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The Executive's Guide to Enterprise Social Media Strategy: How Social Networks Are Radically Transforming Your Business by David B. Thomas, Mike Barlow

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CHAPTER 2

The New Mode of Production

Without a broadly accepted analytic model to explain these phenomena, we tend to treat them as curiosities, perhaps transient fads, of possible significance in one market segment or another. We should try instead to see them for what they are: a new mode of production emerging in the middle of the most advanced economies in the world.

—Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks

SOCIAL MEDIA, TEAMWORK, AND COLLABORATION

The best argument for social media in the workplace is that it is uniquely suited to enable and elevate one of the key elements of modern business, the team. “A team remains the most flexible and the most powerful unit of performance, learning and change in any organization,” write Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith in their seminal management book, The Wisdom of Teams.

Of the many types of organizational units within a modern business, teams are the most effective for responding quickly to unpredictable changes in rapidly shifting markets. Rigid, top-down corporate hierarchies are dinosaurs; teams are the small, clever mammals who replaced them.

Team performance, according to Katzenbach and Smith, depends on six basics: small size, complementary skills, common purpose, common performance goals, common approach, and mutual accountability. Katzenbach and Smith also list “openness and communication” as important, but not critical, elements of team discipline.

At the risk of picking a fight with two guys who clearly know what they’re ...

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