Through the growing field of Social Business Design, organizations are being asked to take a hard look at how decisions are made internally and why. Jeff Dachis is one of the leading voices in this area: http://bit.ly/social_business_design
Organizational structure is a central topic of conversation by Jeremiah Owyang, as he describes 5 ways large entities are structured and the value in each of these. Owyang leans toward the Hub and Spoke model as being optimal for entities entering social business: http://bit.ly/hub_and_spoke_owyang
When one looks at decision-makers WITHIN the organization, there are two initial levels. At the C-Suite level, programs are being approved to meet stakeholder expectations and deliver results needed/desired/assumed.
At the next level down, there is a debate (at the core) between objectivists (who believe something exists only to the extent that it can be verified through independent observation) and subjectivists (who say that social phenomenon would be unobservable if not for our capacity to experience and communicate intersubjectively…how we know (epistemology) influences what can be known, thus shaping one’s ontological assumptions about what exists).
Generally, it seems that Objectivists start with ontology, believing something exists ONLY to the extent that it can be verified through independent, unbiased observation. Subjectivists seem to put greater emphasis on epistemological assumptions, believing there are MANY phenomena that would be unknowable using the methods designed by and for objectivists. These include thoughts, feelings and social processes that are impossible to perceive with the five senses alone.
The BEST social business people are matchmakers, weaving the ethos of the Objectivist AND the Subjectivist together.
Interdisciplinary programs are core to this “matchmaking”. Organizations need BOTH objectivist and subjectivist! The machine certainly does a lot for us AND the human IS the last mile. (See Tim O’Reilly speaking here on the importance of the humans as the last mile in the field of business intelligence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhgoAxXRLPQ).
THE BOTTOM LINE FOR ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERS: This debate MUST become a dance, a love affair, where the benefits of quantitative and qualitative approaches compliment one another. Nowhere is this more evident than in the actual nitty gritty work of Socializers (Community Managers) communicating within social networks AND then delivering results to Bean Counters. Content-Marketing BASED upon solid Business Intelligence is a critical slice of the pie in this regard. In other terms, it’s about combining the best of Gartner (http://www.gartner.com) with the best of Copyblogger (http://www.copyblogger.com/content-marketing/).