Would you like a cup of coffee?

Would you like a cup of coffee?

Dear friends, colleagues, and extended network.

I need your likes, shares, and help!

This coming August, my time as a student will come to an end, and I am therefore looking for new opportunities.

I am currently working at Grundfos, where I have had the pleasure of going to work almost every day for the past year. I have had a variety of different tasks and responsibilities during that year, but most noteworthy has perhaps been my function as a Community Manager for Grundfos’ official social media platforms. But, you can read more about that on my profile.

I have already had a great start to my job hunt, a process where I have spoken with many very interesting people, but I want to pursue every avenue available to me. One avenue I believe very strongly in, is that of building strong relationships with the people around me; as this is the best investment you can make in life.

So, dear friends and colleagues, if you’d like to catch up, send me a PM here on LinkedIn, and I’ll buy us a cup of coffee … extended network, if you find me interesting and would like to have a chat and make a new, and in the word’s most warm and friendly connotation, connection, the same offer extends to you!

I look forward to getting coffee with all of you.

All the best,

Christopher Kjærulff

How do social media harness structure

How do social media harness structure

So, here is the second post about my master’s thesis. A thesis concerned with the interplay between social media and organizational structure. You can read it here.

When I started writing my thesis, I was heavily influenced by organizational notions such as formalization, integration, and (de)centralization; ideas introduced in many of my previous organizational courses throughout my education.

However, one’s worldview luckily evolves over time, and I have come to realize that there are different ways of viewing organizations, different paradigms if you will.

The rational system perspective

The one introduced in my organizational courses was the rational system perspective. This perspective relies on formalization, goal specificity, specialization in job roles and much more (Scott 1998, pp. 33-37).

It offered a lens through which to view reality and guided much of my work. What’s more, it confirmed my own notions about working with social media. In my experience, a certain degree of formalization is/was required to guide the – some times difficult and complex – workflows connected to community management and content creation. Especially, when you are working with highly technical products and services, and there is an emphasis on providing the most accurate information possible (and I have relied heavily on my very skilled engineer colleagues as I know absolutely nothing about pumps!).

Interestingly, I have found that opinions are rather divided on this matter, speaking with friends, fellow students, and colleagues. Some advocate high levels of formalization to guide and ensure accuracy in the communication across social media channels, whereas others emphasize a need for agility and freedom to reply quickly and create creative content.

The natural system perspective

However, there are other ways of viewing organizations. What if formalization of the structure is important, but not necessarily the most important factor? The natural system perspective asks exactly that question, and it emphasizes the informal structure as having greater importance (Scott 1998, pp. 57-58). What people actually do; the behavioral structure, instead of what they are supposed to do; the normative (formal) structure (Scott 1998, pp. 57-58).

This worldview opened my eyes; the informal structure has been praised for easing communication, increasing trust, and correcting inadequacies of the formal structure (Scott 1998, pp. 59-60). When I revisit my own behavior, I quickly see how much I actually rely on these informal structures for feedback; but perhaps even more important how they can hinder the work of a social media team.

Informal structure is based on personal characteristics and relations of that particular individual (Scott 1998, pp. 59-60), and I quickly came to realize that many of the engineers I rely on for expert input are perhaps only known by myself. I trust them completely and we communicate quickly despite being located miles apart in different departments. But what happens if an employee with that knowledge is out sick? How can the next person pick up?

Does this uncertainty call for a high degree of formalization in social media initiatives, so that you “cut out the individual” and provide a formal structure with clearly defined workflows easily understood by someone not familiar with the initiative? Or does it call for a team made up of a new type of employees that aren’t hired for their ability to quickly adapt to new situations, but for their ability to network inside and outside the organization and work the informal structure?

Please feel free to join the discussion and share your opinion!



Scott: Organizations: rational, natural, and open systems (1998) chapters 1-3.