Will organizations and companies still be running in the future by 9-5 working schemes? Can the members' or stakeholders' relationship still be organized in formal or even hierarchical patterns? I doubt it. But what are the potentially different ways for organizations to work independently from time and space? The Internet will pay an increasing role on it, whether we like it or not.
In a PEW Internet study, where a survey about the future of the Internet was made, 56% of the partakers agreed with this statement:
2020, well-connected knowledge workers in more-developed nations have willingly eliminated the industrial-age boundaries between work hours and personal time. Outside of formally scheduled activities, work and play are seamlessly integrated in most of these workers’ lives. This is a net-positive for npeople. They blend personal/professional duties wherever they happen to be when they are called upon to perform them—from their homes, the gym, the mall, a library, and possibly even their company’s communal meeting space, which may exist in a new virtual-reality format.
So far most organizations have not realized yet the pervasiveness of the Internet in the everyday work life. It is still seen as the thing (the PC) on the desk, from which one can access information. There information exchange is limited to emails and intranet. Most organizations reside still in an old model of one place at a time, where soon a important large percentage of daily project management will be online. Some organizations do that already and work completely decentralized.
Some organizations went already further and work more decentralized. Such organizations are Euforic (presentation) or, completely remotely, the founder of the Wordpress blog software Automatic or Socialtext. These companies organize themselves almost completely over the web: 1) to collaborate in teams and 2) to engage with the outside world (clients or stakeholders).
What are the consequences of organization and staff?
The location of the staff's office plays a decreasing role.
The separation between private and work life blurs even more.
Working online needs more discipline and transparency because of the limited face-to-face exchange.
Knowledge sharing and learning has to be organized very differently to compensate the little time of direct contact.
Project management needs much more self-determined on clearer project results.
Organizations need to rely much more on external knowledge – a key would be: How to include external knowledge into processes from members, stakeholder or consultants.
Why are small organizations much stronger? Small organizations will have major advantages as they become more flexible, but at the same time they can compete much easier with bigger organizations because:
Big organizations used to have an information advantage. They could often gather the expertise that small organizations cannot offer. Nowadays, a lot of expertise is available on the web offered by more and more people.
Strong membership organizations used to have more political bargain power. Nowadays, small organizations shape ad-hoc alliances with other organizations and are potentially stronger.
Small organizations can keep the transaction cost much lower than bigger organizations, but still can network globally as only big organizations used to do in earlier times.
So how will organizations address these potentials and challenges? This is a blog post series about my experiences on web2.0 in an organization, consisting of at least 26 different blog posts highlighting potentials and challenges and focusing on success factors. Please feel free to comment, contact me for further information and/or let me know which other topics within this context you would be interested on.