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Archive for the ‘Networks’ Category

The Global Superorganism – an evolutionary-cybernetic model of the emerging network society

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The organismic view of society is updated by incorporating concepts from cybernetics, evolutionary  theory, and complex adaptive systems. Global society can be seen as an autopoietic network of self-producing components, and therefore  as a living system or “superorganism”. Miller’s living systems theory suggests a list of  functional components for society’s metabolism and nervous system. Powers’ perceptual control theory suggests a model for a distributed control system implemented through the market mechanism. An analysis of the evolution of complex, networked systems points  to the general trends of increasing efficiency, differentiation and integration. In  society these trends are realized as increasing productivity, decreasing friction, increasing division of labor and outsourcing, and increasing cooperativity, transnational mergers and global institutions. This  is accompanied by increasing functional autonomy of individuals and  organizations and the decline of hierarchies.  The increasing complexity of interactions and instability of certain processes caused by reduced friction necessitate a strengthening of society’s capacity for information processing and control, i.e. its nervous system. This is realized by the creation of an intelligent global computer network, capable of sensing, interpreting, learning, thinking, deciding and initiating  actions: the “global brain”. Individuals are being integrated ever more tightly into  this collective intelligence. Although this image may raise worries  about a totalitarian system that restricts individual initiative,  the superorganism model points in the opposite direction, towards increasing freedom and diversity.  The model further suggests some specific futurological predictions for the coming decades, such as the emergence of an automated distribution network, a computer immune system, and a global consensus about values and standards.

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Written by learningchange

October 21, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Organizational Models For Social Business – VSM and Networks

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In the social business context I consider the most significant approach to be Stafford Beer‘s Viable Systems Model (VSM). The VSM has two central concepts. One is the concept of feedback, which enables an organization to constantly learn and adjust to experience and to new variables in its environment. The other is that the organizational pattern is fractal.

Networks support communication across channels you didn’t predict in advance. They cross any organizational unit you might have defined – even following the VSM. For all these reasons networks are great sources of innovation – and that innovation is emergent.

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Read also: The Viable Systems Model – a guide for co-operatives and federations

Problematizing Problem-Solving Methods for Exploring the Management of Social Enterprises

Written by learningchange

October 6, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Global Action Networks: Creating Our Future Together

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The world’s governments are overwhelmed with climate change, war and unrest, the global financial crisis and poverty but there is a promising invention in Global Action Networks. GANs mobilize resources, bridge divides and promote the long-term deep change and innovation work that is needed to address the global challenges.

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Written by learningchange

October 1, 2012 at 11:31 am

Posted in Action, Networks

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The Hidden Power of Social Networks: Understanding How Work Really Gets Done in Organizations

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In today’s flatter organizations, collaboration in employee networks has become critical to innovation and to both individual and company wide performance. Executives spend millions on new organizational designs, cultural initiatives, and technologies to promote the sharing of knowledge and expertise across functional, hierarchical, and divisional lines. Yet these efforts have achieved disappointing results.

Rob Cross and Andrew Parker argue that’s because most managers have little understanding of how their employees actually interact to get work done. In fact, formal “org charts” fail to reveal the often hidden social networks that truly drive–or hinder–an organization’s performance. In this eye-opening book, Cross and Parker show managers how to find, assess, and support the networks most crucial to competitive success.

Based on their in-depth study of more than sixty informal networks within organizations around the world, Cross and Parker show how managers can implement a wide range of specific and inexpensive actions-from bridging strategically important disconnects in a network to eliminating information “bottlenecks” to recognizing key connectors-that will enhance the powerful impact networks can have on performance and innovation.

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Written by learningchange

September 24, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Networked: The New Social Operating System

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Daily life is connected life, its rhythms driven by endless email pings and responses, the chimes and beeps of continually arriving text messages, tweets and retweets, Facebook updates, pictures and videos to post and discuss. Our perpetual connectedness gives us endless opportunities to be part of the give-and-take of networking.

Some worry that this new environment makes us isolated and lonely. But in Networked, Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman show how the large, loosely knit social circles of networked individuals expand opportunities for learning, problem solving, decision making, and personal interaction. The new social operating system of “networked individualism” liberates us from the restrictions of tightly knit groups; it also requires us to develop networking skills and strategies, work on maintaining ties, and balance multiple overlapping networks. Rainie and Wellman outline the”triple revolution” that has brought on this transformation: the rise of social networking, the capacity of the Internet to empower individuals, and the always-on connectivity of mobile devices. Drawing on extensive evidence, they examine how the move to networked individualism has expanded personal relationships beyond households and neighborhoods; transformed work into less hierarchical, more team-driven enterprises; encouraged individuals to create and share content; and changed the way people obtain information. Rainie and Wellman guide us through the challenges and opportunities of living in the evolving world of networked individuals.

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Written by learningchange

September 24, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Methods and Tools for Collaborative Networked Organizations

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Collaborative Networked Organizations represent one of the most relevant organizational paradigms in industry and services. A large number of developments in recent years have turned Collaborative Networks into a pervasive phenomenon in all socio-economic sectors. The main aim of this book is to provide a comprehensive set of reference materials derived from the results of the ECOLEAD project in one organized volume. The ECOLEAD project, a large 4-year European initiative, involved 28 organizations (from academia, research and industry), from 14 countries (in Europe and Latin America). Three main types of results from ECOLEAD are presented: (i) Conceptual frameworks and models, (ii) Methods and processes, and (iii) Software tools and systems. Furthermore, the experience and lessons learned with a number of large pilot implementations in real-world running networks of enterprises are also included as an indication of the assessment/validation of the project results. Methods and Tools for Collaborative Networked Organizations provides valuable elements for researchers and practitioners involved in the design, implementation, and management of collaborative forms in industry and services.

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Written by learningchange

September 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Net Work: A Practical Guide to Creating and Sustaining Networks at Work and in the World

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Patti Anklam provides a guide for leaders and participants to work within and lead purposeful social networks in the world. Awareness of networks and networked organizations has reached the mainstream of the business publishing world, as evidenced in the increasing number of articles in such publications as the Harvard Business Review and the Sloan Management Review. Many graduate business school programs now teach social network analysis and network theory. Networks exist outside of corporations as well everyone participates in multiple networks, including the informal family, community, work, and their purely social networks of friends. Formal networks include civic organizations like Rotary International, alumni groups, and business and professional groups. The latter have all evolved distinct governance models, norms for joining and participating, legacy databases, membership rolls, and very public identities. There is yet another class of network that is not yet well defined, and for which the norms and governance models are emerging–networks such as inter-company and intra-company learning and collaboration networks;  independent consultants who share common interests and passions who want to remain independent but work collaboratively and consistently with like-minded others. They can be geographically local business networks; web-based virtual learning groups and communities; or global action networks destined to make the world a better place. The purpose of this book is to provide a taxonomy and guidebook to these emergent networks, with a specific focus on helping leaders and participants to create and sustain successful networks. It will address the need for articulating a governance model and norms, selecting and using appropriate tools, and expectations for how the network will grow and change over time.

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Written by learningchange

September 4, 2012 at 12:30 pm

The Unexpected Connection – Serendipity and Human Mediation in Networked Learning

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Major changes on the Web in recent years have contributed to an abundance of information for people to harness in their learning. Emerging technologies have instigated the need for critical literacies to support learners on open online networks in the mastering of critical information gathering during their learning journeys. This paper will argue that  people will have to adapt to using  information in a new way and will advocate the movement by learners into and inside  information streams on open online networks. Their own control and aggregation of information, preferably  through human mediation, should provide information not only relevant to their learning, but also slightly unexpected. We will highlight why this serendipity is important in a learning context and also take three emerging technologies under the loupe; recommenders, RSS and micro-bloggers, and their effectiveness in supporting serendipitous learning on open online networks.

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Written by learningchange

July 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm

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