strike me. Maybe they'll get you thinking too.
The first one comes from a post from Mark Weitzel suggesting that the Org Chart is dead... that the current modes of communication, driven by social tools has blurred and even broken the clear, hierarchical lines of a business organization as people look up down and sideways for expertise to solve problems. I've certainly experienced some of this myself.
Is this change disruptive to business or will it help drive us into the future? There are ideas on both sides. Sometimes that chart works to our advantage. It makes sure that ideas and work get some vetting before they work themselves up and out to the public. On the other hand, that vetting can stifle creativity and introduce sluggishness that prevents a business from taking advantage of opportunity.
How does all of this reflect on people's expectations? I know as a customer I like to feel that the person I am talking to has the full authority to help me with everything that I need. I get nervous when things have to escalate and often feel like I'm being played by the system, to see if I'm really serious about getting help. However, within my business I like to know that if someone gives me a policy to follow that they really are the right authority and that I won't later be discovered to have broken some rule or created an unnecessary problem.
Clearly roles are changing and the resource lines may become more interconnected. It could be a revolution which changes everything for the better. It may throw a number of people into chaos who have grown to depend on strong guidance for what they do. It could also take a toll on accountability. Who is in charge of the crowd? How do we know?