Time to replace command-and-control

Through B L Ochman’s  blog, I learned about a new report on social media adoption by website usability pioneer Jakob Nielsen which says major corporations often take three to five years to incorporate collaboration tools into their intranets – but once they do, and once they change their command and control corporate culture, positive change is likely to result.

As I have written previously, Nielsen says companies that don’t bring social media technologies into their enterprise also risk losing talented workers – especially younger ones (the so-called Generation Y), for whom open communication, collaboration and content generation are standard tools in their personal lives.

Ochman highlights Nielsen’s thoughts on the need to change corporate cultures, to create communities rather than rely on command-and-control approaches. I also used the latter term in my opening presentation to the Be2camp unconference in Birmingham last week (see full Slideshare deck), where I contrasted old-style approaches to communications with the emerging style enabled by Web 2.0 tools and techniques, applying this to PR and marketing too:

At Be2camp Brum, I explained that organisations could no longer rely on a top-down or cascade approach to communications with their audiences or publics. The emerging paradigm is one in which multiple dialogues take place. Business people talk to customers who talk back to the business people (B2C2B); B2B communications now increasingly involve dialogues with individuals/influencers/intermediaries (B2i2B – the ‘i’ can stand for several constituencies), and many customers, consumers or community members are now able to talk direct to other customers, etc (C2C), sharing ideas without – in many cases – directly involving the businesses (or, in internal communications situations, the bosses) they might be talking about.

I will be discussing these themes further when I talk to the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Construction Interest Group (CIMCIG) in London on 10 September 2009 (details here).

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