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Web 2.0 vs. Traditional Management June 25, 2006

Posted by Matsu in Information Technology, Management, Open Source, Software, Technology, Web, Weblog.

The June 19, 2006 edition of BusinessWeek magazine has several articles about technology. One particularly interesting article was about Web 2.0 and its potential role within corporations and for developing for-profit services.

A mostly non-technical definition of Web 2.0 for business managers (as defined by BusinessWeek) can be found here. And, for more I.T. oriented people, you can read a more technical and complete description of Web 2.0 here.

One of the more interesting observations made by BusinessWeek magazine relates to the impact that Web 2.0 could have on corporate management. They said…

"…the nature of these services will challenge the command-and-control mindset of the corporation, already in the throes of tech-driven transformations such as globalization and outsourcing. Web 2.0 could flatten a raft of organizational boundaries—between managers and employees and between the company and its partners and customers."

BusinessWeek Magazine, June 19, 2006, page 58

Looking at the affect of Web 2.0 technologies like blogging and wiki servers have had on my own I.T. department I can see how some old school managers who are used to total control of all subordinates' actions would strongly resist this new 'flattening' technology where everyone is equal. The source of resistance by most people who are faced with opportunities to use Web 2.0 technologies can have roots in the loss of control over what's said and done by others. That includes employees blogging and corporate wiki sites where employees and customers can write anything they like.

Managers must be willing to release the control over others in order to reap the benefits of a very dynamic and highly participatory environment. Some managers will find it far too risky to use Web 2.0 technologies, while others will find the risk worth the potential rewards in developing new models for communication, collaboration, and strengthening relationships within the organization and outside the organization with customers.

Change takes time, and moving some managers to Web 2.0 technologies may take a very long time.



1. rockwatching - June 26, 2006

Just like some managers, some people will not be ready for the freedom either. I suppose it depends on the type of employeees you have. I would hate to see how some people would service their company when unsupervised.

2. Matsu - June 26, 2006

rockwatching – that’s an interesting perspective. You make a great point. I suppose that over time as corporate culture and policies get formed both managers and employees will know what’s expected and mostly play nicely (or at least try not to violate policies).

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