In a previous post, I discussed tactics you can leverage in Enterprise 2.0 initiatives to increase the likelihood of user adoption. In this post, I want to focus on a significant mistake organizations make when rolling out E2.0 capabilities: confusing personal and corporate motivations for participating in social technology-based interactions, and failing to focus on the cultural aspects of workplace change. This ultimately results in overly optimistic expectations for organic adoption, and underinvestment in the organizational change necessary to be successful.
So, why do people participate in Social Media in the public space? As a result of our ongoing research into public-facing social technologies, Acquity Group has identified four (4) common motivations for participation:
• Peer Group Interaction: the ability to share relevant information within an interest-bound community;
• Social Status: enhancement or maintenance of social positioning relative to a defined peer group;
• Personal Efficiency: reduction in individual effort required to interact with a peer group;
• Entertainment: social media technologies are generally designed to be enjoyable to use.
As we look at the primary motivations we’ve identified for personal use, it doesn’t take long to identify parallels that are meaningful to an enterprise, as the following table demonstrates:
|Personal Motivations – Why people use social technologies at home.||Corporate Motivations – Why enterprises want employees to use social technologies at work.|
|Peer Group Interaction
“by using social technologies, I can better keep up with my friends.”
“use of social technologies will enable employees to better collaborate within their teams.”
“by using social technologies, I will enhance my social position.”
“use of social technologies will enable efficient location of expertise within our organization.”
“by using social technologies, I can easily contribute to activities I find worthwhile.”
“use of social technologies will enable employees to be more productive in their individual roles.”
“by using social technologies, I can have fun.”
“employees will find their work more fulfilling as a result of social technologies.”
This is an intuitive mapping for most organizations, and gets business leaders excited about the potential for social technologies to transform a business. The problem is one of false equivalence: just because an employee uses Facebook on company time to maintain their social status does not mean that the same employee will update their “Corporate Facebook” page to make themselves more visible to others in your enterprise. Why not? Organizational culture gets in the way.
I recently worked with a global professional services firm who was stuck at a very low level of adoption (< 20% of their target population was active) for their “Corporate Facebook” deployment. If you were looking just at the technology, you’d have no idea why the adoption rate was so low; they’d done an outstanding job with the design and technical implementation. But, once you started digging into the organizational culture, it was easy to see why usage wasn’t higher. Their primary audience (consultants) didn’t want more exposure (i.e., resource visibility)—they were struggling to keep up with the workload generated from their local network, and the incentive structure didn’t reward broader visibility.
The same perspective applies to each of the corporate motivations identified (above). They all have strong cultural dimensions that have to be considered in order to make Enterprise 2.0 technologies successful. The employee moderating a Wikipedia entry on a subject of interest to your business may never visit your internal wiki. If your organizational culture doesn’t value and incentivize worker productivity and effective workgroup interaction, she’s probably not.
As you pilot your Enterprise 2.0 solutions (yes, you should pilot), be sure you understand what assumptions you’re making about personal vs. corporate motivations. Then, take an unbiased look at your organizational culture to ensure that it’s capable of supporting the transformation you’re seeking to achieve.