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The Social Organization: How to Use Social Media to Tap the Collective Genius of Your Customers and Employees [Kindle Edition]

Anthony J. Bradley , Mark P. McDonald
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

As a leader, it's your job to extract maximum talent, energy, knowledge, and innovation from your customers and employees. But how?

In The Social Organization, two of Gartner's lead analysts strongly advocate exploiting social technology. The authors share insights from their study of successes and failures at more than four hundred organizations that have used social technologies to foster—and capitalize on—customers’ and employees’ collective efforts.

But the new social technology landscape isn’t about the technology. It’s about building communities, fostering new ways of collaborating, and guiding these efforts to achieve a purpose. To that end, the authors identify the core disciplines managers must master to translate community collaboration into otherwise impossible results:

Vision: defining a compelling vision of progress toward a highly collaborative organization.
Strategy: taking community collaboration from risky and random success to measurable business value.
Purpose: rallying people around a clear purpose, not just providing technology.
Launch: creating a collaborative environment and gaining adoption.
Guide: participating in and influencing communities without stifling collaboration.
Adapt: responding creatively to change in order to better support community collaboration.

The Social Organization highlights the benefits and challenges of using social technology to tap the power of people, revealing what managers must do to make collaboration a source of enduring competitive advantage.

Editorial Reviews


“If you are planning to launch a collaboration initiative, have a quick read of this book to make sure you have thought through everything you need to do and get it right first time.” — BCS, the Chartered Institute of IT

“The book includes useful examples of companies that have transformed themselves into “social organisations.” — CPO Agenda

“Shows how to turn ad hoc collaboration into a disciplined strategy to achieve key business goals.” — Engineering and Technology

One of the best books to help your team is The Social Organization: How to Use Social Media to Tap the Collective Genius of Your Customers and Employees. It covers the best ideas for managing employees and customers through social media. Authors Anthony Bradley and Mark P. McDonald, group vice presidents at Gartner Research, crafted a thoughtful book.” – Small Business Trends

"Bradley and McDonald practically present the process of becoming a social organization where employees, customers, suppliers, and all other stakeholders are direct participants in the creation of value." – T+D magazine, The American Society Society for Training & Development (ASTD)

Featured on the CIO Insight 2011 Fall Reading List.

About the Author

Anthony J. Bradley is a group vice president in Gartner Research. His responsibilities include advising clients on the enterprise employment of social media and social software solutions. Mark P. McDonald is a group vice president and head of research in Gartner Executive Programs, working with executives on the business application of information technology.

Product Details

  • File Size: 766 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (September 27, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005MJC6TM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #506,789 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Social media / collaboration is a `cool' topic but has lacked `business credibility', this book changes the game.

I've read mountains of commentary and research on the potential of `social', this book synthesizes the best of that down into a compelling business case, action plan and guidance - a clear Call to Action for every manager.

`The Social Organization' presents an exciting vision, opportunity and challenge to implement a better organizational model and increase employees' contribution. Not to underestimate the scope and effort required, the book addresses real world implementation issues and game changing benefits that make action compelling.

This book is different, in that the theory is combined with practical plans and scenarios that address the real world issues we all face with IMPLEMENTATION - culture, org. maturity and politics. It is the blueprint for you to Sponsor change.

`Must Read' book for every CEO, CIO and employee who wants their business to have a future performing at a higher level. I foresee Managers prepared to embrace the challenge will look back on this book as a turning point in their creation of a new high performing business. Those managers will grasp the message of this book that management and employees can both improve their performance, business results and job satisfaction by engaging people's natural social dimension on specific issues. The book recognizes `mass collaboration' is not a silver bullet or universal approach, but a necessary management capability we must to add to our organizations.

Read this book before your boss does, or your employees.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Organizations as collaborators ... not just groups November 29, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Organizations know they need social media to get their communities collaborating, but how to do it? Much has been written about the technology of blogs, wikis, forums, etc. and how the future of the Web--already here--is dialogue rather than one-way messaging. But what makes The Social Organization interesting and somewhat unique is its concentration on community-building across an organization and not just with single, standalone groups. It avoids considering collaboration as an office politics issue but instead considers the value of collaboration in accomplishing business objectives.

In combination with other things I've read, the book shows that you have to pay attention to three things simultaneously. You need:
1. A group dynamics focus to help individual groups to be successful in their individual initiatives.
2. A technology focus to provide the right platform and applications that motivate participation.
3. And what this book points out -- an organizational focus on how all of those groups solve problems in tandem to empower employees and customers who want--and increasingly demand--to be heard.

For me, the high point of the book was its discussion of purpose and the idea that a group's purpose evolves as the community and its individual members grow and encounter new opportunities. Bradley blogged that Facebook strives to keep people in touch, Wikipedia to build an online encyclopedia, and LinkedIn to do career networking. These purposes sound so obvious and so easy to identify, but when growing your own communities such purposes take a long time to emerge. If it were easy, everyone would have collaborative cultures rather than the 10% the authors claim.

With books like The Social Organization it should get easier to see what motivates successful collaboration and give companies and institutions a better roadmap for engaging their people.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear path to capitalizing on mass collaboration October 18, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The Social Organization by Gartner analysts Anthony Bradley and Mark McDonald is a groundbreaking business book that's a must-read for any executive--not just marketing types. The authors lay out a clear path to sustainable high-value mass collaboration initiatives. They illustrate how dozens of organizations have done social media/collaboration right and how any organization without such a program is going to quickly wither. The book lays out rationale for such efforts including collective intelligence, interest cultivation, relationship leverage; and the many interwoven keys to mass collaboration sustainability.

Also standout are the sections on how to purpose-build mass collaboration initiatives, manage risks, and what are the requisite technology capabilities depending upon purpose. In addition, the authors' 6-Fs attitudinal model also helps explain motivations from a participant (user) perspective, thereby enabling collaboration managers to guide participation uptake.

Social media isn't just for kids anymore, and this book is a clear guide for any organization (big or small) to reap its rewards.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I agree with Anthony Bradley and Mark McDonald that leaders in many (most?) organizations incorrectly assume that success with social media is fundamentally a matter of effective technology implementation. That is important, of course, but the primary challenge is to leadership and management to create "mass collaboration that [in turn] gives organizations unique capabilities to create value for customers, employees, and stakeholders." Without effective leadership and management, initiatives will fail. Those who doubt that are urged to read Morten Hansen's latest book, Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Create Unity, and Reap Big. Only through an open and inclusive collaborative process can the use of social media enable any organization to "tap the collective genius" of its stakeholder constituencies.

Within 11 chapters and then an Epilogue, Bradley and McDonald provide an abundance of information, insights, and counsel that will help leaders in almost any organization (whatever its size and nature may be) to achieve separate but interdependent strategic objectives that include these:

o Define a compelling vision that inspires and energizes everyone involved
o Formulate a strategy that will guide and inform initiatives that have measurable impact
o Communicate and nourish a clear purpose that everyone supports
o Create or strengthen an environment within which everyone is actively and productively engaged
o Provide enlightened supervision within a structure that nourishes innovative thinking
o Meanwhile, remain flexible and resilient to accommodate change in a timely and effective manner

Bradley and McDonald seem to address all of the "what" involved with achieving these and other objectives.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars It's not cooked spaghetti
"Enterprise social networks will become the primary communication channels for noticing, deciding or acting on information relevant to carrying out work," the consulting company... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Charles Thrasher
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
This book is a must read if you are using social media in your organization or work. I have already started to apply some of its concepts and strategies.. It's an easy read. Read more
Published on December 9, 2012 by R2D2
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, non-hype, non-product-specific education for getting...
Great book on the social organization. It doesn't hype it, doesn't mention specific products. It explains the social tools in the enterprise, how to think about implementing social... Read more
Published on March 21, 2012 by Karl Mochel
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't forget the customers!
Full of buzzwords and weighing in on what I thought was surprisingly more of employee interaction than of customers (although theoretically there is some overlap in the social... Read more
Published on February 17, 2012 by Ike
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for the business leader and entrepreneur.
The social Organization is a must read for the business leader in order to understand how mass collaboration can benefit your business if implemented properly. Read more
Published on October 15, 2011 by penslayer
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book to help drive deep progress in your social endeavour
We all desperately need more books like The Social Organisation, because they will help save growth challenged western economies. Read more
Published on October 15, 2011 by Wfiver
5.0 out of 5 stars Where anarchic social media meets corporate conservatism
Interesting and well crafted insights on the social media phenomenon and what is means to corporates looking to understand its opportunities and threats. Read more
Published on October 14, 2011 by Paul V
5.0 out of 5 stars The How-To of Social Media
This book couldn't have come along at a better time for me. I am currently in the process of implementing social media into a company/industry where there was no existing... Read more
Published on October 11, 2011 by BA
5.0 out of 5 stars Understandable, enlightening, compelling, and practical
I'm not a techie so I liked and appreciated that this book is targeted to business professionals. I found the book enlightening and surprisingly easy to understand. Read more
Published on October 9, 2011 by Tilingos Flores
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