Organizations: The Need to Become More Networked — Interview with Mark Bonchek

In this interview segment, Mark Bonchek describes how organizations can't afford to take the time to run decision-making up and down hierarchical chains of command. Instead, organizations need to push decision-making out to the edges of their networks.


A shift related to organizations is the shift from hierarchies to networks. And most organizations are hierarchical with everyone having their functional specialization and their own departments, but you have to build those lateral connections across the organization in order to serve your customer effectively. So if something comes into a social media monitoring or a social listening team that is affecting product development, or pricing, or customer service, or how things are done in the store or in the field, those are all lateral connections that are going to have have to get built from that social listening team into the rest of the organization because if something has to go up the chain of command and then back down again it’s either not going to happen or it’s not going to happen fast enough for the customer to be satisfied. And so what we’re seeing is an evolution of companies from being hierarchical - purely hierarchical, in order to get the work done, to also being networked which enables them to be resilient and adaptive, and push decision making out to the edges as opposed to centralizing them in the core, so that decision making doesn’t have to go up the chain of command to the centralized leadership, but actually principles of decision making can be pushed out to the edges so that whether it’s a customer service representative or someone in-store, they’re empowered to take action and serve the customer; or a product team is empowered to take action to design something that’s going to serve the prospect even more effectively. Very different structure of a network compared to a hierarchy.