From Anthony Bradley and Mark McDonald at Harvard Busi­ness: News flash — Orga­ni­za­tions consist of people. How well an orga­ni­za­tion works depends on how its people interact and work together. Thus, every orga­ni­za­tion is “social.” But so what? How do we make use of this universal fact?

Orga­ni­za­tions work top down through social inter­ac­tions struc­tured around the orga­ni­za­tion chart, or hier­archy. And they work end to end struc­tured around their busi­ness processes. These two dimen­sions — hier­archy and process — shape the way orga­ni­za­tions see the world, its chal­lenges and, more impor­tantly, the port­folio of poten­tial solu­tions to those chal­lenges. There is nothing wrong with hier­archy or process. They are effec­tive orga­ni­za­tional approaches to managing complex oper­a­tions.

But there is a crucial third dimen­sion to orga­ni­za­tional effec­tive­ness. We see this when people get things done by working in the so-called “white space” in the orga­ni­za­tional struc­ture, or by working across the “seams” of a busi­ness process. In their ways of working and connecting with each other, they do more than just what they are told top-down and more than what is defined as their job. This is the social dimen­sion. · Go to All orga­ni­za­tions are social, but few are social orga­ni­za­tions →