Winners of the MIT SMR Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize 2012 – The Collaborative Organization

Each year the editors at MIT Sloan Management Review (SMR) announce the winners of the Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize. The Prize is awarded annually to the authors of the most outstanding MIT SMR article on planned change and organizational development from the previous academic year.

This year’s winner is The Collaborative Organization: How to Make Employee Networks Really Work. By Rob Cross, Peter Gray, Shirley Cunningham, Mark Showers and Robert J. Thomas

As they state,
The key to delivering both operational excellence and innovation is having networks of informal collaboration. Within IT organizations in large global companies, we have seen that innovative solutions often emerge unexpectedly through informal and unplanned interactions between individuals who see problems from different perspectives. What’s more, successful execution frequently flows from the networks of relationships that help employees handle situations that don’t fit cleanly into established processes and structures.ner details the way in which collaborative organizations maximize the effectiveness and impact of their employee networks. As a huge advocate for and proponent of making social networks visible and useful in organizations it is great to see networks recognized in this manner.

The Leading Research Question: How can companies build more collaborative and innovative organizations?

Findings:

  • Executives should analyze employee collaboration networks to discover how high-performing individuals and teams connect.
  • Networks should be designed to optimize the flow of good ideas across function, distance and technical specialty.
  • Network analysis can show where too much connectivity slows decision making. ()

The full article can be see here at the MIT SMR website.

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