There are two pillars of an organisation: the ‘formal‘, which is represented by formal hierarchy, systems, processes, and mechanisms of control, and the ‘social‘, which is represented by reputation, social authority, trust, and strong social ties. The formal pillar of the organisation holds infrastructure and assets: is the visible part, the one which is easy to see, to quantify, the one which we understand well. The social pillar is almost entirely invisible, held within personal relationships, social communities, difficult to quantify, but vital to our success.
The Socially Dynamic organisation does not seek to use one to control the other: if the formal tries to colonise the social, it simply controls it and kills it. The social can never control the formal, because it operates by different rules. Instead, we need to maintain a dynamic tension, because the tension contributes to our sense making capability. The Socially Dynamic organisation can have the best of both worlds, but it only has this privilege if it can learn to live with the discomfort.
Note that this post is a second version of an earlier sketch and attempt to represent this Dynamic Tension, part of some work i am doing to develop my thinking in this area as i #WorkOutLoud