Posts Tagged ‘SNA’

T2-2 Mapping Interests and Power Relations among Stakeholders

November 8, 2009

KM for development-oriented organizations (government agencies, non-government organizations or civil society organizations, non-profit foundations, aid or donor agencies, social enterprises, etc.) is more complex than KM for private corporations. In development-oriented organizations, external KM (or KM to serve stakeholders) must consider the multiplicity of stakeholders and external actors, each with their own different or sometimes conflicting interests and agendas, complex power relations, differences in cultural background, different “knowledges” or epistemological assumptions, etc.

A simple way of quickly grasping the differences in interests and power relations among a group is through a sociogram. Below is a sociogram drawn for the members of the Executive Committee of an ad hoc network consisting of local and national government, non-government, private and academic members.

execom sociogram

The sociogram was constructed after interviewing and iterative discussion/refinement of the diagram with a knowledgeable informant who knows and have worked with everybody in the Executive Committee. The sociogram has two dimensions: extent of informal power/influence and position along an issue or policy dimension, in this case environmental beliefs or ideology. Note the following:

  • The members are generally clumped at the high-power, right-leaning end of the diagram. This means somewhat general agreement and power equality.
  • The widest gaps between any two members show the potential conflicts. An actual conflict can be depicted in red. In the figure the widest gap is more horizontal then vertical, which means that the conflict is more along beliefs than along power differentials.
  • The Chairperson (Person #1) and Vice-Chairperson (Person #2) are more-or-less ideologically at the center of the group, which means that they are in a position to mediate or balance the groups “to the left” and “to the right”. The vertical position is informal power. Note that the Chairperson is at the top: he has both formal and informal power. However, there are two members (Persons #6 and #7) who exert slightly more power than the Vice-Chairman, and they are both “rightists”. Hence, if the Vice-Chairman takes over, he may not be able to play the balancing role because two “rightists” may tend to overpower him.
  • The person with the most extreme position in the group, or the farthest away of everybody else is Person #4. She is the head of a network of local civil society organizations. She is somewhat aligned with Person #3. She is always at odds with Person #7 who is represents a private corporation. The power of Person #7 comes from the fact that this corporation is a major funder of the operations of this group.

Can you see now that a simple sociogram can give you that much insight?

In fact, an ordinary organizational chart tells you very little, namely, only the formal reporting relationships. It shows vice presidents at the same level but we know that in reality, vice presidents are never equally close to the president, and they often have unequal informal power or influence. In fact, it can happen that the secretary to the president is more powerful than any of the vice presidents! Ha ha!

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Emerging Indigo Practices

May 28, 2009

From previous blogs, I tried to show that major world problems stem from our lack of knowledge in the indigo quadrant (lower left quadrant in the diagram below):

groupings-with-label1

When two long-term societal megatrends are combined, we discover (see “Q27- Combining Megatrends #1 and #2: the next societal innovations”) that the next significant societal innovations are expected in the indigo quadrant. In my contribution to the book “The Future of Innovation” (to be published by Gower in the autumn of 2009), entitled “The Future of Innovation Must Be Sought in Non-Technological Spheres” I wrote, in part:

    “Mankind has demonstrated that its ability to technologically innovate is far greater than its ability to anticipate, learn and solve the negative social consequences of those innovations…

    Innovation in the future will be driven by common threats confronting mankind. Ironically, most of those threats are man-made. Innovation will proceed in the general direction of preventing and resolving conflicts, governance at all levels, advancing human rights and human security, cross-border agreements in preventing and fighting crime and terrorism, eliminating social exclusions and other social ills that lead to poverty, generating consensus on environmental problems and solutions, and value creation.”

In the specific area of KM, this means that tools, technologies and practices for effectively managing relationship capital would be important. Below is a list of such KM tools (reproduced from a previous blog post: “Practical Hint #17: Tools for Managing Relationship Capital”):

  • Social Network Analysis (SNA), sociogram or stakeholder analysis: Maps and analyzes frequencies of communication, teammate preferences, perceived closeness of interpersonal relationships, degree of agreement/disagreement, etc. between people in a group, organization or network
  • Team building and team learning exercises
  • Setting up a cross-functional KM Team
  • Customer relations management, business development, account management, or business partnership management: Management of relationships with customers, suppliers, partners, etc.
  • Customer clubs and e-communities: strengthens a company’s communication and relationship with customers, allows customers to participate in product improvement or R&D, makes some customers feel special by receiving advanced news or product prototypes, etc.
  • “Customer ba”: Part of the task of some Japanese customer relations managers is to create an affirmative, trusting and creative “relationship space” between himself and the customer.
  • MBTI, Belvin types and other psychological profiling tests: Assessing potential for complementarity and good mix of thinking and working styles among prospective team members
  • Various tools in brand management and marketing which enhance reputation and credibility of the company
  • Various HR/OD tools to enhance employee loyalty and morale: recognitions, honors and awards; policies that allow appropriate decision-making to employees; CEOs that listen e.g. allow direct emails from employees; facilities that show the company cares e.g. day-care facilities within company premises for young children of mother-employees, etc.
  • Group exercise in mind mapping: Allows members to see and better understand the assumptions of other fellow members
  • Professional and personal profiles of staff, Expertise Directory, company White Pages: Facilitates staff in getting to know each other and each other’s skills, expertise and talents
  • Face-to-face meetings and SN functionalities among e-community or e-CoP members: Mutual trust in a virtual CoP or e-community is best nurtured through face-to-face meetings, and through appropriate social network functionalities in the website of the CoP
  • Visioning exercise: Co-creating and contributing to an organization’s vision tend to enhance buy-in and engagement of members in programs, projects and activities aimed at the vision of the organization.
  • Negotiation: collaborative/integrative negotiation training, skills development (thanks to Peter Spence), and related tools in conflict management
  • Leadership (thanks to Peter Spence): one that knows and appreciates many of the above.

Accordingly, I have decided that the next blog series will be on “Indigo Learning Practices.” We will call it the L Series.

Cheers!

(Note that there are embedded links in this blog post. They show up as colored text. While pressing “Ctrl” click on any link to create a new tab to reach the websites pointed to.)

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Practical Hint #17: Tools for Managing Relationship Capital

March 24, 2009

Here are some tools for managing relationship capital. Notice that because KM overlaps with IT, HRD, OD, CRM and QM, many tools are common across these fields.

  • Social Network Analysis (SNA), sociogram or stakeholder analysis: Maps and analyzes frequencies of communication, teammate preferences, perceived closeness of interpersonal relationships, degree of agreement/disagreement, etc. between people in a group, organization or network
  • Team building and team learning exercises
  • Setting up a cross-functional KM Team
  • Customer relations management, business development, account management, or business partnership management: Management of relationships with customers, suppliers, partners, etc.
  • Customer clubs and e-communities: strengthens a company’s communication and relationship with customers, allows customers to participate in product improvement or R&D, makes some customers feel special by receiving advanced news or product prototypes, etc.
  • “Customer ba”: Part of the task of some Japanese customer relations managers is to create an affirmative, trusting and creative “relationship space” between himself and the customer.
  • MBTI, Belvin types and other psychological profiling tests: Assessing potential for complementarity and good mix of thinking and working styles among prospective team members
  • Various tools in brand management and marketing which enhance reputation and credibility of the company
  • Various HR/OD tools to enhance employee loyalty and morale: recognitions, honors and awards; policies that allow appropriate decision-making to employees; CEOs that listen e.g. allow direct emails from employees; facilities that show the company cares e.g. day-care facilities within company premises for young children of mother-employees, etc.
  • Group exercise in mind mapping: Allows members to see and better understand the assumptions of other fellow members
  • Professional and personal profiles of staff, Expertise Directory, company White Pages: Facilitates staff in getting to know each other and each other’s skills, expertise and talents
  • Face-to-face meetings and SN functionalities among e-community or e-CoP members: Mutual trust in a virtual CoP or e-community is best nurtured through face-to-face meetings, and through appropriate social network functionalities in the website of the CoP
  • Visioning exercise: Co-creating and contributing to an organization’s vision tend to enhance buy-in and engagement of members in programs, projects and activities aimed at the vision of the organization.
  • Negotiation: collaborative/integrative negotiation training, skills development (thanks to Peter Spence), and related tools in conflict management
  • Leadership (thanks to Peter Spence), such as “bridging leadership” and leadership that appreciates and applies many of the above.
  • Technologies for building or enabling trust (e.g. TrustEnablement by Alex Todd)

Please add other tools that I missed (kindly use the Comment link).

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