Friday 3 April 2009

Is too much collaboration counterproductive?

Here is an interesting article from Rob Cross and two Accenture guys. The headline paragraph is that "Informal networks can play a pivotal role in how organizational decisions are framed and executed. But they can also result in too much collaboration—the kind of lengthy and expensive decision making that can cost companies dearly in missed opportunities". The study looks at an organisation where decision making is stifled by excessive networking and consultation, and where an anlysis of decision making networks and social networks allowed a better structure to be put in place. Personally, I think this is a very interesting look at the difference between informal networking, and managed networking. The former can actually hamper things, and a bit of structure and pruning speeds things up very well. Their conclusion is that "A network perspective—a clear understanding of how informal collaboration networks actually work—can rectify that unproductive approach. It can help leaders ensure that decision-making interactions deep within an organization are efficiently supporting strategic objectives".

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