Your Turn: What Questions Do Managers Have About Social Business?

What trends and companies should we explore in our upcoming survey?

Although we are still gleaning insights from the 2013 social business report from MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte, “Social Business: Shifting out of First Gear,” we are already ramping up efforts for MIT SMR’s and Deloitte's 2014 report.

Specifically, those of us on the MIT SMR Social Business Big Idea team are beginning to formulate questions to include on the survey, which will be launched in a few weeks. We are asking, “What questions are managers currently facing regarding social business?” Although we suggest some ideas below, we wanted also to ask readers of the MIT SMR Social Business hub directly.

So: What important questions are you facing regarding social business for which you cannot find ready or sufficient answers elsewhere in the business literature? Are there questions from previous reports or blog posts that we should pursue more deeply? Which of our proposed directions of inquiry below do you find more or less valuable?

We invite you to reply as a comment to this blog post, via Twitter (@profkane) or by email (write to We will treat questions and comments communicated via email confidentially.

Some directions we are considering for the 2014 social business report:

Global perspectives on social business. As social business begins to emerge globally, different geographical areas have differing laws, regulations, cultures and norms. How do these differences affect the adoption and use of social media in global companies and in companies with a global customer or stakeholder base? What are the most important differences between countries and cultures that managers should be aware of when adopting social business in a global context?

Internal vs. external applications. While many reports suggest that internal applications of social media for facilitating knowledge work represent the greatest potential impact of social business, external applications of social business for marketing and customer service seem to be the most widespread applications. How are these different applications of social business similar and different? How do they relate to one another?

Cracking the code on social data. One aspect of successful social business is learning how to communicate effectively using social tools. Yet all of these communications create digital trails that can be analyzed for greater insight into one’s customers, employees and operations. Are organizations beginning to take social business to this next analytical level, or does that remain primarily a promise for the future?

Generating competitive advantage. One social business executive noted that his company is freely collaborating with others on social business because everyone is still trying just to figure things out. Can social business become a source of competitive advantage, or is it just a cost of doing business in the 21st century marketplace?

Changing the way we work. In the 2013 report, 70% of managers responded that social business represented an opportunity to fundamentally change the way their companies worked. How might social business change the way companies work? Which changes are for the better and which are not? Have these changes begun to affect your organization?

Who (or what) are we missing? Which companies are true leaders in social business that have not so far been recognized for their applications of and innovations in social business? And are there other important questions regarding social business that we have not yet considered here?


We welcome your input to help guide the direction of our exploration of social business over the next year. Again, please share your ideas by commenting to this blog post, contacting me via Twitter (@profkane) or sending me an email (

1 Comment On: Your Turn: What Questions Do Managers Have About Social Business?

  • Courtney Hunt | October 19, 2013

    Hi Jerry. I’ve enjoyed reading the results of the 2013 study and am glad to see you’re continuing to explore this important Digital Era topic. From my own work over the past several years, I would suggest two other areas for exploration: Digital Era leadership (i.e., what does it mean to be a leader in the Digital Era?) and digital competencies (i.e., what knowledge, skills and abilities do people need to be successful in the Digital Era?). I’ve written about and done some research in both areas, which I think are critical to forging the road ahead. I’m happy to discuss how they might translate into the 2014 survey. Feel free to connect with me on LI to continue the conversation:

    Courtney Shelton Hunt, PhD
    Founder, The Denovati Group

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