Effective social networks encourage group cohesion, time savings due to the proliferation and sharing of valuable knowledge across organizational boundaries, and occasionally breakthroughs from effective collaboration; they also undermine seniority and hierarchy, and can lead to loss of control over organizational intellectual property. To ensure that organizations reaps benefits from the time employees invest socializing, sharing information, and interacting through social networks, they must decide first decide what they hope to achieve, and must then decide which behaviors to encourage and to reward in order to achieve their goals.
Before an organization can determine how to deploy social networks to enhance productivity, it needs to understand how social networks affect productivity, organizational performance, and the behavior of individual employees; this will allow it to assess the tradeoffs involved in improving some aspects of productivity while perhaps losing control over other elements of employee behavior.
Cutter will help your firm determine how employees are using social networks now and the tools they are relying on, refine your strategy to ensure it supports company objectives, and devise a plan so that employees transition to company tools and adopt them in a way that guarantees bottom line benefits.
The research approach employed Cutter involves performing a detailed assessment, identifying the tools, platforms, and systems employees are employing, what they are using social networks to accomplish, to what extent they are leveraging social networks to achieve corporate goals versus individual or personal objectives, how much they are relying on networks that are internal to their employer, and to what extent they are using general purpose networks available to the broader community, such as Facebook or MySpace. Also evaluated is how online networks correspond with email networks and with the recorded structure of work groups, how they cross organizational boundaries, and to what extent do they appear to be thinner or less complete, with linkages present elsewhere but missing in online social networks.
- Social networking maps that show what employees currently do with online social networks and with whom are they interacting, as well as how online social networking interactions compare to the other social network structures that exist within the organization.
- Strategy and plan for achieving the firm's social networking goals.