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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.Albert Einstein

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Participative management in the 2.0 era

Participative management in the 2.0 era

In times of free exchanges in discussion forums and instantaneous information flow through social networks and Twitter, traditional intra-company communication channels look archaic. How can one foster a real conversation between an organization and its employees?



The technological upheavals of recent years have given way to an unprecedented level of interconnectivity. Today, information circulates more quickly than ever, and we are now accustomed to gathering and responding to it almost instantaneously. These new behaviors, firmly embedded in the private sphere, also influence how we work. Indeed, people increasingly expect to find the same freedom to contribute and share information in their professional environment, with the same degree of transparency.

This trend represents a fantastic opportunity for businesses. Indeed, companies able to capitalize on the grassroots knowledge and intelligence of every member of the organization increase their innovation potential tenfold and often make better decisions, as regularly attested by firms which gather broad employee input to support their strategic decisions. Individual employees who are allowed to express their opinions and ideas and see that their input is taken into account gain a greater sense of belonging and motivation. What is more, engaging people in real conversations on key company issues is also the best way to ensure they share a thorough understanding of the real priorities—a considerable asset in reinforcing sorely-needed responsiveness and quality of initiatives.

Yet, technology and new habits formed in the private sphere are far from sufficient to ensure constructive dialogue in a professional setting- hence the disappointing outcome of many initiatives designed to let employees share their perspectives online. Despite the many opportunities created by these new tools, the authors whose writings are analyzed here underline that they are still just tools. And while it is clear that these important tools cannot simply be ignored, they are meaningful only within the framework of an overall strategy, aimed primarily at stimulating authentic employee participation.

This is far from easy in organizations with a strong top-down legacy, in which free expression is unnatural or may even be considered inappropriate. Successfully transitioning to a mode where all members of the organization can take part in open dialogue to their individual satisfaction and for the collective good must be tackled as a true cultural transformation.

In this synopsis:

- Dialogue and debate: Two complementary approaches
- How can you facilitate and encourage dialogue with employees?
- Four methods to organize large-scale productive dialogue

Synopsis n.218b