The editors of MIT Sloan Management Review are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize, awarded to the authors of the most outstanding MIT SMR article on planned change and organizational development published from fall 2010 to summer 2011.
Rob Cross, Peter Gray, Shirley Cunningham, Mark Showers and Robert Thomas
“The Collaborative Organization: How to Make Employee Networks Really Work”
Fall 2010, Volume 52, Number 2, Reprint 52121
This year’s Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize winner goes to the Fall 2010 MIT SMR article by Rob Cross, Peter Gray, Shirley Cunningham, Mark Showers and Robert Thomas entitled “The Collaborative Organization: How to Make Employee Networks Really Work.”
The authors conclude that senior leaders can reduce collaborative costs and network inefficiencies by understanding the broad patterns of employee interactions and what makes for effective internal employee networks. The technique of network analysis can help senior managers detect structural problems within their organization — such things as hidden logjams that slow the organizational network down or gaps that undermine strategy execution.
This work rests on considerable empirical data detailing various help-and-advise networks in 12 large organizations sampled across industries. Some of these networks display high levels of collaboration while others do not. The differences between them are notable, stark and highly suggestive of several strategically important moves IT managers might undertake to increase collaboration across units in their respective organizations.