I confess that this article caught by eye originally because it opened with a sentence which supports my blog post on the formation of networks, social or not:
In any professional setting, networks flourish spontaneously: human nature, including mutual self-interest, leads people to share ideas and work together even when no one requires them to do so. As they connect around shared interests and knowledge, they may build networks that can range in size from fewer than a dozen colleagues and acquaintances to hundreds. Research scientists working in related fields, for example, or investment bankers serving clients in the same industry frequently create informal—and often socially based—networks to collaborate.
Article at a glance (quoted from abstract)
- Most large corporations have dozens if not hundreds of informal networks, in which human nature, including self-interest, leads people to share ideas and collaborate.
- Informal networks are a powerful source of horizontal collaboration across thick silo walls, but as ad hoc structures their performance depends on serendipity and they can’t be managed.
- By creating formal networks, companies can harness the advantages of informal ones and give management much more control over networking across the organization.
- The steps needed to formalize a network include giving it a “leader,” focusing interactions in it on specific topics, and building an infrastructure that stimulates the ongoing exchange of ideas.
Harnessing the power of informal employee networks
Formalizing a company’s ad hoc peer groups can spur collaboration and unlock value.
Authors: Lowell Bryan is a director in McKinsey’s New York office; Eric Matson is a consultant and Leigh Weiss is an associate principal in the Boston office.
Abstract | Article