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I am interested in exploring how workplaces are actually changing (not the hype). This blog is my place for thinking out loud about what I see happening - or not happening.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The months feel like they are zipping past at warp-speed. Scary.

The image for this post is of a shop window in a vintage clothes shop off Carnaby St in London. My other half and I must be a bit odd - we love taking pictures of shop dummies and have quite a collection.

Anyway, to the serious stuff. This blog is intended to take the pulse of how enterprises are adapting to rapid changes in the operating environment. I have not really started on that yet, apart from commenting in earlier posts on mass bannings of access to social networking sites by a large number of UK businesses. I suppose my recent posts have been an attempt to lay some foundations for the analysis that will unfold in future posts.

Linear blog posts do not lend themselves to adeqate descriptions of dynamic, complex, inter-related concepts. I claimed in an earlier post that I was going to create a simple picture to map the core elements that make up and influence organisational dynamics. Here it is - ta-ra! I have a reason for mapping my interpretation of what constitutes Smart Working - more of which in a later post.

The eminent sociologist Manuel Castells says "we are not in the information or knowledge society, at least no more than we have been in in other historical periods." His view is that the emergence of 'a new technological paradigm' is responsible for "a new social structure - powered social networks".

He concludes that "we must let the notion of an information society or of a knowledge society wither, and replace it with the concept of the network society".

Although Castells is talking more generally about wider societal structures, it has always been the case that business enterprises are at core inter-related networks of human relationships. Businesses attempt to mediate, influence and control these networked, relationship dynamics through the imposition of formal systems, which are designed to impose behavioural order and achieve strategic performance objectives.

In my view, the phenomenon of social networking reminds us that organisational entitites are essentially dynamic networks of complex, adaptive systems. Which is why I think Weick provides such strong thought leadership in understanding how organisations work.

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