Social Behind the Firewall – Part 3: “Two C’s” That Kill Social

July 31, 2014 Comments
Social Behind the Firewall – Part 3: “Two C’s” That Kill Social

Social tools often aren’t widely adopted within more companies.  Why?

In the last post we identified misuse or mis-perception as well as change management burnout as critical factors that prevent wide adoption of social tools.  In this post we add the “two C’s” to the list: competitive landscape and corporate culture.  If not properly addressed, these “two C’s” can kill a healthy adoption of social tools at any company.  However, we are convinced these are not insurmountable barriers.

Competitive Landscape

If the quality of a service offered by a company is highly subjective and the market is intensely competitive, customers will be incentivized to complain about the service for personal gain.  One such example could be a company providing coaching for U.S. graduate school entrance exams (GRE, GMAT, etc) in a rapidly growing emerging market like China with aggressive competitors and demanding customers.  In this case, the flow of information could cause customers to openly question the quality of the services received and the value of the company as a whole.

Corporate Culture

On the other hand, if the corporate cultural contains ridge hierarchy and intense political environments, a premium will be created for hoarding information.  Government agencies with extensive bureaucracy would be good candidates for such a corporate culture.  In addition, private companies with a significant portion of their leadership from cultures with traditionally hierarchical relationship structures – such is often found in Asian countries – also typically foster such corporate cultures.  In either of these scenarios, there is limited motivation to openly share information internally as it will harm the political positioning of the individual or their department.

Fight, Flight or Something More Thoughtful?

Regardless of which of the “Two Cs” you face, a healthy flow of information within your company will be stymied.

It is tempting to over-simplify the solution into one of two categories:

  • Fight: Aggressively push social tools – even if it is against the grain
  • Flight: Get out of such a company or department as soon as you possibly can

However, we are convinced there are more nuanced solutions out there.

So, if social media fight or flight is not an option, what do you do if your are in such a competitive landscape or corporate culture?

Read previous post:
Social Behind the Firewall – Part 2: Two Reasons Social Doesn’t Work

We are not ignorant of the fact that there are times when enterprise social tools are not enthusiastically adopted.  The...