Business Networks

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What Managers Really Think About Social Business

Given that technology-based social networking has been transforming social norms for the past decade, will social networking and social software have a similarly transformative effect on business? Are they already doing so? How are enterprises benefiting? MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte asked thousands of managers about how their companies are using social media tools — and how important those tools are becoming to their organizations. Here’s what they said.

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How Business Education Must Change

Former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan recently noted that in many cases, “old-fashioned corporate decision-making hasn’t caught up with new Information Age tools.” Indeed, companies must increasingly function as nodes in vast knowledge networks, and it is obvious that many of them are not up to the challenge.

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Managing Your Portfolio of Connections

Traditionally, a company’s links to its customers, suppliers and other external parties have been based upon either arm’s-length transactions or socially embedded ties. Electronic technologies have enabled a third and more flexible option, dubbed “virtually embedded ties.”

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Back to the Future: Benetton Transforms Its Global Network

During the 1980s, Benetton was known as the archetypal network organization. But it decided to take a new direction representing a major discontinuity with its past and a divergence from industry practices. Without giving up the strongest aspects of its networked model, it integrated and centralized, exerting greater control over its supply chain even as it diversified its operations and product lines. The authors offer a detailed case study of this dramatic transformation.

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