How does organizational culture influence enterprise social networking?

Enterprise social networking requires an engaged, positive, and supportive organizational culture. Without a dialed in and open-minded management team, group of mid-level managers, and workforce, enterprise social networks flounder.

Leadership participation in these networks is vital, as Charlene Li expounds on in her Harvard Business Review article.


Aren’t the best leaders always those who lead by example? Show a willingness to complete any task, no matter how small? Why, then, would participation in enterprise social networks be any different?

The real challenge is not simply determining that leaders must be supportive of enterprise social networking efforts, but rather proving their value to these leaders and incentivizing and promoting their engagement with these networks. How can this be accomplished? A few ideas:

  • Correlate personal social network usage numbers with potential for enterprise social network usage, showing the potential for success based on the already widespread use of personal networks (this has been addressed as potentially non-relevant in texts from this class)
  • Migrate mandatory company functions to a new enterprise social network
  • Require leadership to blog or post weekly or similar on the network

This is something I’ll aim to explore more as we move through the quarter.

For this post, I’ll leave you with some relevant humor, courtesy of Dilbert:




  1. Samir Desai

    Your point on leadership involvement certainly resonated with me in my experience at Accenture. Keeping it real by leaders was really a key part of successful engagement from others.

    Michael is looking at some interesting ideas on what type of culture and actions are necessary for driving ESN success. And Ina is also looking at researching successful companies with ESN and see what made them tick. Might be interesting to connect networks and see what you can learn from a broader set of connections and companies.

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