Organizational culture and social media
Organizational culture typically fits between an open to closed continuum. When it comes to using social media for business; the more open the organizational culture is, the more a company will have the freedom to take advantage of social media and thus the more conducive a social media project will be.
A business leader needs to be a forward-thinker for his/her organization – understanding the growing power of social media and incorporating it into the realm of the organization is key in this age of Internet revolution and evolution.
Bringing social media into an organization however is a much larger process than perhaps usually seen as because it really involves incorporating it into the DNA of an entire organization, which in turn might mean that a certain level of cultural change within the organization will be needed.
Social media is not just an advertising tool for the marketing department. It is a strategic resource and a new dimension to corporate strategy. That is why it needs to come from the top and trickle down into the organization, rather than be solely practiced in a particular department. It is very important for a business leader to set out a clear vision of the goals to achieve via social media, in the perspective of the more general business goals, and make it clear to the entire organization so that all can work within a common vision.
Creating a common language upon which a social media project will be based, is, also, an important process to go through so that those who may have more knowledge on the matter do not dominate those who do not – as everyone needs to be involved in order for the project to succeed.
Mindset is, as well, a crucial element to consider when implementing social media. The cognitive bias that a senior leader or even an employee will have towards social media will greatly affect the direction the project will take. If most people think social media will not support the company’s goals, it will be extremely difficult for the social media project to succeed. Because mindset is, by definition, an individual attitude, it is easier to change in the short-term than the entire organizational culture, through training and incentives for instance. Working on individual mindsets is key however as it will affect the entire culture, which is in essence the aggregation of all mindsets of the people that compose the organization.
The entire organization thus needs to embrace social media so that it can be successful for your business. If a closed, strict cultural environment exists, allowing social media to infiltrate different aspects of company’s operations will be an intricate task.
Culture is hence a crucial component when it comes to social media as it will determine how successful a social media project can be. Opening a company’s culture is perhaps the single most important task to achieve by a business leader in order to implement a social media project successfully.
Banning social media is not a solution any longer, even autocratic political regimes have failed to do so, but using it within a conducive yet regulated cultural framework is the ideal response to the Internet revolution.
Incorporating social media before competitors do is key as it will then be a matter of catching up instead of innovating, and looking at what type of cultural environment your organization is part of is a first step.
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